New emergency measures: implications for financial services providers

In response to the ongoing blockades and protests against pandemic restrictions, on February 14, 2022, the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time since that legislation was passed in 1985.  On February 15, the Proclamation Declaring a Public Emergency was published in the Canada Gazette, along with the Emergency Economic Measures Order, SOR/2022-22 (the Order) and the Emergency Measures Regulations, SOR/2022-21 (the Regulations).  These measures, which came into effect on February 15, impose additional obligations on certain reporting entities that are already subject to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the PCMLTFA), and extend obligations to entities currently not subject to the PCMLTFA, such as crowd-funding platforms and payment services providers. 

Who is subject to these measures?

Section 3 of the Order sets out a list of entities that have additional obligations with respect to designated persons engaged in prohibited activities as set out in the Regulations.  These include certain entities that are already subject to the PCMLTFA, namely banks and authorized foreign banks, credit unions, insurance companies, trust and loan companies, securities dealers, and money services businesses. 

The Order also sweeps within its ambit two categories of entities that are not currently subject to the PCMLTFA:

  • Entities that provide a platform to raise funds or virtual currency through donations (crowd-funding platforms); and
  • Entities that perform any of the following payment functions (payment service providers):
    • the provision or maintenance of an account that, in relation to an electronic funds transfer, is held on behalf of one or more end users,
    • the holding of funds on behalf of an end user until they are withdrawn by the end user or transferred to another individual or entity,
    • the initiation of an electronic funds transfer at the request of an end user,
    • the authorization of an electronic funds transfer or the transmission, reception or facilitation of an instruction in relation to an electronic funds transfer, or
    • the provision of clearing or settlement services.

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