Canada Proposes New Rules for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

The rise of cryptocurrency has been one of the most talked-about topics in recent years, with Bitcoin and other digital currencies gaining widespread attention. As the world shifts towards a more digitized economy, countries around the globe are exploring ways to regulate this new form of currency. In Canada, a country renowned for its progressive economic policies and technological advancements, the government has been actively involved in shaping the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrency exchanges.

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of the Canadian regulatory environment for cryptocurrency exchanges. We will discuss the current rules and regulations in place, as well as the proposed changes that could significantly impact the industry. Our aim is to provide a comprehensive overview of the Canadian crypto landscape and offer insights into how these regulations could shape the future of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

Overview of Current Cryptocurrency Regulations in Canada

Canada’s approach to regulating cryptocurrency exchanges is a delicate balancing act between promoting innovation and protecting investors. The country has been a leader in embracing emerging technologies, and the government recognizes the potential of cryptocurrencies to transform the financial sector. However, they also acknowledge the risks associated with these assets and the need to safeguard consumers.

At present, the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada is still evolving, but there are several key principles that guide the operations of these entities. Let’s take a closer look at these regulations and their implications for cryptocurrency exchanges.

Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (AML/ATF)


One of the essential pillars of Canada’s financial system is its anti-money laundering and terrorist financing legislation. The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) is the cornerstone of the country’s AML/ATF regime, which aims to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

Under this legislation, cryptocurrency exchanges are considered “money service businesses” and are therefore subject to regulation and oversight by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). As such, these exchanges are required to implement robust Know Your Client (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies.

This includes verifying the identity of customers, monitoring transactions for suspicious activity, and reporting any suspicious transactions to FINTRAC. Cryptocurrency exchanges must also keep detailed records of all transactions and make them available for inspection by FINTRAC upon request.

Securities Law


In addition to AML/ATF regulations, cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada may also be subject to securities law. The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), an umbrella organization of the country’s provincial and territorial securities regulators, has provided guidance on how securities laws apply to crypto assets.

Under the CSA guidelines, cryptocurrencies that exhibit characteristics of traditional securities, such as ownership rights and the expectation of profits, could fall under the definition of a security and, therefore, be subject to securities law. This means that they would be regulated by the relevant provincial or territorial securities commission and would need to comply with registration, prospectus, and disclosure requirements.

However, not all cryptocurrencies are considered securities, and the determination of whether a specific crypto asset falls under this category can be complex. The CSA has published a framework to help businesses assess whether their activities are subject to securities laws.

Explanation of the Proposed New Rules for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

In March 2019, the Canadian government proposed new regulations that would significantly impact the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. These new rules aim to bring clarity and accountability to the industry, protect consumers, and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

Registration Requirements

The proposed regulations put forward by the Canadian government would require all cryptocurrency exchanges to register with FINTRAC as money service businesses. This would mean that all exchanges would have to comply with AML/ATF regulations and report any suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.

Currently, only exchanges that facilitate the exchange of fiat currency and cryptocurrencies are subject to these regulations. However, under the proposed rules, all crypto-to-crypto exchanges would also be required to register with FINTRAC.

KYC and AML Obligations

The new regulations would also strengthen the KYC and AML obligations for cryptocurrency exchanges. In addition to verifying the identity of their clients, exchanges would have to conduct ongoing monitoring of transactions and report any suspicious activity to FINTRAC.

Moreover, exchanges would be required to keep records of all transactions over $1,000 CAD and make them available to FINTRAC upon request. This would allow the government to better track and monitor cryptocurrency transactions in the country.

Reporting Requirements

Under the proposed regulations, cryptocurrency exchanges would have to submit annual reports to FINTRAC, providing details on their business activities, the number and value of transactions, and any suspicious activities they have detected or reported.

These reports would help FINTRAC gain a better understanding of the cryptocurrency industry in Canada and identify any potential threats or vulnerabilities.

Impact of the New Rules on the Cryptocurrency Industry in Canada

The proposed regulations have caused quite a stir in the Canadian cryptocurrency community. While some see it as a positive step towards legitimizing the industry, others believe that it could stifle innovation and hinder the growth of the sector.


One of the main benefits of the proposed regulations is the increased transparency and accountability they would bring to the cryptocurrency industry. By requiring all exchanges to register with FINTRAC and comply with AML/ATF regulations, the government aims to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing activities and protect investors.

Moreover, these regulations would provide consumers with a greater level of protection when using cryptocurrency exchanges. The KYC and AML requirements would help weed out bad actors and reduce the risk of fraud or scams.


However, not everyone is in favor of the proposed regulations. Some argue that they could harm the growth and innovation of the cryptocurrency industry in Canada. The compliance costs associated with these regulations could be a burden for smaller exchanges, leading to consolidation within the industry.

Moreover, the increased regulatory burden could drive businesses to operate in other countries with more lenient regulations, potentially leading to a brain drain of talent and investment from Canada.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

The Canadian government’s proposed regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges reflect their efforts to balance innovation and consumer protection. While these new rules may bring some challenges for businesses operating in the country, they also offer potential benefits for the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem.

The proposed regulations are currently open for public consultation, and it remains to be seen how they will evolve in the coming months. However, it is clear that the government is taking steps to regulate this emerging market and ensure that it operates in a safe and transparent manner.

As the world of cryptocurrency continues to evolve, we can expect to see further developments in Canada’s regulatory landscape. It is crucial for businesses in the industry to stay informed and adapt to the changing environment to thrive in this exciting but challenging space.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *