Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (Nuclear) Division

Canada has a policy objective of non-proliferation, reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons. We pursue this aim persistently and energetically, consistent with our membership in NATO and NORAD and in a manner sensitive to the broader international security context.

Canada's nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament policy is rooted in the three “pillars” of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, disarmament of nuclear weapons stockpiles and the right of all NPT states to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in accordance with non-proliferation obligations. In addition, Canadian policy also recognizes the utility of counter-proliferation initiatives to address non-state actors and states that attempt to circumvent the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Our responsibility is to strengthen Canada's national security by formulating, advocating and negotiating effective nuclear non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament policies, strategies and agreements in collaboration with other divisions within DFAIT and with other government departments and agencies.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Canada has worked strenuously to promote and reinforce efforts that, directly or indirectly, contribute to constraining the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials that can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

Canada advocates three essential international legal instruments as a part of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime: a universal Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to prohibit the spread of nuclear weapons and materials; a fully in-force Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to prohibit all nuclear test explosions; and a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) to prohibit the production of materials that can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

Canada’s strict regulation of nuclear exports and support for the Global Partnership Program also contributes to the objective of nuclear non-proliferation.

Counter-Proliferation

In addition to the treaties, organizations and norms that are a part of the international nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, other formal and informal activities are undertaken to address the international security threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. These activities work to reinforce the treaties that aim to prevent nuclear proliferation as well as work to respond to illicit nuclear proliferation activities.

Nuclear Disarmament

Canada's approach to nuclear disarmament is based on the view that the most workable way forward is by a continuous step-by-step process to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons, steadily advocating national, bilateral and multilateral measures.

Canada pursues this policy in all relevant arenas. These range from support for regional measures such as nuclear-weapons-free zones, to practical assistance by the G8 for disposing of weapons-grade fissile material from dismantled warheads, to strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and negotiating a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament (CD).

Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Canada works to facilitate cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Government tightly regulates the operation of nuclear facilities in Canada and the export of nuclear items to ensure that they are exported only to countries that meet Canada’s domestic and international nuclear non-proliferation requirements. For more information on the regulation of Canadian nuclear facilities, visit the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission website.

Regional Issues

In spite of the political, legal and technical constraints on the proliferation of nuclear weapons and material, there are cases of states that have failed to join the international regime, have abrogated their non-proliferation obligations or have engaged in suspicious activities. The Middle East, South Asia and Korean peninsula are the most prominent regions featuring nuclear proliferation.