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The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)

Your REALTOR is asking questions because it's the law.


On June 23rd, 2008 new federal money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations came into effect that require real estate agents and brokers to collect personal identification information from buyers and sellers.

Your REALTOR requires this identification information to comply with the law. It is the federal Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) that requires financial institutions and real estate agents, among other professionals and services covered by the legislation, to identify customers who conduct financial transactions. These include depositing funds or buying and selling real estate. The Act also requires real estate agents to keep these identification records for five years. Canada has had substantial anti-money laundering and terrorist financing legislation since 2001. Since then REALTORS have had a legal responsibility in Canada's efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, by reporting any cash transactions of $10,000 or more, or reporting suspicious real estate transactions.

Those original legal requirements still exist but under these new regulations, REALTORS must now document personal information and proof of the identity of their client in each and every transaction, including occupation. If the client is a corporation, REALTORS must obtain official corporate documents, and the names of directors. If the buyer or seller is in another city, province or country and no in-person meeting is held, REALTORS must now use an agent or "mandatary" to identify third parties. The new compliance requirements affect even a buyer or seller not using the services of a licensed real estate practitioner. If there is a real estate agent involved in the transaction, they are also required by law to now verify that private buyer or seller's information as well. REALTORS must also complete a report for ALL funds they receive during the real estate transaction, not just those of $10,000 or more.

What your REALTOR needs to do to comply with the law.

The real estate agent you are dealing with is required by law to ask for and verify your personal information. By providing this information when requested, you will ensure that they can meet their legal obligations. The Act requires REALTORS to keep identification records, and track all funds (not just large amounts of cash) provided during the real estate transaction.

ID Please.

Under the new rules, REALTORS are required to obtain, record, and retain the personal information of their clients, including date of birth and occupation. To do this, they must ask for a government-issued identification document such as a drivers license, passport, or residency card. You should not provide your Social Insurance card as identification. REALTORS are required to keep a record of this information on file in the brokerage for a period of five years. For the purpose of compliance with this law, REALTORS are not required to keep photocopies of government issued ID, just the factual data contained on it. However, your REALTOR may make a photocopy of your ID because of other requirements related to the real estate transaction.

Are you a private seller or buyer?

If you are not represented by a real estate agent in this process, in other words, you are buying or selling privately, the law requires the real estate agent that is involved representing the other party, to request your personal information and keep that information on file.

Is there anyone else involved?

There are aspects of your real estate transaction that might prompt the real estate agent you are dealing with to ask you for more information. For instance, you may be asked whether you are acting on behalf of a third party while conducting your transaction. This basically means you are following the instructions of someone else in completing the transaction, or someone else (individual or company) is involved in financing the transaction. If there is a third party involved, your REALTOR is also required by law to obtain their identification information, and keep that information on file for five years.

Details of the deposit.

Every time funds are received by a REALTOR (e.g. a deposit) during the course of a real estate transaction, they are required to record the amount received and how it was obtained. Your real estate agent then must record this information, and also keep it on file at the brokerage for a five year period.

Your information is kept confidential.