Transnational crime

Global Affairs Canada takes active leadership in international fora to develop legal instruments, share best practices, and set standards to combat transnational organized crime. The core pillars of our activities include policy and programming on drugs and counter-narcotics, trafficking in persons and irregular migration, corruption, and economic crime.

International instruments

International legal instruments on crime, drugs, and corruption guide and inform Canada’s domestic policy direction and also help Canada to play a key role in the fight against international organized crime. Canada ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) and its Protocols on Smuggling in Migrants and Trafficking in Persons in May 2002, and is committed to their implementation. Canada has also ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Canada encourages other countries to ratify and implement their legal obligations under these international instruments. Canada is also signatory to and strong proponent of the three international drug conventions: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (as amended by the 1972 Protocol), the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

International bodies

Canada is one of 40 members of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and acted as Chair of the Commission in 2011. This forum allows experts from around the world to discuss ways to share best practices and promote collaboration in fighting problems such as urban crime, gangs, sexual exploitation of children, criminal justice reform, and trafficking in persons. Canada’s international profile on economic crime is also quite prominent given its role as an active and founding member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the key international body in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Since its inception, Canada has also been an active member of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs. This Commission is the central policymaking body within the United Nations system dealing with drug-related matters.


Advancing cooperation on security in the Americas is a key priority. The illicit drug trade is of particular concern as it fuels organized crime networks, money laundering, corruption and other manifestations of transnational organized crime. Canada has worked with its partners to develop tools to combat these transnational organized crime issues in the hemisphere, including through the negotiation of a Hemispheric Plan of Action Against Transnational Organized Crime. Canada also collaborates with partners such as the United States, the European Union, Mexico and Latin American partners to enhance security and build capacity in the region.

Anti-crime capacity building

Global Affairs Canada coordinates a whole-of-government effort in Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico to address security threats and institutional deficiencies using capacity-building expertise to support government and non-government institutions. Through the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, Canada has supported workshops on substance abuse prevention in some countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America. Canada also provides funding to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to deliver capacity building to countries in need of assistance to implement their international obligations. It has combatted economic crime in Western Africa, raised awareness of human smuggling and trafficking in persons in South-East Asia and provided training to law enforcement personnel on counter-narcotics investigations.