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Brokering Controls

The Government of Canada is a State Party to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT or the Treaty) as of September 17, 2019. The ATT establishes standards for international trade in a broad range of conventional arms with the goal of ensuring that states have effective national systems to review and control arms trading. While Canada met most ATT requirements before acceding the ATT, it did not have in place brokering controls, which are required by Article 10 of the Treaty. Canada has now implemented brokering controls to fill this gap.

Through An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments) (Bill C-47), the Government of Canada made legislative changes to the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) to create a framework for brokering controls, as well as other changes to increase the rigour of Canada’s export controls regime. This new legislation received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018.

Public consultations held from December 2018 to January 2019 solicited the views of Canadians on how to implement the new legislation, including the brokering controls, in a way that increases the rigour of Canada’s system, while minimizing undue burdens on Canadian industry.

Legislation: Bill C-47

Bill C-47 amended the EIPA to establish controls over brokering by:

Definition of “broker”

The amended EIPA defines “brokering” as “arranging or negotiating a transaction that relates to the movement of goods or technology included in a Brokering Control List from a foreign country to another foreign country.” Here are a few interpretive notes on that definition:

A broker as defined in the EIPA is not the same as a “broker” under any other legislation or context. The new brokering controls have no impact on customs brokers, or any other type of “broker”, just because of their professional title. For a person or a company to be impacted by the new brokering controls, they would have to conduct “brokering” activities as defined above.

Legal prohibition

The amended legislation will prohibit unauthorized brokering by any legal or natural person or organization in Canada. Canada’s brokering controls will also apply abroad for:

This means that Canada is making unauthorized brokering a criminal offence and that brokering obligations apply extraterritorially as well as domestically.

Brokering regulations

Bill C-47 authorizes the Government of Canada to make regulations to control brokering. Four regulations will create the framework for controlling brokering.

  1. Brokering Control List (BCL):This regulation lists all items for which a brokering permit is required. It will include all items listed in Group 2 (Munitions List) and Group 9 (ATT items) of the Export Control List (ECL), as well as any other ECL item—including dual-use items—that is likely to be used to produce or develop a weapon of mass destruction. The scope of the proposed BCL is comparable to and informed by the existing brokering controls of Canada’s allies.
  2. Brokering Permit Regulations (BPR): This regulation sets out the information that an applicant (meaning a person or organization) must submit in their application for an individual brokering permit. This includes the applicant’s name and contact details; information about the seller, buyer and any other agents or brokers involved; and information on the goods to be brokered, including on their proposed end use. Applicants for brokering permits will be able to use Export Controls On-Line (NEXCOL), the same dedicated website used for export permits.
  3. Regulations Specifying Activities that Do Not Constitute Brokering (“Exclusions”): This regulation specifies activities that, while technically falling under the EIPA’s definition of “brokering,” will be excluded from the new controls. Two exclusions are proposed:
  4. General Brokering Permit (“GBP”) No. 1: This regulation creates a General Permit that can be used to broker in pre-defined, lower-risk circumstances. This GBP authorizes brokering to certain low-risk destinations, provided that the end use is in that destination and that the broker follows the requirements set out in the GBP. In response to feedback received during pre-publication of this regulation in Canada Gazette, Part I, it was amended to also allow for brokering when the item is destined for end-use by the Government of Canada. Brokers making use of this General Permit must:

More information on the legislative and regulatory changes related to the ATT, including brokering controls, can be found at the following links:

Resources for brokers and Trade Compliance Specialists

Other relevant regulations

Brokering permit applications

You are encouraged to submit your application electronically through NEXCOL. As an alternative, you may also submit a paper application.

General information

Contact us

For any question related to Canada’s brokering controls, you can reach the Export Controls Policy Division:

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