As Canadian and international concerns over money laundering and terrorism financing have grown, Canadian law societies have tightened rules on the receipt of cash by lawyers as well as client identification and verification. Rule amendments effective January 1, 2020 bring the rules applicable to lawyers in line with those that apply to other Canadian businesses that handle funds and are subject to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC).
There have been a few significant changes. We urge every lawyer to read the newly revised Law Society Rules see Division 12 – Client and Identification and Verification and the changes to Division 4 – Financial Accountability.
There also are a number of resources that have been developed to assist lawyers to comply with the anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules including detailed worksheets and checklists prepared by the Law Society of Manitoba, a flowchart prepared by the Law Society of Alberta and a host of other resources prepared by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and other agencies.
Recently, the Federation of Law Societies launched a new online learning program to supplement their library of written resources. Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Canadian Legal Profession is an interactive course structured into five modules, featuring interactive elements, including scenarios, videos, and quizzes.