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Transparency International Canada paper outlines hopes for new financial crime agency

Canada could learn from countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, the paper says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters before heading to a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

An anticorruption group says the Trudeau government’s plan to create a new federal financial crime agency is positive, but it may be missing an opportunity to tackle corruption and securities fraud.

A white paper released this week by Transparency International Canada says establishing a Canada Financial Crimes Agency could improve the country’s “weak enforcement record” on financial crime.

The paper says questions loom about how the agency would operate with Canada’s disjointed enforcement regime, including provincial securities regulators, tax authorities, police and Fintrac, Canada’s financial intelligence unit.

The authors say the Canadian government should ensure that a new organization can co-ordinate effectively between multiple agencies, and create specialized teams of investigators and prosecutors to tackle financial crimes while filling in “gaps” in enforcement.

Canada could learn from countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, the paper says, both of which have their own national financial crime enforcement bodies.

Transparency International says the new agency’s effectiveness will hinge on many factors, including hiring more federal government prosecutors with the knowledge and expertise to tackle complex financial crimes.

The Canadian Press

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