Recent years have seen increased attention paid to the nature and extent of money laundering in Canada. It is now estimated that proceeds of crime totaling upwards of more than $100 billion are laundered in Canada annually, while new technologies have heightened the risk that both traditional and digital currencies will be transacted illicitly by corrupt actors. In turn, Canada has faced growing calls to strengthen its anti-money laundering (AML) regime to better align with international standards and to proactively address the money laundering that underpins a wide array of criminal activity.
As a result, recent amendments have expanded the industries to which Canadian AML laws and regulations apply, while at the same time increasing the obligations placed on all such industries. The frequency and seriousness of Canadian AML enforcement proceedings has also increased, and the Canadian government has pledged to support even stricter enforcement going forward. In some contexts, businesses operating in Canada also face the risk of extra-territorial AML enforcement, particularly by U.S. regulatory and law enforcement authorities.
Bennett Jones stands ready to advise on the complete range of AML issues facings our clients, including as a component of our clients’ broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and international trade and sanctions compliance. Drawing from a team of lawyers with diverse, industry-specific experience and credentials, Bennett Jones:
- Evaluates and advises on the AML risks arising from clients’ internal systems and controls, and helps clients avoid and mitigate those risks on a going forward basis, including by developing, reviewing and helping to improve clients’ AML policies and procedures.
- Advises clients who seek to finance, acquire or otherwise do business with counterparties in a manner that gives risk to AML risks, including by undertaking appropriate pre-transaction due diligence, negotiating and drafting appropriate transaction documents, and interacting with relevant regulatory and public exchange officials.
- Assists clients with internal and regulatory investigations and compliance reviews into money laundering (and other financial crime) matters, and stands ready to respond to enforcement proceedings brought in respect of alleged AML violations.
- Coordinates and undertakes Know Your Customer (KYC) due diligence and sanctions screenings to assist with the identification of potential money laundering, terrorist financing, sanctions avoidance, politically exposed persons (PEPs), and corruption.
- Leads clients’ responses to complex, cross-border and extra-territorial AML issues, including by accessing our deep domestic and international network of financial crime specialists.
- Acts as litigation counsel to clients pursuing and defending claims arising from alleged violations of applicable AML obligations, and related claims involving the complete range of fraud and financial crime matters.