Record keeping requirements for British Columbia notaries

June 2017

This guidance on record keeping is applicable to British Columbia notary publics and British Columbia notary corporations that are subject to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and associated Regulations.

As a British Columbia notary public or British Columbia notary corporation, you have record keeping obligations when you engage in any of the following activities on behalf of any individual or entity (other than your employer), or give instructions for the following activities on behalf of any individual or entity (other than your employer):

In order to comply with your record keeping requirements, you are required to keep certain records in a manner in which they can be provided to FINTRAC within 30 days upon request. These records may also be requested through a judicial order by law enforcement to support an investigation of money laundering  or terrorist activity financing. A record (or a copy) may be kept in a machine-readable or electronic form, so long as a paper copy can easily be produced.

Employees who keep records for you are not required to keep them after the end of their employment with you. The same is true for individuals in a contractual relationship with you, after the end of that contractual relationship. This means that you have to obtain and keep the records that were kept for you by any employee or contractor before the end of that individual's employment or contract with you.

There may be situations where you are required to keep records for purposes other than your requirements under the PCMLTFA. For example, a federal or provincial regulator for your sector may require you to keep records in addition to those described in this guidance. If this is the case, you must still meet the requirements explained in this guidance. For example, the retention period for your records can be longer than what is described, but it cannot be shorter.

Please note that as a British Columbia notary public or a British Columbia notary corporation, you have record keeping requirements in addition to what is included in this guidance. These additional requirements are detailed in the following Know your client guidance documents:

As a British Columbia notary public or a British Columbia notary corporation, you must keep the following records:

  1. Suspicious transaction report records
  2. Large cash transaction records
  3. Receipt of funds records
  4. Reasonable measures records

**Note: Exceptions to your record keeping requirements are listed in the last section of this guidance.

**Note: When recording the nature of the principal business or occupation of a client, you must be as descriptive as possible in order to be able to determine whether a transaction or activity is consistent with what would be expected for that client. For example, in the case of a person who is a manager, the occupation recorded should reflect the area of management, such as “hotel reservations manager” or “retail clothing store manager.” The same is true when recording the nature of the principal business of an entity. For example, in the case of an entity in the field of sales, the nature of the principal business should specify the type of sales, such as “pharmaceutical sales” or “retail sales”.

1. Suspicious transaction report records

If you submit a suspicious transaction report (STR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it. This includes STRs for completed and attempted transactions.

Retention: You must keep STR’s for at least five years from the date the report was submitted.

2. Large cash transaction records

You must keep a record of every large cash transaction. A large cash transaction occurs when you receive $10,000 or more in cash from a client in a single transaction. A large cash transaction also occurs when there are multiple cash transactions of less than $10,000 each that total $10,000 or more within a 24-hour period, when you know they are conducted by, or on behalf of, the same individual or entity.

When your client conducts a large cash transaction, your record must indicate the receipt of an amount of $10,000 or more in cash, along with the following:

Retention: You must keep large cash transaction records for at least five years from the date the record was created.

3. Receipt of funds records

When you receive funds in any form (in cash or in another form) in the amount of $3,000 or more in the course of a single transaction, you must record: 

If the receipt of funds record is about a client that is a corporation, you must also keep a copy of the part of the official corporate records that contains any provision relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction. This could be a certificate of incumbency, the articles of incorporation or the bylaws of the corporation that set out the officers duly authorized to sign on the behalf of the corporation, such as the president, treasurer, vice-president, comptroller, etc.

If there were changes subsequent to the articles or bylaws that related to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction, and these changes were applicable at the time the transaction was conducted, then the board resolution stating the change should be included in this type of record.

Retention: You must keep a receipt of funds record for at least five years from the date the record was created.

4. Reasonable measures records

The term “reasonable measures” refers to activities you are expected to undertake in order to meet certain obligations. The PCMLTFA and associated Regulations explicitly state when you must take reasonable measures to meet an obligation.

As of June 17, 2017, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations have been changed to require that a record be kept when reasonable measures were taken, but were unsuccessful. A reasonable measure is unsuccessful when you do not obtain a response, such as a yes or no, and you are unable to make a conclusive determination. Refer to section 67.3 of the Regulations for every activity where you are required to keep records when reasonable measures were unsuccessful.

When reasonable measures are unsuccessful, you must record the following information:

You must outline the reasonable measures that you take in your compliance policies and procedures. This can form part of your unsuccessful reasonable measures record, or you could document, on a case-by-case basis, the measure taken in each record for unsuccessful reasonable measures. For example, if you ask a client if they are conducting a large cash transaction on behalf of a third party and they refuse to answer your record should indicate that you asked, the date you asked and the fact that the client refused to answer yes or no.

Should you take a measure that is not included in your policies and procedures, you would have to include details of that measure taken in your record of unsuccessful reasonable measures.

