My only snags have involved cash - I've moved up to 6 figures electronically from deposit account to brokerage account, from deposit to deposit and up to multi 5 figures into and out of the states without any issues (maybe fintrac was watching, but no one ever contacted me)
I've been "hassled" at the bank with cash transactions below the 10K. Why are you taking it out, where did it come from, etc? Given the grief below 10K, I've never given them the opportunity to truly hassle me by moving more than 9,999 in cash.
FINTRAC guidelines can be found here: http://www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca/publications/guide/guide-eng.asp
In a nutshell, transactions that must be reported are:
1. Any cash transaction over $10,000
2. Any cash transactions over a short period of time which total $10,000 or more
3. Any cash transactions of any amount which are fishy.
4. Any electronic transfers into or out of Canada over $10,000
5. Any transfers into or out of Canada in a short period of time which total $10,000 or more
6. Any transfers into or out of Canada of any amount which are fishy.
8. Any transaction of any kind which the financial institution, or any employee thereof, believes is fishy.
Fishy means any transaction which may be connected to terrorist activities, the drug trade, or any illegal activity; especially tax evasion. Simply being connected with a country that has terrorist links or drug production makes a transaction fishy. (So any transaction with Canada should be fishy, especially with BC!) Just using a credit card issued by a foreign bank is fishy.
Clearly, FINTRAC casts a very wide net.
The penalties for not reporting are harsh:
- Failure to report suspicious transactions: up to
$2 million and/or 5 years imprisonment.
- Failure to report a large cash transaction or an electronic funds transfer: up to $500,000 for the first offence, $1 million for subsequent offences.
- Failure to meet record keeping requirements: up to $500,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment.
- Failure to provide assistance or provide information during compliance examination: up to $500,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment.
- Disclosing the fact that a suspicious transaction report was made, or disclosing the contents of such a report, with the intent to prejudice a criminal investigation: up to 2 years imprisonment.
What's interesting is that there is a penalty for telling a person that a report is being made. Anyway, the penalties for not reporting are so steep; you can be assured that anything remotely fishy is going to be reported. Doing a cash transaction for $9,999 (to stay under the $10,000 limit) will GUARANTEE a report will be made. If the bank asks you any questions about where money came from, where it's going, etc.; it's pretty sure they are making a report.
Forget about your "right to privacy". In this realm, it doesn't exist.
However, a report is not in itself evidence of wrongdoing. I believe that the vast majority of reports are never investigated.