Combatting Money Laundering

Date: May 4, 2020

Classification: Unclassified

Branch/Agency: IEB/CBSA

Proposed Response:


Canada takes a comprehensive and coordinated approach to combatting money laundering, terrorist financing and organized crime. Money laundering is a threat to Canadians’ safety, security and quality of life, and harms the integrity and stability of the financial sector and the broader economy. There are growing concerns that illicit funds are finding their way into the Canadian economy through channels that millions of Canadians rely on, including via international trade.

Given the evolving threat environment, the Canadian Anti-Money Laundering / Anti-Terrorist Financing (AML/ATF) Regime is reviewed and strengthened regularly to ensure it is appropriately aligned with international standards and continues to effectively counter money laundering and terrorist financing. A gap that has been identified in the Regime is the limited investigation and prosecution of Trade-Based Money Laundering (TBML). 

Budget 2019 announced $162M over five years and $19M ongoing to support a whole-of-government approach to strengthening the Government of Canada’s capacity within six federal organizations (Department of Finance, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, FINTRAC, Department of Justice, Statistics Canada, and CBSA) to better share and analyse financial intelligence, and undertake planning to design longer term initiatives for combatting these types of financial crimes.

Of the total funding announced in Budget 2019, $28M over five years and $10M ongoing has been earmarked for CBSA to create a Trade Fraud and TBML Centre of Expertise.

This initiative will bring together CBSA experts in both National Headquarters and regional offices across Canada. These officers will improve the Agency’s ability to identify, interdict, and investigate the customs trade fraud offences that allow TBML to occur.    

The Centre will also generate increased intelligence and investigative referrals to the Public Safety Canada-led anti-money laundering Action, Coordination and Enforcement (ACE) Team and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) when TBML is suspected. This initiative is also expected to result in increased Agency referrals to other government departments, such as the Canada Revenue Agency, for related offences such as tax evasion.

It is expected that steps by the CBSA to enhance its capacity to respond to trade fraud and TBML will be welcomed by international and domestic security partners, multi-lateral and non-governmental organizations with a trade mandate, as well as private sector financial institutions and Canadian international trade chain stakeholders. 


Prepared by: Caroline Vavro, Manager, Intelligence and Enforcement Branch, Tel. no. 613-957-0828

Approved by: Jacques Cloutier, Vice-President, Intelligence and Enforcement Branch, Tel. no. 613-948-4111

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