Retention: You must keep records of your unsuccessful reasonable measures for at least five years following the date they were created.

Exceptions to record keeping requirements

If you are required to keep a record about information that is readily available in other records that you have kept, you do not have to record the same information again. This means that if you keep the required information and can produce it during a FINTRAC examination you do not need to create a new record to meet your obligations.

You do not need to keep a record for the receipt of funds in an amount of $3,000 or more if the funds are received from a public body or very large corporation. The exception also applies for a subsidiary for either of those entities, if the financial statements of the subsidiary are consolidated with those of the public body or very large corporation.

You do not need to keep a large cash transaction record if the cash is received from a public body or a financial entity.

You are not required to keep a receipt of funds record if the funds are received from a financial entity or a public body.

You are not required to keep a receipt of funds record if you must keep a large cash transaction record for the same transaction.


Administrative monetary penalties (AMPs)

Civil penalties that may be issued to reporting entities by FINTRAC for non-compliance with the PCMLTFA and related regulations. (pénalité administrative pécuniaire [PAP])


An entity is affiliated with another entity if one of them is wholly owned by the other, if both are wholly owned by the same entity or if their financial statements are consolidated. (entité du même groupe)


A branch is a part of your own business at a distinct location other than your main office. (succursale)

Clarification Request

A clarification request is a method used to communicate with you when we need more information about your registration form. This request is usually sent to you by email. If you do not reply to a clarification request, your registration can be denied or revoked. (demande de precisions)

Compliance officer

The individual you appoint to be responsible for the implementation of your compliance regime. Your compliance officer should have the authority and the resources necessary to discharge his or her responsibilities effectively. Depending on your type of business, your compliance officer should report, on a regular basis, to the board of directors or senior management, or to the owner or chief operator. (agent de conformité)

Credit card acquiring business

A credit card acquiring business is a financial entity that has an agreement with a merchant to provide the following services:

  • enabling a merchant to accept credit card payments by cardholders for goods and services and to receive payment for credit card purchases;
  • processing services, payment settlements and providing point-of-sale equipment (such as computer terminals); and
  • providing other ancillary services to the merchant. (entreprise d’acquisition de cartes de crédit)

A document or information that is up to date (the most recent) and is not expired. (document ou renseignement à jour)

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

An electronic funds transfer (money transfer) means the transmission of instructions for the money transfer of funds to or from Canada. An electronic funds transfer does not include the instructions for the money transfer of funds from one place in Canada to another in Canada. (télévirement)


Can be a corporation, trust, partnership, fund, or an unincorporated association or organization. (entité)

Financial account

Refers to deposit, credit card or other loan accounts held by a financial entity. This does not include investment accounts such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs). (compte financier)

Financial entity

Means a bank that is regulated by the Bank Act, an authorized foreign bank, as defined in section 2 of that Act, in respect of its business in Canada, a cooperative credit society, savings and credit union or caisse populaire that is regulated by a provincial Act, an association that is regulated by the Cooperative Credit Associations Act, a financial services cooperative, a credit union central, a company that is regulated by the Trust and Loan Companies Act and a trust company or loan company that is regulated by a provincial Act. It includes a department or an entity that is an agent or mandatary of Her Majesty in right of Canada or of a province when it is carrying out an activity referred to in section 45 of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations. (entité financière)


A guarantor can be:

  • a medical doctor, chiropractor, or dentist;
  • a judge, a magistrate or lawyer;
  • a notary (in Quebec) or a notary public;
  • an optometrist or a pharmacist;
  • an accredited public accountant or Chartered Professional Accountant;
  • a professional engineer (P. Eng., in a province other than Quebec) or engineer (Eng. in Quebec); or,
  • a veterinarian. (répondant)

For the purposes of ascertaining client identity, the term “independent” means that the sources must be different; the information cannot be from the same issuer. (source indépendante)

Individual or person

A human being. (individu ou personne)

Institutional trust

An institutional trust is a trust that is established by a corporation, partnership or other entity for a particular business purpose and includes pension plan trusts, pension master trusts, supplemental pension plan trusts, mutual fund trusts, pooled fund trusts, registered retirement savings plan trusts, registered retirement income fund trusts, registered education savings plan trusts, group registered retirement savings plan trusts, deferred profit sharing plan trusts, employee profit sharing plan trusts, retirement compensation arrangement trusts, employee savings plan trusts, health and welfare trusts, unemployment benefit plan trusts, foreign insurance company trusts, foreign reinsurance trusts, reinsurance trusts, real estate investment trusts, environmental trusts and trusts established in respect of endowments, foundations and registered charities. (fiducie institutionnelle)

Inter vivos trust

A trust that is not created by will. This type of trust is established by a living individual for the benefit of another individual, such as a trust created by a parent for a child (also known as a living trust). Its assets can be distributed to the beneficiary during or after a settlor’s lifetime. (fiducie entre vifs)

Listed person

A listed person includes an individual, a corporation, a trust, a partnership or fund or an unincorporated association or organization that is believed to:

  • have carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity; or
  • be controlled directly or indirectly by, be acting on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with any individual or entity conducting any of the above activities.

