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Getty Images/iStockphoto

FinTRAC cuts controversial ‘ethnic’ warning from real estate document

Canada’s money-laundering watchdog drafted a document warning the real estate sector to be on guard for “specific ethnic communities” dealing with terrorism and war, before removing the reference at the behest of an industry association, documents show.

Correspondence between FinTRAC and the Canadian Real Estate Association, obtained by The Canadian Press through an Access to Information request, shows that the industry group was concerned that the reference would encourage agents to stop doing business with people based on their ethnicity.

The draft guidance document was aimed at helping companies meet their obligations to detect money laundering and terrorist financing.

It lists several examples of factors that may increase a company’s risk of becoming entangled in financial crimes, including dealing with “a specific ethnic community that is currently dealing with specific events (e.g. prevalence of terrorism or money laundering, war etc.) in the home country.”

Such a reference would constitute a violation of the Human Rights Act, the real estate association said in its letter.

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Published by the Canadian Press.