Special Economic Measures Act

Absent a United Nations Security Council resolution, authority exists to impose sanctions pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). The Act authorises the Governor in Council to make orders or regulations to impose sanctions measures in relation to a foreign state in either of the two following situations (ss. 4(1)):

  1. "for the purpose of implementing a decision, resolution or recommendation of an international organization of states or association of states, of which Canada is a member, that calls on its members to take economic measures against a foreign state"; or
  2. "where the Governor in Council is of the opinion that a grave breach of international peace and security has occurred that has resulted or is likely to result in a serious international crisis".

Under the SEMA, the Governor in Council may order that the property in Canada of a foreign state, of persons in that foreign state or of nationals of that foreign state who are not ordinarily residing in Canada, be seized, frozen or sequestered (par. 4(1)(b)). The Governor in Council may make orders or regulations to restrict or prohibit persons in Canada or Canadians outside Canada from dealing in property of that foreign state (or its residents or nationals), from exporting, selling or shipping goods to that foreign state, from transferring technical data to that foreign state, from importing or acquiring goods from that foreign state or from providing or acquiring any financial or other services to or from that foreign state (par.4(2)(a)-(e)). As well, restrictions or prohibitions may be imposed on vessels or aircraft from that foreign state coming to Canada and Canadian vessels or aircraft going to that foreign state (s.4(2)(f)-(i)).