Proceeds of Crime

The proceeds of crime legislation passed in 2001, Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, S.C. 2000, c. 17, sought to impose greater reporting requirements on lawyers. This legislation, in part, was an attempt to subject lawyers to legal provisions that would have forced lawyers and notaries to breach solicitor-client privilege by requiring them to report suspicious financial transactions. The Federation of Law Societies challenged these provisions on behalf of all Law Societies across the country and in March 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down certain provisions of the Act and regulations pertaining to the legal profession. 
In part as a response to the federal legislation and in order to help guard against fraudulent clients and money laundering, the Law Society adopted the Rules on Cash Transactions and the Rules on Client Identification. Under the Rules on Cash Transactions, you are now prohibited from accepting an aggregate amount of $7,500 or more in cash in a single transaction or client matter, except if you receive the money:
  • from a financial institution or public body;
  • from a peace officer, law enforcement agency or other agency of the Crown;
  • pursuant to a court order, or to pay a fine or penalty; or
  • as professional fees or disbursements, expenses or bail, provided that any refund is also made in cash.