Canada's anti-money laundering agency completes review, clearing way to issue fines again

Canada's anti-money laundering agency has completed its internal review of its penalty system, ending a nearly three-year period of limbo and clearing the way for the organization to start issuing fines again.

Fintrac has not issued any penalties against offenders since 2016

Canadian dollars are pictured in Vancouver, Sept. 22, 2011. Fintrac, Canada's anti-money laundering agency, has been completing a review of its penalty system for nearly three years following an appeal court ruling that its process lacked transparency. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Canada's anti-money laundering agency has completed its internal review of its penalty system, ending a nearly three-year period of limbo and clearing the way for the organization to start issuing fines again.

Fintrac has not issued any administrative monetary penalties against offenders since 2016 when the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the watchdog's process for calculating fines lacked transparency.

A spokesman for Fintrac says those 2016 rulings prompted the federal agency to review its policies, including monetary penalties, and since that time it has relied on enforcement tools other than fines.

Fintrac has the power to issue monetary penalties as large as $1 million for offences such as failing to report suspicious transactions.

The watchdog today issued a revised penalties policy, which lays out the steps it takes to determine and calculate fines, as part of a broader transparency package that marks the end of its review.

Spokesman Darren Gibb says with a penalty policy now in place, Fintrac will begin levying penalties again when warranted.

Since the end of 2008 until 2016, Fintrac had imposed 79 administrative monetary penalties totalling $3,535,550, according to its website.