In the wake of protests, Canada adds Cryptocurrency to its AML laws

Namrata Shukla
Canada AML crypto
Source: Pixabay

After being supportive of cryptocurrency innovations, Canada is now invoking the Emergencies Act. This Act will be an expansion of money laundering laws to include crowdfunding platforms and cryptocurrency transactions.

According to reports, the Justin Trudeau-led government was responding to the now weeks-long trucker protests that have blocked key crossing at the US-Canada border. This was the first instance that Canada has invoked its Emergencies Act since it was passed in 1988.

As per the Canadian law passed in 1988, “For the purposes of this Act, a national emergency is an urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature” that cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada.

According to Trudeau, the law will be limited geographically, in scope, and in time. He noted,

“This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs, and restoring faith in our institutions”.

However, the prime minister was not keen on getting the military involved, even though the act dictates so. Instead, the government aimed at handicapping the protesters’ finances. For the same, deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland said banks can immediately freeze or suspend bank accounts without a court order and fear of civil liability.

Trudeau also denied overriding the charter of rights and freedoms, nor limiting the right to peaceful assembly. He added,

We are not preventing people from exercising their right to protest legally.

Adding to this, the broadening of the scope of Candian anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing rules will now cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use. According to Freeland, these changes cover all forms of transactions, including digital assets like cryptocurrency.

This comes after it was known that the Tallycoin bitcoin fundraiser had raised 20 Bitcoins, equivalent to $1 million, for the truckers. The fundraising page has been shut down as of now, but the team has asked people to “stay tuned” about the next steps.

Cryptocurrency has always been a haven for protestors in many different countries where financial support has been withdrawn. Although Canada is tightening up its AML laws, will it be able to keep cryptocurrency at bay? It would be a challenging task as the technology itself is based on the internet, however, it will also be laborious for the protesters to find a way around it.