While only tangentially related CBC Power and Politics did a feature yesterday on the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa that ended up discussing the current situation with TD Bank and Iranian Canadians. I can’t link directly to the video here but I linked to the story on CBC’s website.
What is real interesting is that the wife Canada’s Defense Minister Peter McKay Nazanin Afshin Jam who is Iranian and strongly opposed to the Iranian Regime(she actually started the whole constroversy becoming out and calling for the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa to be closed) later came out and condemed TD Bank and called on the government(whom her husband is a minister of)to provide more detailed guidance to Canadian banks in terms of dealing with Iran.
I point this segment on Power and Politics because this EXACTLY the type of high level press coverage US Persons in Canada need.
Unfortunately, I think the issue of US persons in Canada will not become a high level press coverage item until situations similar to Iranian Canadians and TD start happening in Canada.
Once there are a few actual bank account closings or other FATCA/ IRS horrors, the issue will be under reported.
I believe standing instructions for transfers to and from the US may be considered an indicia of a US person, so it may not just be transfers to and from a country affected by economic sanctions that will trigger problems with financial institutions.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is warning that TD Bank may have infringed Charter rights when it suddenly closed a number of Iranian Canadian accounts.
“We are concerned that by implementing collective measures against individuals in Canada based on place of origin, we may be impairing Charter rights,” she said.
The Charter of Rights prohibits discrimination based on country of origin. If TD is closing accounts of customers who have not transferred funds to or from Iran, they may be applying sanctions too broadly, Pillay explained.
“It raises questions for us. Have these people been provided with the opportunity to explain a funds transfer, or indicate that they never made a funds transfer?”
The Charter can only be violated by government officials. However, since TD is shutting down accounts to give effect to federal regulations, there may be a Charter violation, said Pillay.
I found coverage of the TD Iranian-Canadian bank account closure story on the website of ABC news, a major
US television network.
I’d guess that very few Iranian-Canadians are also US citizens or “US persons.” But meanwhile large scale closures of large numbers of US citizens’ and “
US persons'” bank accounts around the world, directly caused by the US government’s FATCA legislation, doesn’t get coverage in the US mainstream media..
As a resident of Alberta you might curious to know that the charter DOES apply to ATB Financial due to the fact ATB is part of the provincial government.