Questions and answers on administrative monetary penalties
1. What are Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs)?
Administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) are civil penalties that may be issued in response to non-compliance with the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and its regulations.
2. When did FINTRAC begin to issue AMPs?
FINTRAC has had the authority to issue AMPs since December 30, 2008.
3. Who is subject to an AMP?
All persons and entities that have obligations under the PCMLTFA can be subject to an AMP when in non-compliance with the PCMLTFA. However, an AMP is not an automatic response to non-compliance. FINTRAC is committed to working with reporting entities and will typically provide an opportunity to correct the non-compliant behaviour before an AMP is considered.
4. Can I receive an AMP on my first compliance examination?
An AMP may be issued following your first compliance examination if there are reasonable grounds to believe that you have violated a requirement of the Act and its regulations, and the non-compliance is extensive. However, an AMP is not an automatic response to non-compliance. FINTRAC is committed to working with you and will typically provide an opportunity to correct the non-compliant behaviour before an AMP is considered.
5. Will FINTRAC inform other regulators that a person or entity has committed violations and was issued an AMP under the PCMLTFA?
In the case where a person or an entity is also regulated by another body, FINTRAC may share information regarding the person's or the entity's compliance.
6. Why are there civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance? What is the difference?
Both types of penalty exist under the PCMLTFA but serve different purposes. A criminal penalty is meant to punish wrongdoing and can therefore include considerable fines, imprisonment or a combination of both. An AMP is meant to be proportionate to the related administrative violations and an incentive to take corrective action without being punitive. Under the PCMLTFA, FINTRAC cannot pursue both types of penalty at the same time; it must choose to proceed with a civil penalty or refer the case to law enforcement.
7. Can AMPs be issued against a specific person within a reporting entity or are AMPs only applied against the entity itself?
FINTRAC can only issue an AMP against the person or entity who is the subject of the requirements under the PCMLTFA. In the case of a corporation or partnership, it is the entity that is subject to the requirements under the PCMLTFA. In the case of a sole proprietorship, it is the owner of the business who is subject to those requirements.
8. If I have further questions about an AMP, who can I contact?
You can contact FINTRAC at 1-866-346-8722.
9. Will I or my business be notified before FINTRAC issues an AMP?
Following an examination, FINTRAC will issue a Findings letter which indicates whether the identified deficiencies will be considered for an AMP. All decisions related to a potential AMP will be communicated in writing. Should a penalty be issued, you will receive a Notice of Violation.
10. Does the AMP program change FINTRAC's approach to ensuring compliance?
The AMP program is an important tool that FINTRAC can use to address non-compliance. It provides flexibility for more proportionate and measured responses to non-compliance with the PCMLTFA.
11. Do other government agencies have the authority to issue AMPs?
Yes. AMPs are considered a useful instrument to ensure regulatory compliance. FINTRAC's AMP program is consistent with similar programs in other government agencies.
12. Can AMPs be issued for all non-compliance violations?
Yes. Any instance of non-compliance that is subject to an AMP is considered a violation. Violations are specifically designated in regulations.
13. If I come forward to voluntarily notify FINTRAC of non-compliance issues, would it be subject to an AMP?
FINTRAC encourages you to monitor your compliance with the requirements set out in the PCMLTFA and its regulations on a continuous basis. When issues arise in the course of these activities, FINTRAC should be notified of your concerns along with your corrective actions. Any compliance action taken will be in accordance with FINTRAC's notice on Voluntary self-declaration of non-compliance.
14. Can multiple penalties be applied for the same instance of non-compliance?
For a given instance of non-compliance, for example, the failure to report a large cash transaction, FINTRAC may proceed with an AMP or with a non-compliance disclosure to law enforcement. Proceeding in one manner prevents proceeding in the other. Therefore, multiple penalties cannot be applied for the same instance of non-compliance.
15. What if I cannot afford to pay the penalty?
The purpose of an AMP is to encourage compliance, not punish. Therefore, FINTRAC takes your specific circumstances into account. For example, if you cannot make payment for the full amount at once, you may qualify for a payment plan of 12 monthly instalments.
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