Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act

  • August 11, 2001

WHEREAS the Canadian Bar Association has consistently expressed grave concerns about the deterioration of solicitor-client privilege and confidentiality throughout the consultative process prior to legislative proposals that require legal council to report their clients to a government agency based on a suspicion of money laundering;

WHEREAS the Canadian Bar Association's first and primary recommendation to the House of Commons Finance Committee, in its submission regarding what was then Bill C-22, Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act, was that "lawyers be specifically excluded from the ambit of any legislation pertaining to suspicious transactions;"

WHEREAS members of the legal profession take an oath to honour and uphold the law, and are governed by Codes of Professional Conduct requiring them to respect and obey the law, while simultaneously holding duties to their clients in the highest regard; 

WHEREAS the Canadian Bar Association strongly believes that the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and its accompanying Regulations will erode central tenets of the solicitor/client relationship essential to our democratic legal system, and put legal counsel in an untenable position of balancing these statutory requirements with their legal and ethical obligations to their clients;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Canadian Bar Association urge the federal government to amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act to specifically exempt legal counsel from the operation of the Act. 

Certified true copy of a resolution carried by the Council of the Canadian Bar Association at the Annual Meeting held in Saskatoon, SK, August 11-12, 2001

John D.V. Hoyles

Executive Director/Directeur exécutif