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Backgrounder: Amendment to A Guide to Canada's Export Control List

Incorporating international commitments made until January 2023

Update 2023

On June 1, 2023, the Government of Canada finalized the process to produce the latest version of A Guide to Canada's Export Control List  (the Guide). The new version of the Guide will bring into force the commitments Canada has made in the various multilateral export control regimes up to January 1, 2023.

The current December 2021 version of the Guide remains in effect until June 30, 2023. Registered users of the New Export Controls On-Line (New EXCOL) electronic permitting system will receive an email message with a link to the new Guide when it is approved by Global Affairs Canada on June 1, 2023. They will receive a follow-up email on June 30, 2023 to advise that the January 2023 version of the Guide will enter into force the following day. This will provide New EXCOL users with 30 days to become familiar with the updated Guide.

To see a summary of key changes made to the January 2023 edition visit: Summary of key changes made to A Guide to Canada's Export Control List. Exporters wishing to review a document tracking the individual changes made to the Guide or who have any questions regarding this amendment should contact the Export Controls Policy Division at

Process streamlining

To increase the efficiency of the process through which the annual updates to the multilateral export control lists are implemented in Canada, the June 3, 2021 amendment to the Export Control List (ECL) also incorporated the Guide in the ECL regulation "as amended from time to time". Starting this year, any changes to the Guide that are made to align it with existing multilateral export control regimes will enter into force 30-days after the publication of the Guide by Global Affairs Canada, without the need for an amendment to the regulation. Any update to the Guide that is made for any other reason, including the development of unilateral controls, would still require a regulatory amendment.

As indicated in 2021, this amendment has not changed the process by which Canada negotiates and agrees to changes in the common control lists of the consensus-based regimes. Exporters who may be affected by changes at the regimes will continue to be consulted prior to any regime negotiations to ensure that their views are taken into consideration. In recent years, over 300 companies, associations, government departments and agencies have been individually consulted on specific proposals considered by the regimes. The Export Controls Policy Division welcomes feedback from industry about the controls that derive from the regimes. This includes suggestions for improvements to the controls to ensure that the goals of Canada's export controls - such as protecting national security and preventing Canadian exports from being used in the commission of human rights violations - are met, without negatively affecting legitimate trade. 

Canada's robust risk assessment framework for the review of export permit applications has not changed as a result of this amendment.

Understanding the Export Control List (ECL)

The goods and technology controlled for export are mainly determined through commitments made with international partners in the various multilateral export control and non-proliferation regimes. The four regimes are:

With the exceptions of Groups 5 and 9 that are spelled out directly in the schedule of the regulation, the ECL itself does not contain the lists of items controlled for export. Rather, these are described in the Guide which contains the technical specifications of the controlled items and is incorporated by reference in the regulation. The ECL also incorporates by reference the control lists as published by the regimes listed above.

It should also be noted that in order to allow for the Guide to be incorporated "as amended from time to time", changes to the schedule of the regulation were required to accommodate long-standing, uniquely Canadian, practises in the implementation of controls on firearms (to reflect Canadian legal definitions) and certain nuclear materials. These changes to the regulation do not change the scope of the pre-existing export controls over these items.

The table in annex provides a breakdown of the structure of the ECL and the specific regime commitments incorporated in the Guide.  

Contact information:

Export Controls Policy Division (TIR)
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON. K1A 0G2
Tel: 343-203-4331 / Fax: 613-996-9933

The Export Control List

ECL GroupItems ControlledRegime CommitmentsRegime List
Group 1Dual-use items: goods and technology originally designed for civilian purposes, but that could have a military use or be used to produce military items.Wassenaar
Arrangement (WA)
Wassenaar Arrangement Dual Use List 2022 (PDF)
Group 2Military items: designed or modified for military purposes. Includes parts and components of military items.Wassenaar
Arrangement (WA)
Wassenaar Arrangement Munitions List 2022 (PDF)
Group 3Nuclear items: are nuclear-specific and exported for peaceful purposes but could be used in nuclear explosive activity or in a non-safeguarded nuclear fuel cycle activity.Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)NFCIRC/254/Rev.14/Part 1a (PDF)
Group 4Nuclear dual-use items: used in non-nuclear applications but that could also be used in a nuclear explosive activity or a non-safeguarded nuclear fuel cycle activity.Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)  INFCIRC/254/Rev.12/Part2a (2022) (PDF)
Group 5Miscellaneous controls: contains non-strategic controls on certain goods for reasons of economic policy, such as forest, agricultural and food products. Group 5 contains some strategic controls over U.S.-origin goods, land mines, laser weapons and nuclear fusion reactors, space-related equipment, and items that pose a risk of weapons of mass destruction proliferation, among others.N/AN/A
Group 6Missile technology: missiles, complete rocket systems, and unmanned air vehicles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.Missile Technology
Control Regime
MTCR Technical Annex 2022-10-21 (PDF)
Group 7Chemical and biological items: chemical substances, biological agents and related items that could be used in the production of chemical and biological weapons.Australia Group (AG) & Organization for the
Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons
Australia Group Lists (2022)Chemical Weapons Convention
CWC - Schedule 1, 2 and 3
Group 8Not in force: formerly controlled illicit drugs but these controls have since been removed from the ECL.N/AN/A
Group 9Conventional arms: full-system conventional arms that fall under the scope of the ATT for reporting purposes (i.e. battle tanks; combat vehicles; artillery systems; combat aircraft; attack helicopters; warships; missiles and missile launchers; and small arms and light weapons). Group 9 is a subset of Group 2.Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)Exact control text developed by Global Affairs Canada based on technical descriptions of conventional arms found in both the UN Registrar on Conventional Arms and Appendix 3 of the Wassenaar Initial Elements.
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