Public-Private Partnership to combat money laundering in BC

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British Columbia (BC) has a new strategy to combat money laundering throughout the province.

On November 25th, the Counter Illicit Finance Alliance of British Columbia (CIFA-BC), the first permanent Public-Private Partnership of its kind in Canada, officially commenced operations.

The new Alliance is comprised of 38 stakeholders and includes federal departments, provincial ministries, financial institutions, regulatory bodies, crown corporations, law enforcement, various professional associations and academia. The mission of the cross-sectorial partnership is to collaborate with the public sector and private industry to lawfully share information in the interest of protecting the economic integrity of British Columbia through the prevention, detection, and disruption of illicit financial activity. Day-to-day operations of CIFA-BC will be managed by the BC RCMP.

For the RCMP and our partners, this new initiative is an important and exciting way to address money laundering, says Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, Officer in Charge of the BC RCMP Federal Investigative Services and Organized Crime. We know that illicit financial activity impacts the integrity of economies, which is why the RCMP and our partner agencies take money laundering seriously.

The idea for CIFA-BC came from a previous Combined Forces Special Enforcement of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) initiative called Project Athena, which engaged public and private stakeholders to address a money laundering scheme impacting BC casinos. During the project, participants recognized the potential benefits of having a formalized and permanent alliance.

The launch of CIFA-BC comes after nearly a year of intensive research, jurisdictional review, and extensive stakeholder engagement. This formalized partnership is reflective of the needs across the varying sectors and enables partners to drive provincial anti-money laundering priorities and set objectives.

While creating CIFA-BC we recognized the importance of having a diverse body of stakeholders so we could draw upon the expertise and experience of each partner agency. This partnership aims to facilitate the flow of timely, relevant, and high quality information to respond to issues, develop innovative solutions, and inform public policy to make money laundering more difficult, explains A/Commr McDonald.

CIFA-BC is the first to launch with the intent that similar provincial alliances will be rolled out across other provinces and coordinated nationally. CIFA-BC will establish provincial priorities and manage these in concert with national objectives.

The RCMP recognizes that the nature and complexity of contemporary money laundering activity requires a comprehensive and coordinated response that builds upon earlier public-private successes. The RCMP is actively building collaborative responses like CIFA-BC to disrupt financial crime networks in Canada at their core, acknowledging that we, as law enforcement, cannot do this alone, says Deputy Commissioner Michael Duheme, Federal Policing.

A/Commr McDonald adds that this comprehensive and collaborative partnership will build a road map to change the landscape to better combat money laundering.

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