Cryptocurrency Regulations in Canada
With the explosion of the digital assets industry and an exponential increase in using and investing in cryptocurrencies, having a clear understanding of the current and evolving cryptocurrency regulations in Canada is paramount to ensuring safe transactions.
A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is decentralized and is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. While most people are familiar with Bitcoin and Ethereum, there are more than 5,000 different cryptocurrencies in circulation.
Some of the most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada are Coinbase, Netcoins, Newton, Coinberry and Binance Canada.
Main regulatory facts everyone involved in cryptocurrency trading in Canada should know:
- Cryptocurrency is not a legal tender in Canada
- The Canada Revenue Agency has been taxing cryptocurrencies since 2013 under Canadian tax laws.
- Cryptocurrencies are regulated under provincial securities law and are characterized as a commodity for income tax purposes.
- Cryptocurrency service providers are regulated under provincial securities laws as money service businesses (MSBs)
- Starting 2014 anyone dealing in virtual currencies falls under the regulations of Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) in Canada
- The British Columbia Securities Commission registered the first cryptocurrency-only investment fund in 2017.
- Starting June 2020 all cryptocurrency exchanges need to be registered with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FinTRAC) and comply with margin and market valuation requirements.
- Starting February 2020, the Virtual Currency Travel Rule requires all financial institutions and money services businesses (MSB) to keep a record of all cross-border cryptocurrency transactions and EFTs.
- In February 2022 a private member’s bill on cryptocurrencies was introduced to the House of Commons, Bill C-249 aimed at encouraging growth of the crypto-asset sector. The bill is in its Second reading (House) as of April 5, 2022.