In a bid to bolster its efforts against financial crimes, Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC) is increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to detect suspicious transactions. The move comes after the recent imposition of a record-breaking C$9 million ($6.7 million) fine on the Royal Bank of Canada and CIBC for violations, including a failure to submit suspicious transaction reports.
Despite its reputation as a law-abiding democracy, Canada faces an annual money laundering challenge estimated at C$100 billion to C$130 billion, according to think tanks like C.D. Howe. To tackle this issue, FINTRAC is banking on the power of AI to enhance its ability to scrutinize vast amounts of data.
Deputy Director for Supervision Donna Achimov highlighted that AI empowers human analysts with an unprecedented capacity to analyze data efficiently, enabling the identification of more suspicious activities. The agency’s commitment to adopting the latest technology aligns with a broader trend of utilizing AI in the financial sector for improved risk management and security.
Acknowledging the need for enhanced capabilities, the federal government has granted FINTRAC new powers related to national security, leading to a substantial 28% increase in staffing levels in fiscal 2023 compared to two years prior. This surge in resources positions FINTRAC to work in real-time, addressing money laundering and terrorist financing risks more effectively.
Achimov emphasized the agency’s forward-looking approach, suggesting potential collaborations with financial institutions to further mitigate risks. The synergy between advanced technology and increased manpower illustrates Canada’s commitment to staying ahead in the fight against financial crimes, signaling a transformative era for FINTRAC in its pursuit of a more secure financial landscape.