Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit (Synopsis)

Ontario Provincial Police

Description: The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is responsible for the coordination of the Provincial Asset Forfeiture Strategy in Ontario and leads the Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit (PAFU). PAFU involves officers from the OPP and 20 municipal police services across Ontario. The role of PAFU is to assist with the identification, seizure, restraint and forfeiture of offence-related property and proceeds of crime. The Criminal Code of Canada authorizes these actions for “any property, benefit or advantage derived from the commission of designated offences”. Since 2005, the OPP has been instrumental in increasing awareness within the law enforcement community regarding asset forfeiture and its effectiveness as a crime deterrent.

The distribution of forfeited assets and property depends on the process, or the legislative venue, within which they were forfeited. Generally, assets and property are distributed first to the victims of crime, next toward cost recovery and last toward grant programs that invest in crime prevention initiatives.
Objective: PAFU’s objective is to dismantle criminal enterprises by applying available criminal legislative tools (such as Proceeds of Crime and Offence-Related Property) and civil legislative tools (such as the Civil Remedies Act). PAFU responds directly to recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force, which are widely accepted as the international standard for dealing with threats to the integrity of the international financial system (including money laundering and the funding of terrorism).
Outcomes: The PAFU approach has contributed to a significant increase in seizure, restraint and forfeiture of offence-related property and proceeds of crime. Between 2008 and 2013, PAFU members seized or restrained over $183 million from criminal infrastructures. During the same period, $69 million in assets and property were forfeited to the government. Many cases are still before the courts.
Resources: PAFU involves approximately 50 officers from 21 police services across the province, with funding for these positions coming from the participating agencies.
Province: Ontario
Record Entry Date: 2013-08-01
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