In April 2016 Canadian news media reported that the Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre (FinTRAC) had levied a penalty of over C$1 million against an unnamed Canadian bank for certain violations of its anti-money laundering requirements. Since then, FinTRAC has faced criticism from the public and the media for withholding the name of the offending bank.

On February 27 2017 the director of FinTRAC, Gérald Cossette, released a statement regarding its decision not to publicise the bank's name. According to the statement, the message of deterrence was effective despite FinTRAC's decision not to publicise the bank's name. However, Cossette acknowledged that withholding the name of the bank may not have met public expectations in relation to openness and transparency. The statement provides that FinTRAC will "look to work" with the Department of Finance to review the legislation that applies to FinTRAC's administrative monetary penalty (AMP) programme. Further, FinTRAC states that it is examining its AMP policies to ensure that an appropriate balance is met between transparency and the statutory requirements of the legislation.

Also on February 27 Manulife Financial Corp disclosed that its banking subsidiary, Manulife Bank, had been fined by FinTRAC in connection with administrative errors. News reports indicate that Manulife issued the statement after the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, citing anonymous sources, identified Manulife Bank as the bank fined by FinTRAC last year.

For further information on this topic please contact Sharissa Ellyn at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada by telephone (+1 416 216 4000) or email (sharissa.ellyn@nortonrosefulbright.com). The Norton Rose Fulbright Canada website can be accessed at www.nortonrosefulbright.com.

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