A listed person means anyone on a list published in the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on the Suppression of Terrorism issued under the United Nations Act. You can consult that list of names on the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions' Web site: (personne inscrite)

Money Laundering Offence

A money laundering offence involves various acts committed with the intention to hide or convert dirty money produced through criminal activity into clean money whose criminal origin is hard to trace. Criminals are always looking for ways to exchange, disguise or move money around to hide its origin. The dirty money can come from offences such as drug trafficking, bribery, fraud, forgery, murder, robbery, counterfeit money, stock manipulation, tax evasion, and copyright infringement. Dirty money can also come from illegal activities that took place outside of Canada. (infraction de recyclage des produits de la criminalité)

Money service business agent

An MSB services agent is an individual or organization authorized to act on an MSB's behalf. Do not mistake an MSB agent with a branch. If you are an MSB, an agent is a separate individual or organization that you authorize to deliver your services. If you use one or more agents to deliver your MSB services on your behalf, you need to give information about all of them in your registration form. It is your responsibility to keep your agent information up to date in your registration information. If you are an agent of an MSB, you do not have to register with us for the services you deliver for that MSB. (mandataire d’une entreprise de services monétaires)


An organization is an entity such as a corporation, a trust, a partnership, or an association. It does not include an individual. (organisation)


Original refers to any paper or electronic document as it is sent from the issuer directly to the client. (version originale d’un document)

Public body
  1. any department or agent or mandatary of Her Majesty in right of Canada or of a province;
  2. an incorporated city or town, village, metropolitan authority, township, district, county, rural municipality or other incorporated municipal body in Canada or an agent or mandatary in Canada of any of them; and
  3. an organization that operates a public hospital and that is designated by the Minister of National Revenue as a hospital authority under the Excise Tax Act, or an agent or mandatary of such an organization (organisme public).

In reference to a source, reliable means that the source is well known, reputable, and is considered one that you trust to verify the identity of the client. (source fiable)

Senior officer

A senior officer of an organization can be:

  • a director who is also a full time employee;
  • a chief executive officer, chief operating officer, president, secretary treasurer, controller, chief financial officer, chief accountant, chief auditor or chief actuary, or any individual who performs these similar duties; or,
  • any other officer who reports directly to the board of directors, chief executive officer or chief operating officer. (cadre dirigeant)
Service agreement

A service agreement is an agreement between you and another organization for you to provide any of the following MSB services:

  • money transfers;
  • foreign currency exchange; or
  • money orders, traveller's cheques or anything similar. (accord de relation commerciale)

A settlor is an individual or entity that creates a trust with a written trust declaration. The settlor ensures that legal responsibility for the trust is then given to a trustee and that the trustee is provided with a trust instrument document that explains how the trust is to be used for the beneficiaries. A settlor includes any individual or entity that contributes financially to that trust, either directly or indirectly. (constituent)


The issuer or provider of information or documents for verifying identification. (source)


The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network is a global member-owned cooperative and an international provider of secure financial messaging services. (SWIFT)

Terrorist activity financing offence

A terrorist financing offence is knowingly collecting or giving property (such as money) to carry out terrorist activities. This includes the use and possession of any property to help carry out the terrorist activities. The money earned for terrorist financing can be from legal sources, such as personal donations and profits from a business or charitable organization. The money can also come from criminal sources, such as the drug trade, the smuggling of weapons and other goods, fraud, kidnapping and extortion. (infraction de financement des activités terroristes)


A right of property held by one individual or entity (a trustee) for the benefit of another individual or entity (a beneficiary). (fiducie)


A trustee is the individual or entity authorized to hold or administer the assets of a trust in the best interests of the beneficiary. (fiduciaire)


Refers to a document or information that appears legitimate or authentic and does not appear to have been altered or had any information redacted. The information must also be valid according to the issuer, for example if a passport is invalid because of a name change, it is not valid for FINTRAC purposes. (document ou renseignement valide)

Verify client identity

To refer to certain information or documentation to identify a client and ensure that their information matches what you know about them. (vérifier l’identité d’un client)

Very Large Corporation

A large corporation is one that has minimum net assets of $75 million CAD on its last audited balance sheet. The corporation's shares have to be traded on a Canadian stock exchange or on a stock exchange outside Canada that is designated by the Minister of Finance. The corporation also has to operate in a country that is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). (personne morale dont l’actif est très important)

Working Days

A working day is a day between and including Monday to Friday. It excludes Saturday, Sunday, or a public holiday. (jour ouvrable)

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