Combatting Money Laundering

Date: February 11, 2021

Classification: Unclassified

Branch/Agency: NCSB/NSPD

Proposed Response:


The Anti-Money Laundering Regime (AML) was established in 2000, with the Anti-Terrorist Financing (ATF) mandate being added in 2001. The Regime’s legislative framework is the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) combined with operational powers under various standing authorities (e.g. the Criminal Code, Customs Act, United Nations Act). The Regime’s framework is an important and highly effective tool for addressing money laundering (ML), blocking access to funds by organized crime groups, disrupting organized crime activities and protecting the integrity of the Canadian financial sector. The AML/ATF  Regime is a horizontal initiative involving more than 13 departments and agencies, including Public Safety (PS) and PS Portfolio agencies, such as the RCMP, CBSA and CSIS. The Regime’s work is coordinated through senior-level interdepartmental committees co-chaired by the Department of Finance and PS.

There has been increasing media and political attention on AML challenges at both the federal and provincial levels. A 2018 House of Commons Committee on Finance (FINA) Report – Confronting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing: Moving Canada Forward – consisted of 32 recommendations that cover legislative and regulatory gaps, information sharing, intelligence and enforcement capacity. Government of Canada partners continue to develop of new AML approaches and explore options to address the report’s recommendations.

At the provincial level, on May 15, 2019, the Government of British Columbia (BC) announced a public Commission of Inquiry into money laundering (the Cullen Commission), to inquire, report and make recommendations related to countering ML in BC, including exploring regulatory efforts and identifying barriers to effective ML-related law enforcement activities in the province. The Commission released its interim to the public on December 10, 2020.

Budget 2019 proposed a number of measures to modernize Canada’s AML/ATF framework:

Budget 2019 also provided funding for the creation a Public Safety Action, Coordination, Enforcement (ACE) Team. This five-year, pilot initiative brings together dedicated experts from across intelligence and law enforcement agencies to strengthen coordination and increase support to enforcement efforts required to counter significant ML and financial crime threats. It is expected to become operational in April 2021.

Funding was also established for the creation of a multi-disciplinary Trade Fraud and Trade-Based Money Laundering (TBML) Centre of Expertise to strengthen the Canada Border Services Agency’s ability to target trade fraud and identify TBML. This Centre of Expertise will complement the efforts of the ACE Team.

Funding has been provided of $98.9.9 million over five years beginning in 2019-20, and $20 million per year thereafter, to strengthen the RCMP’s Federal Policing operational and investigative capacity, including to fight money laundering. This will funding will also support

modernization of IM/IT solutions and other support systems, as well as the creation of dedicated Integrated Money Laundering Investigative Teams in four provinces. The IMLITs in each province may differ in team structure, but are expected to include investigators from relevant agencies such as CRA and CBSA to work in integrated teams with the RCMP.


Prepared by: Scott Shaw, Policy Advisor, 613-794-9028

Approved by: Dominic Rochon, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister (613) 990-4976

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