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Guide to FINTRAC Suspicious Transaction Reports

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FINTRAC Suspicious Transaction Reports

Understanding Suspicious Transaction Reports

What is a Suspicious Transaction Report

A Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) is a critical tool in the fight against financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorist financing. It is a mandatory report submitted to FINTRAC when there are reasonable grounds to suspect a transaction is linked to criminal activity. The ability to identify and report such transactions is crucial for maintaining the integrity of Canada’s financial system.

Key Components of a Suspicious Transaction Report

The STR is not just a formality; it is a detailed document that captures essential information about suspicious activities. Key components include the details of the transaction, the parties involved, and the reasons for suspicion. Accurate and comprehensive reporting can significantly aid FINTRAC’s efforts in identifying potential threats.

Importance of Detailed Reporting

Detailed reporting in STRs is vital for effective analysis and action by regulatory bodies. Each piece of information can be a crucial link in uncovering illicit activities. Entities responsible for filing STRs should ensure that every report is as detailed and accurate as possible. For those needing assistance, Substance Law offers legal services that can guide you through the complexities of compliance with provincial and municipal law, among other areas.

Requirements and Procedures for Reporting

Who Must Comply

All entities regulated under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act are required to comply with FINTRAC’s reporting obligations. This includes financial institutions, casinos, money services businesses, and others. Substance Law can guide these entities through the complexities of compliance, ensuring they understand their obligations.

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When to Submit a Suspicious Transaction Report

Reports should be submitted to FINTRAC immediately upon the detection of a transaction or an attempt that you suspect is related to money laundering or terrorist financing. The standard is reasonable grounds to suspect (ie “reasonable suspicion) not the higher threshold of reasonable grounds to believe.Timeliness is crucial to prevent further illicit activities.

How to Submit a Report to FINTRAC

Submitting a report to FINTRAC can be done electronically through the FINTRAC Web Reporting System (FWR) or via a paper report. It is essential to ensure that all required fields are accurately completed to avoid delays and potential penalties. Substance Law can assist in setting up the reporting process and provide training on accurate report completion.

FINTRAC’s Expectations and Common Deficiencies

FINTRAC's Expectations and Common Deficiencies

FINTRAC’s Expectations for Completing a Suspicious Transaction Report

FINTRAC mandates that each Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) must be complete and accurate to facilitate their analysis process and subsequent disclosures. Ensuring the quality and comprehensiveness of your STR is crucial for effective compliance and aiding in the prevention of financial crimes.

Common Suspicious Transaction Report Deficiencies to Avoid

To maintain compliance and avoid common pitfalls, be aware of the following deficiencies identified by FINTRAC:

  • Failure to develop an AML Program
  • Failure to report suspicious transactions
  • Inadequate record-keeping
  • Lack of a proper risk assessment framework
  • Neglect in maintaining client identification information
    These points highlight areas where businesses often falter, underscoring the importance of robust internal controls and ongoing training.

Ensuring Accuracy and Completeness in Reports

To ensure the accuracy and completeness of your reports, it is essential to adhere to FINTRAC’s guidelines and seek expert advice when necessary. Substance Law can provide the guidance needed to navigate the complexities of compliance, ensuring that your submissions meet all regulatory requirements. By partnering with experts, you can avoid the common errors that lead to deficiencies in your reports.

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Practical Guidance and Scenarios

Practical Guidance and Scenarios

Field Instructions for Completing a Report

When completing a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR), it is crucial to follow the specific field instructions provided by FINTRAC. Ensure that all required fields are filled accurately and completely to avoid common pitfalls. Details such as names, addresses, and transaction specifics must be meticulously recorded to support potential investigations.

Scenarios Illustrating Suspicious Transactions

Understanding what constitutes a suspicious transaction can be challenging. FINTRAC provides examples and scenarios to clarify these situations. These scenarios are designed to help stakeholders identify when a transaction might suggest the commission of a money laundering or terrorist activity financing offence. Learning from these examples will enhance your ability to spot and report suspicious activities effectively.

Public-Private Partnership Roles

In the fight against financial crimes, collabouration between public and private sectors is essential. Entities must understand their roles within this partnership to ensure a robust defence against illegal financial activities. By engaging in these partnerships, organizations can leverage shared resources and intelligence to better detect and report suspicious transactions.


In conclusion, the Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) serves as a critical tool in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. By meticulously completing and submitting STRs, businesses not only comply with regulatory requirements but also contribute significantly to national and global security efforts. It is imperative to ensure that each report is thorough, accurate, and submitted in a timely manner, as these details are vital for FINTRAC’s analysis and the subsequent actions of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Remember, the quality of the information provided can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of the measures taken against financial crimes. Therefore, adherence to FINTRAC’s guidelines and continuous improvement in reporting practices are essential for maintaining the integrity and security of the financial system.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Suspicious Transaction Report?

A Suspicious Transaction Report is a type of report that must be submitted to FINTRAC when a financial transaction occurs, or is attempted, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the transaction is related to the commission or the attempted commission of a money laundering or terrorist financing offence.

When should a Suspicious Transaction Report be submitted to FINTRAC?

A Suspicious Transaction Report should be submitted to FINTRAC when you, during the course of your activities, identify a transaction that has reasonable grounds to be suspected of being related to money laundering or terrorist financing activities.

How can I ensure the accuracy and completeness of a Suspicious Transaction Report?

Ensure that the report is comprehensive and includes all necessary information. It’s important to provide complete and accurate details to facilitate FINTRAC’s analysis process and subsequent disclosures to law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

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