Whilst we have always complied with regulations, this article may explain to Canadians thinking of buying in the Dominican Republic why more information may be required of them than previously.
New federal laws covering money laundering and anti-terrorist financing came into effect across Canada on Monday, which require real estate agents and brokers to collect and verify detailed personal information from buyers and sellers.
The new regulations are part of federal legislation passed in 2007 that requires a number of industries, including the real estate sector, to do more to help stop money laundering and terrorist financing. The regulations are enforced by the federal agency known as the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).
“Real estate agents have had legal obligations under the federal government's push to prevent criminal activity and terrorism since 2001, when Canada's first comprehensive laws to combat money laundering and terrorist financing were introduced," said the president of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Calvin Lindberg.
“In the first phase of compliance, real estate agents were required to report only suspicious transactions, or transactions involving more than $10,000 in cash. Now, verified personal information must be kept of the buyer and seller for each and every real estate transaction in Canada. That personal information includes details such as occupation."
Real estate agents are now required to ask for proof of the identity of all buyers or sellers involved in a Canadian real estate transaction. If the client is a corporation, that information must include corporate
documentation, and the names of the corporation’s directors. They must also ascertain if a third party is involved in the transaction.
Also under the new FINTRAC regulations, real estate agents dealing with clients they never meet must also verify personal information. The agency office involved can do this with a service agreement with an agent or mandatary in the area where the client is located. That agent or mandatary must then meet the client, verify the identification of the client, and provide the information to the office actually handling the real estate transaction.
"There are buyers, sellers or investors from other countries who rely on expertise here rather than visiting the property themselves," explained the CREA president. "They must now meet with an official agent of the Canadian broker, and provide proof of identity. This agreement will add to the business costs of the Canadian broker."
In order to comply with these new federal regulations, real estate agents are required to keep this identification and receipt of funds information on file for five years and provide it to FINTRAC if requested. It is the individual agency office that will be responsible for the safe keeping of the information, and the agency that will have to respond to any FINTRAC information request.
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