Finance fishing boats

Blockade financing: the federal government tightens the rules of crowdfunding

The federal government has announced that crowdfunding platforms will now have to comply with Canadian financial reporting rules and is allowing banks to freeze accounts it suspects of being involved in Freedom Convoy’s “unlawful blockades”.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on Monday that if sites like GoFundMe and GiveSendGo – the two platforms used by convoy organizers to raise funds – want to operate in Canada, they must register immediately. with the Financial Transactions and Reporting Analysis Centre. of Canada (FINTRAC).

“This will help mitigate the risk of these platforms receiving illicit funds, increase the quality and quantity of intelligence received by FINTRAC, and make more information available to support law enforcement investigations into these illegal blockades.” , Freeland said.

She announced the move as part of the government’s invocation of the never-before-used Emergency Measures Act to try to stem the momentum of the trucking convoy.

Part of achieving that goal is to reduce the financial offer to those affected, Freeland said.

The government is ordering financial institutions to “review their relationships” with anyone involved in the blockades and report them to the RCMP or CSIS.

“From today, a bank or other financial service provider will be able to immediately freeze or suspend an account without a court order. By doing so, they will be protected from civil liability for actions taken in good faith” , Freeland said.

“It’s about following the money. It is a question of stopping the financing of these illegal blockages. We inform you today: if your truck is used in these illegal blockades, your company accounts will be frozen. »

They are also seizing financial institutions with the power to cut services to people suspected of supporting protesters.

Convoy organizers raised more than $10 million on GoFundMe, before the platform shut down the movement citing concerns about its goals. In addition to the million dollars already paid to the group, the rest of the money is being reimbursed.

They have since turned to Christian website GiveSendGo, where they raised more than US$8.4 million last Thursday.

The site is “currently offline” for maintenance and server updates after reported hacks.

These sites will now be required to report suspicious, large cash and virtual currency transactions directly to FINTRAC.

Electronic transfers of $10,000 or more to or from Canada in a single transaction or in two or more transactions totaling $10,000 must also be reported.

FINTRAC already detects, prevents and deters money laundering and terrorist activity financing in entities such as banks, casinos, money services businesses and real estate.

It is not a law enforcement or investigative agency.

“These changes cover all forms of transactions, including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. The illegal blockades have highlighted the fact that crowdfunding platforms and some of the payment service providers they use are not fully covered by the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act,” Freeland said. .

The government is introducing legislation to make these changes to FINTRAC’s mandate permanent.

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