Export Controls are governed by Section 3 of the Export and Import Permits Act, which gives the Government the power to establish an Export Control List (ECL) to control the export of goods and technology for any of the following purposes:
to control the export of arms, ammunition, implements or munitions of war or articles of a strategic nature or value the use of which might be detrimental to the security of Canada;
encourage the further processing of certain natural resources in Canada;
to ensure that there is an adequate supply and distribution of the article in Canada for defence or other needs.
limit the export of goods in circumstances of surplus supply and depressed prices;
to implement an intergovernmental arrangement or commitment.
to ensure the orderly export marketing of goods that are subject to an import limitation by any country or customs territory.
An export permit is required before an item included in the ECL may be exported from Canada to any destination, with the exception (in most cases) of the United States. Nuclear material and equipment, automatic firearms, logs, softwood lumber, pulpwood, roe herring and red cedar bolts and blocks are among the items requiring permits for export to the United States. This requirement enables Canada to meet international commitments, such as preventing the proliferation of missile technology and biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Permits are also required to export any items to countries on the Area Control List (ACL). At present only Belarus and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) are on the ACL.
Responsibility for the issuance or denial of export permits for most of the items on the ECL lies with Export Controls Division.
In 2007 the ECL included seven groups as follows:
For further details see the relevant sections of the Guide to Canada's Export Controls.
Please note that even if an item does not appear on the ECL it may still need some sort of export authorization. Several other departments have responsibilities for certain export controls, namely: the Canadian Wheat Board, Health Canada, Agriculture Canada, Canadian Heritage, Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Natural Resources Canada; and Environment Canada.