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Permits and Certificates

Syria sanctions

Canadian sanctions regulations include exceptions for the purpose of safeguarding human life, disaster relief, democratization, stabilization or providing food, medicine or medical supplies or equipment for international organizations with diplomatic status; United Nations agencies; the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; and NGOs that have entered into a grant or contribution agreement with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade or the Canadian International Development Agency – see s.3.2 of the Special Economic Measures (Syria) Regulations. Should you be involved in humanitarian assistance, but assess that the existing exceptions do not apply and wish to request a permit for your activities, please contact us at and include “Syria earthquake” in the title of your message. Such permit applications will be prioritized.

Canadian sanctions regulations generally include mechanisms for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue permits or certificates to authorize specified activities or transactions that are otherwise prohibited. This authority is found in the related Permit Authorization Order or in the relevant Act or regulation.

There is no guarantee that an application for a permit or certificate will be approved. Do not undertake any activities prohibited by sanctions until you have received a signed permit or certificate.

Permits: Permits may be granted on an exceptional basis in respect of activities that are prohibited under the Special Economic Measures Act and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act. Permits can only be issued to persons in Canada and Canadians outside Canada.

Certificates: Certificates may be granted in exceptional circumstances when certain activities are prohibited under the United Nations Act. The types of certificates that may be applied for are set out in the relevant regulations.

Wondering whether you need a permit or certificate? Consulting a lawyer or other expert before you apply will help you decide.

If you are unsure whether or not your proposed activity or transaction is prohibited, we suggest that you consult the relevant regulations for each country and, if necessary, seek the advice of private legal counsel before applying for a permit or certificate.

Global Affairs Canada does not provide legal advice to the public and cannot confirm whether or not your particular situation requires a permit or certificate prior to receipt of a formal application.

How to Apply

In advance of undertaking activities in a sanctioned jurisdiction, consult the relevant regulations to determine if your potential activity is prohibited by Canada’s sanctions. The Consolidated Canadian Autonomous Sanctions List and the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List can also help you determine if any listed persons (individuals or entities) are involved.

Once you have confirmed that you need a permit or certificate, you will need to provide Global Affairs Canada with: a detailed description of your proposed activity or transaction; an explanation as to how the activity or transaction would violate the relevant regulation, or how your request otherwise meets the criteria for application; and, where possible, which section of the regulation and/or which permit authorization order is being relied on to support your application.

Your application should also include the following information:

Please note that any information you provide in your application, including personal information, may be communicated to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other agencies or departments of the Government of Canada if it is necessary to do so in order to establish if a permit or certificate can be issued.

Processing Times

Global Affairs Canada generally cannot estimate how long a permit will take to process. The granting of a permit under the Special Economic Measures Act and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act is an exceptional act at the discretion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. As such, applicants should not rely on the granting of a permit and should not undertake any activities prohibited by sanctions until a signed permit has been transmitted. For certificate applications submitted pursuant to regulations made under the United Nations Act, timelines for the processing of a certificate may apply, depending on the type of certificate.

Contact Information

To apply for a permit or certificate under the regulations, the information described above, as well as other supporting documentation, can be sent to the Sanctions Policy and Operations Coordination Division at the following address:

Global Affairs Canada
Sanctions Policy and Operations Coordination Division (PER)
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1A 0G2
Fax: 613-995-9085

Permits for the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act

To apply for a permit or certificate under the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, send a request and supporting documentation to the Criminal, Security and Diplomatic Law Division at the following address:

Global Affairs Canada
Criminal, Security and Diplomatic Law Division (JLA)
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1A 0G2

Note on Export and Import Permits

The application process for sanctions permits and certificates is separate from the permit process under the Export and Import Permits Act, which is related to the Export Control List, the Import Control List, and the Area Control List. For further information related to export and import permits, please see Export and Import Controls.

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