Canadian Parliamentary Committee to review Canada’s sanctions regimes

The Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs is reviewing Canada’s Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act and Special Economic Measures Act, 2 key pieces of sanctions legislation, including the process for designations, enforcement and monitoring mechanisms, and the overall impact of the sanctions.  The Committee also intends to assess the role and effectiveness of sanctions as a foreign policy tool and Canada’s broader strategic approach to imposing sanctions.

Maya Lester QC will give evidence to the Committee by videolink on 2 November 2016. The press release is here and the list of witnesses here.

Update 04/11/16: Maya Lester’s evidence is to the committee is now available here.

Canada to lift Belarus sanctions

Canada will lift its sanctions on Belarus, following similar action in the EU, US, and Switzerland.  While Canada completes the regulatory process necessary to remove Belarus from the Area Control List by which the sanctions are imposed, it has said that it will normally issue export permits for the export of goods to Belarus, provided they are not listed on the Export Control List.

In its press release, the Canadian government said that its decision was “in response to recent positive developments in Belarus” and that it “will continue to monitor the evolving situation”.

Canada extends Russia sanctions

Canada has added 2 people and 10 entities to its sanctions against Russia, imposed in response Russia’s actions in Ukraine by the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations.  The sanctions impose an asset freeze on Russian people and entities said to be responsible for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and prohibit business with them. The press release says the additions were made “in order to maintain the efficacy of existing sanctions until Russia fully complies with its international obligations with respect to Ukraine…to underscore continued transatlantic unity…to maintain pressure on Russia to fully implement its Minsk commitments”. Details of the 2 people and 10 entities added are here.

Canada has also added 3 Ukrainian people and 4 entities to its sanctions (see here) which list Ukrainians involved in Russia’s actions in Ukraine, pursuant to the Special Economic Measures (Ukraine) Regulations.

Canada lifts some sanctions on Iran

Canada has lifted some of its sanctions against Iran, following the JCPOA nuclear deal implemented in January.  It has:

  1. Lifted its ban on importing goods from Iran, and has eased its general export ban to prohibit the export only of 41 listed items, most of which relate to Iran’s nuclear and other WMD programmes.
  2. removed its prohibition on investing in Iran, general ban on providing financial services, and restrictions on providing port services to Iranian vessels.
  3. reduced the number of people subject to an asset freeze and general ban on transactions from 83 to 41, and number of entities from 530 to 161.

Canada has sanctioned 6 people and 1 entity in connection with Iran’s ballistic missile programme (see similar US listings after Iran’s ballistic missile test in December – previous blog here).

The amending regulation is here, and the press release is here.

Canada charges 2 men with violating Iran sanctions

2 Canadians have been charged in Canada with illegally exporting railway equipment worth several million dollars to Iran, in contravention of Canada’s Iran sanctions regime. They are 2 directors of Romic Marc Rail Inc, based in Montreal.

In July, following the JCPOA being agreed between the E3/EU+3 and Iran, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicolson announced that Canada would retain its sanctions against Iran pending further examination of the situation (see previous blog).

CANADA TO RETAIN ITS IRAN SANCTIONS FOR NOW

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicolson has announced that Canada will retain its sanctions against Iran pending further examination of the situation, notwithstanding the recent nuclear deal reached between Iran and the E3/EU+3 (see previous blog). In a statement (link here) he said: “We appreciate the efforts of the P5+1 to reach an agreement. At the same time, we will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words” adding that “Iran continues to be a significant threat to international peace and security…We will examine this deal further before taking any specific Canadian action”.

CANADA IMPOSES NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA AND CRIMEA

Canada has imposed further sanctions on Russia and the Crimea region of Ukraine, following a statement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper that “Until there is real peace, until occupying forces are withdrawn, and until Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty is restored, there must be ongoing consequences for President Putin’s regime”.  Prime Minister Harper also echoed the position set out by world leaders at the recent G7 summit in Germany (see previous blog) that “Russia and its proxies must fully implement their commitments under the Minsk agreements”.

The new sanctions mirror US and EU restrictions on doing business with the Crimea region of Ukraine (see previous blogs here and here), and add 3 people and 14 entities to Canada’s list of persons subject to an asset freeze and with whom it is prohibited to do business.  The additions include the pro-Moscow motorcycle club “Night Wolves” as well as several companies, and bring the total number of designated persons under Canada’s Russia and Ukraine sanctions to 290.

Canada’s new Ukraine regulations are here, and its new Russia regulations are here.

CANADA IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON 37 INDIVIDUALS AND 17 ENTITIES IN VIEW OF THE SITUATION IN UKRAINE

On 17 February 2015, Canada announced that it was imposing economic sanctions and travel bans on 37 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and 17 Russian and Ukrainian entities.   This follows similar measures previously imposed by Canada in view of the situation in Ukraine, reported on this blog.

Amongst the new listings are Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, and Russian firm Rosneft.  Both firms have significant Canadian business interests.

The new Canadian measures echo EU sanctions which came into force on 16 February 2015 (reported on this blog), listing several of the same individuals.  This includes Russian Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoly Antonov.

Speaking on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that “The collective sanctions imposed to date by Canada and its partners are putting real economic pressure on the Putin regime and its collaborators”, adding that “The cost to Russia will continue to rise if it persists in its escalation of the conflict and refuses to allow a peaceful resolution”.

The new listings can be found in full here.