Crypto Payments Firms Face New Restrictions Under Canada’s Blockade Crackdown

Canada’s federal government has invoked its Emergencies Act for the first time, turning the focus on crowdfunding platforms and crypto payment providers linked to them

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The Center Block and the Peace Tower in Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada. Credit: Shutterstock

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key takeaways

  • Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the country’s Emergencies Act in direct response to ongoing blockades against Covid-19 measures
  • The federal government said it was broadening anti-money laundering and terror-financing rules to cover crowdfunding and payment providers linked to them — including crypto

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the country’s Emergencies Act for the first time in a response to continuing blockades against Covid-19 restrictions.

Under the act, crowdfunding platforms and payment services providers linked to them, including crypto, must now register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). It is unclear at this stage whether the emergency act will impact crypto payment providers in the long term.

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday the federal government was broadening anti-money laundering and terror-financing rules to cover crowdfunding platforms and payment providers they use.

“These changes cover all forms of transactions including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies,” said Freeland. “The illegal blockades have highlighted the fact that crowdfunding platforms and some of the payment service providers they use are not fully captured under the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act.

As of Monday, all crowdfunding platforms and accompanying payment providers must report large and suspicious transactions to the country’s financial regulator in the same way banks are obligated, Freeland said.

The Emergencies Act, passed into law via the Canadian parliament in 1988, grants the federal government temporary additional powers to respond to public welfare, public order, international and war emergencies.

Invoked as a direct response to the ongoing trucker blockades, which have caused major disruption to cities including the country’s capital Ottawa, the act is designed to counter “illegal” protests over Canada’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Scenes across Canadian cities include blockades caused by large trucks lined up in the nation’s highways and trading corridors with the US. The blockades are also causing supply-chain bottlenecks across the country that are affecting Canada’s economy.

Both the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have condemned the protests. The Teamsters said it was “not how disagreements with government policies should be expressed.”

“It is now clear that there are serious challenges to law enforcement‘s ability to effectively enforce the law,” Trudeau said during a press conference on Monday. “The consequences on their lives, for choosing to continue to endanger the lives and livelihoods of other Canadians, to continue to violate our laws, are going to be more and more extensive.”


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