Amendments to Bill C-47

On April 13, 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs introduced Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and other amendments).

Bill C-47 proposes legislative amendments to the EIPA and one section of the Criminal Code that would regulate brokering and create a legal requirement to take into account a number of considerations before authorizing the export of arms. 

In remarks before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on February 8, 2018, the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced the Government of Canada’s support for further amendments that would strengthen Bill C-47 and Canada’s arms-export controls.

Importantly, these amendments would obligate the Minister of Foreign Affairs to apply the assessment criteria required by the Arms Trade Treaty when considering the granting of export and brokering permits. They would also require the Minister of Foreign Affairs to deny a permit when there is a substantial risk that the export or brokering of the goods would result in the negative consequences listed in these criteria.

These changes would mean that Global Affairs Canada would need to ensure—before authorizing the export of arms —a high level of confidence that the arms will not be used to commit human rights abuses.

In her remarks to the Committee, the Minister also said that Canada would hold itself to a higher standard on the export of arms, to reflect the expectations of Canadians that such exports are not used in the serious violation of human rights.

The Minister also said that as a matter of broad principle, Canada will honour pre-existing contracts to the greatest extent possible.

On March 20, 2018, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development reported the amended Bill C-47 back to the House of Commons.

In parallel with Parliament’s ongoing consideration of Bill C-47, Global Affairs Canada is reviewing its procedures and evaluation process in accordance with the new guidance shared by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to ensure that appropriate procedures are in place should Bill C-47 receive Royal Assent. This process involves consultations with stakeholders, including industry and civil society. Further information will appear on this website.