FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The OACIQ reacts to a report on money laundering in real estate transactions
Brossard, March 20, 2020 - Following the March 19 edition of Radio-Canada's Enquête on money laundering through real estate transactions, the OACIQ, the authority of real estate brokerage in Quebec, is extremely concerned about the content of the report and reiterates that real estate brokers are required to report any risky transactions in order to protect consumers.
"The OACIQ takes the situation very seriously. In light of the report that was broadcast, it appears that the brokers' ethical obligations were breached. The OACIQ’s Syndic is, of course, aware of this and will take all appropriate measures,” said Me Caroline Champagne, Vice-President, Enforcement of Practices at the OACIQ.
Under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, real estate brokers and agencies are required to report suspicious transactions and attempted suspicious transactions to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) when they have reasonable grounds to suspect a money laundering offence. Real estate brokers and agencies have a watchdog role in this regard.
The OACIQ, proactive in preventing money laundering
The OACIQ implemented several means to counter money laundering:
- Close collaboration between the OACIQ and FINTRAC over the past ten years to promote rapid and efficient sharing of information for the purposes of their respective investigations and inspections;
- Over 2,300 inspections of real estate brokers and agencies are conducted every year to verify compliance with ethical and legal obligations regarding identity verification, cash transactions and FINTRAC standards;
- 27 training courses on money laundering, fraudulent practices and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act are offered to real estate brokers under their Mandatory Continuing Education Program;
- Exchanges on best practices for preventing money laundering between members of the Real Estate Regulators of Canada, of which the OACIQ is a member;
- Investigations by the Syndic into any allegation of money laundering and non-compliance with the ethical rules surrounding the laundering of the proceeds of crime;
- Frequent reminders of broker ethical obligations by various means of communication.
The OACIQ would like to point out that the best way to prevent money laundering is to report this practice: "We invite the public and real estate brokers to contact our Public Assistance Department if they witness or are aware of a suspicious transaction or attempted transaction, such as the use of funds from the proceeds of crime in real estate transactions. Rest assured that all information received will be treated confidentially,” concludes Me Caroline Champagne.
The OACIQ will take all appropriate measures to ensure that all behaviours that do not comply with the law are investigated and that action is taken as quickly as possible.
About the OACIQ
The OACIQ ensures the protection of members of the public who enlist the services of real estate and mortgage brokerage professionals governed by the Real Estate Brokerage Act.
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