United Nations Act

Canada's United Nations Act enables the Canadian government to give effect to decisions passed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). United Nations sanctions are imposed pursuant to decisions of the UNSC under Chapter VII (Article 41) of the United Nations Charter. If the UNSC determines that a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace or an act of aggression has occurred, it may decide what measures shall be taken to maintain or restore international peace and security. These measures do not involve the use of armed force and generally are economic and trade sanctions. A UNSC decision taken pursuant to Article 41 imposes a legal obligation on Canada (as a UN Member) to take all necessary measures to give effect to the decision domestically.

When a UNSC resolution imposes sanctions, Canada must introduce them into domestic law. This is done by enacting regulations under the United Nations Act. The Act provides, inter alia, that "[w]hen, in pursuance of Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations ... the Security Council decides on a measure to be employed to give effect to any of its decisions and calls on Canada to apply the measure, the Governor in Council may make such orders and regulations as appear to him to be necessary or expedient for enabling the measure to be effectively applied" (s.2).