Types of Sanctions

Sanctions imposed by Canada on specific countries, organizations, or individuals vary and can encompass a variety of measures, including restricting or prohibiting trade, financial transactions or other economic activity between Canada and the target state; or the seizure or freezing of property situated in Canada.

For specific information, consult the relevant regulations linked below.

Arms and Related Materials Embargo

An arms embargo aims to prevent weapons and military equipment from leaving or reaching a targeted country. It prohibits exporting and importing arms and related materials to and from the targeted country, and may also prohibit communicating technical data or financial transactions related to military activities.

An arms embargo can be imposed under the United Nations Act (UNA) or the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). An example of an exception that might apply is providing protective or non-lethal military equipment for use by media or human rights personnel.

Canada's sanctions apply an arms and related materials embargo on the following countries:

An embargo on arms and related materials also applies to Terrorist Entities under the United Nations Al-Qaida and Taliban Regulations.

Asset Freeze

An asset freeze aims to prevent an individual or entity from gaining access to property or other assets it may hold under Canadian jurisdiction. It prohibits persons in Canada and Canadians outside Canada from dealing in any property held by, or on behalf of, a person named in the relevant sanctions regulation. It also prohibits facilitating or providing financial services related to such a dealing.

Asset freezes can be imposed under the United Nations Act (UNA), the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) or the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act. Exceptions may include transactions with UN agencies, Canadian NGOs, or other aid agencies.

Export/Import Restrictions

Export and import restrictions aim to hinder the economy, or specific sectors of the economy, of the targeted country. They typically prohibit buying, selling or shipping identified goods to or from the country; for example, oil and petroleum products or certain telecommunication products.

Export and import restrictions can be imposed under the United Nations Act (UNA) or the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). Exemptions may apply to food; medical supplies; goods used for public health purposes or disaster relief; or goods required under pre-existing contracts. The specific exemptions are listed in the regulations for each set of sanctions.

Export and import restrictions can also be authorised under the Export and Import Permits Act. Notably, exports to any country named in the Area Control List of this act are banned. For more information, please see Export and Import Controls.

Canada's sanctions apply export/import restrictions provisions on the following countries:

Financial Prohibitions

Financial prohibitions prohibit persons in Canada and Canadians outside Canada from conducting financial transactions with, or on behalf of or at the direction of, certain listed persons. Equally, they may target specific types of financial transactions with listed individuals or entities.

Financial prohibitions can be imposed under the United Nations Act (UNA), the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) or the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act. Exceptions may include transactions related to humanitarian aid; transactions required to move financial assets away from designated persons; financial transactions required under pre-existing contracts; and remittances between family members. The specific exemptions are listed in the relevant regulations.

Canada's sanctions apply financial prohibition provisions on the following countries:

Technical Assistance Prohibition

Technical assistance prohibitions aim to prevent a country targetted by an arms embargo or an export ban from obtaining services and information related to the banned products. They typcially prohibit providing technical data, training or other technical assistance. Prohibitions on technical assistance will usually affect dealings with all persons in the targeted country.

Technical assistance prohibitions can be imposed under the United Nations Act (UNA) or the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). Some exemptions may be listed in the relevant sanctions regulations.

Canada's sanctions apply technical assistance prohibitions provisions on the following countries:

Related Measures

While United Nations ActSpecial Economic Measures Act and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act are the primary laws by which Canada prohibits dealings with foreign countries, individuals or entities, measures authorized under other laws can add further restrictions. Travel restrictions can be imposed under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, exports can be restricted under the Export and Imports Permits Act, criminal measures can be applied to terrorist entities listed under the Criminal Code, and under the Freezing of Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, Canada may acquiesce to a demand by a country in turmoil to freeze the assets of certain of its government officials or politicians.