Canadian Sanctions Related to Libya

Types of sanctions

Arms embargo

Asset freeze

Export and import restrictions

Financial Prohibitions

Technical assistance prohibition

Recent developments

  • 2019-03-04 - Regulations were amended (SEMA) and (UNA)
  • 2018-05-16 - Regulations were amended (UNA)
  • 2013-09-30 - Regulations were amended (UNA)
Do you need a permit or certificate?

Prohibitions

Sanctions related to Libya were enacted under the United Nations Act to give effect to United Nations Security Council resolutions. The measures imposed against Libya include:

  • Prohibitions on the export, sale, and other provision of arms and related materials to Libya;
  • Prohibitions on the shipment to and from Libya of arms and related material by owners or operators of Canadian vessels or aircraft;
  • Prohibitions on the provision of technical, financial, and other assistance related to military activities or the use of arms and related material;
  • Prohibitions on the import of arms and related material from Libya;
  • Prohibitions on providing services to designated vessels transporting illicit petroleum;
  • Prohibitions on dealing in Libyan petroleum transported on designated vessels; and
  • Prohibitions on dealings with designated persons.

Exceptions

There are exemptions to the prohibitions for the following:

  • Services supplied to designated vessels for the purpose of safeguarding human life;
  • Services supplied to designated vessels to enable a return to Libya, if the Committee of the Security Council is notified in each case;
  • Supplies of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use, and related technical assistance and training;
  • Supplies of protective clothing and equipment, including flak jackets and military helmets, temporarily exported to Libya by United Nations personnel, representatives of the media and humanitarian and development works and associated personnel, for their personal use only;
  • Supplies of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for security or disarmament assistance to the Government of Libya, and related technical assistance, training and financial assistance; or
  • Other sales or supplies of arms and related material, or provision of assistance or personnel, as approved in advance by the Committee of the Security Council.

Permits and Certificates

Affected persons can also apply for a certificate to conduct prohibited activities, although these require notification to and/or a decision from the United Nations Security Council or its Committee.

Background

On 26 February 2011, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1970 (2011) imposing sanctions against Libya in response to the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya involving violence and the use of force against civilians.

The Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on Libya implement the decisions of the Security Council in Canadian domestic law. Implementation of the travel ban imposed by Resolution 1970 (2011) is ensured in Canada under existing provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Since Resolution 1970 did not impose measures against the Libyan Government itself or its institutions and agencies, the Regulations went beyond the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council  by adding "Libya" as a designated entity. In order to do this, the Regulations were enacted under two separate pieces of enabling legislation: the United Nations Act and the Special Economic Measures Act.

Under the United Nations Act, the government may implement whatever measures are necessary to implement decisions of the United Nations Security Council; under the Special Economic Measures Act, the government may take certain actions in order to address situations where there has been a call for economic sanctions by an international organization of states, or where there has been a grave breach of international peace and security that has resulted or is likely to result in an international crisis. With the situation in Libya, the Government of Canada wanted to act to implement both the measures decided upon by the United Nations Security Council, as well as to ban transactions with the Libyan government and its institutions and agencies. Regulations were thus created under the authority of both the United Nations Act and the Special Economic Measures Act.

After the fall of the Qadhafi regime,  Canada engaged with the National Transitional Council (NTC) and subsequently the Government of National Accord (GNA), which remains recognized by the international community as Libya’s sole legitimate government.  Canada announced on September 1, 2011, that it was lifting many of its unilateral sanctions in order to support the Libyan people and the new governing authorities. The measures imposed under the authority of the Special Economic Measures Act found in section 8 and 9(b) were repealed on August 31, 2011. In addition, the Special Economic Measures (Libya) Permit Authorization Order was also repealed.

On September 16, 2011, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2009 (2011), which amended the sanctions in place against Libya. These changes were implemented in Canada in the form of amendments to the existing Regulations.

On March 14, 2013, the United Nations Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, adopted Resolution 2095 (2013), which decided that the prior approval or notification of the Committee would no longer be required for supplies of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use and related technical assistance or training. The UNSC also decided that the prior approval or notification of the Committee would no longer be required for the provision of technical assistance, training or financial assistance intended solely for security or disarmament assistance to the Libyan government.

On March 19, 2014, the United Nations Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, adopted Resolution 2146 (2014), which prohibited port entry, bunkering, and financial services for designated vessels transporting illicit oil from Libya. This prohibition was expanded with the adoption of Resolution 2362 (2017) on June 29, 2017 to apply to any designated vessel loading, transporting, or discharging  petroleum, including crude oil – and for the first time – refined petroleum products, illicitly exported or attempted to be exported from Libya. These measures reflected the concern of the international community that the widespread illicit export of Libyan petroleum undermined the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), and posed a threat to the peace, security and stability of Libya.

These changes have been implemented in Canada in the form of amendments to the existing Regulations.

Selected documents

Regulations

Regulations and Orders made under the Special Economic Measures Act and the United Nations Act:

Announcements

Announcements related to the Regulations made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Related links

Legal advice

Please be advised that Global Affairs Canada cannot provide legal advice to members of the public. For this reason, we cannot deliver an opinion as to whether or not a specific activity or transaction would contravene sanctions legislation. You should consider seeking legal advice in relation to an activity that may contravene a Canadian sanction law.

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