Should the City of Burnaby have a policy on accepting cash payments at city hall?
The issue of money laundering took an interesting twist late this week when the City of Vancouver announced it was no longer accepting cash payments greater than $10,000.
The move was prompted because some Vancouver city councillors alleged that bags of money were possibly being used to launder money through the city for such payments as a homeowner’s property taxes.
I don’t know if this is actually true. Ace reporter Mike Howell of the Vancouver Courier (a sister paper of the Burnaby NOW) addressed it in a column, raising doubts about if these councillors actually witnessed people bringing bags of money to city hall – or if it was just political grandstanding.
But it is an interesting topic for Burnaby residents to consider.
Howell contacted the City of Burnaby for information about what it does in regards to cash payments. He asked to speak to the director of finance or somebody in communications.
He got this emailed response back from the city: “The City of Burnaby does not have a policy on min/max cash payments.”
Translation: If you bring a giant bag of money into city hall to pay your property taxes, the city will accept it.
Is not having a policy in this age of rampant money laundering a bad thing?
I think there should be a policy in place. Now, I’m going based on what the city emailed Howell, one of the finest reporters in all of Canada.
According to Howell’s story, in Richmond, if a person is making a cash payment of more than $10,000, they are required to provide identification and a passport, as well as fill out a form.
“Richmond reports that information—even though it is not a requirement of municipalities—to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre, which is Canada’s financial intelligence unit. FINTRAC’s mandate is to detect, prevent and deter money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities,” Howell wrote.
That seems like a good thing to do.
I think Burnaby should consider doing the same. Yes, I understand this will put more of a burden on city staff, but this is the era we live in today. We need to make it as hard as possible for people to launder money.
Look, I’m not trying to criticize the city for its past actions. Like I said, times are simply changing, other city governments are taking steps, and hopefully Burnaby looks into if it should change as well.
Follow Chris Campbell @shinebox44