Canadian Sanctions Related to Moldova
- 2023-08-04 - Regulations were amended
- 2023-05-30 - Regulations entered into force
- 2023-05-30 - Permit order was implemented
Sanctions related to Moldova have been enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act in response to the gravity of Russia’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova and Ukraine, in which gross and systematic violations of human rights and acts of significant corruption have been committed.
The Special Economic Measures (Moldova) Regulations impose a dealings prohibition, an effective asset freeze, on listed persons. The Regulations prohibit any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada from:
- dealing in property, wherever situated, that is owned, held or controlled by a listed person or a person acting on behalf of a listed person;
- entering into or facilitating any transaction related to a dealing prohibited by these Regulations;
- providing any financial or related services in respect of a dealing prohibited by these Regulations;
- making available any goods, wherever situated, to a listed person or a person acting on behalf of a listed person; and
- providing any financial or other related services to or for the benefit of a listed person.
Causing, facilitating or assisting in prohibited activities is likewise prohibited.
The above-noted asset freeze and dealings prohibitions do not apply to the following activities or transactions:
- payments made by or on behalf of designated persons pursuant to contracts entered into prior to the coming into force of the Regulations, provided that the payments are not made to or for the benefit of a designated person;
- payments made by or on behalf of a listed person pursuant to contracts entered into prior to the coming into force of the Regulations, provided that the payments are not made to a listed person or to a person acting on behalf of a listed person;
- transactions necessary for a Canadian to transfer to a non-listed person any accounts, funds or investments of a Canadian held by a listed person on the day on which that person became listed;
- dealings with a listed person required with respect to loan repayments made to any person in Canada, or any Canadian outside Canada, for loans entered into with any person other than a listed person, and for enforcement and realization of security in respect of those loans, or repayments by guarantors guaranteeing those loans;
- dealings with a listed person required with respect to loan repayments made to any person in Canada, or any Canadian outside Canada, for loans entered into with a listed person before that person became a listed person, and for enforcement and realization of security in respect of those loans, or repayments by guarantors guaranteeing those loans;
- pension payments to any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada;
- financial services required in order for a listed person to obtain legal services in Canada with respect to the application of any of the prohibitions set out in these Regulations;
- transactions in respect of accounts at financial institutions held by diplomatic missions, provided that the transaction is required in order for the mission to fulfill its diplomatic functions under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, or transactions required in order to maintain the mission premises if the diplomatic mission has been temporarily or permanently recalled;
- transactions with any international organization with diplomatic status, agencies of the United Nations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, or with any entity that has entered into a grant or contribution agreement with Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; and
- transactions by the Government of Canada that are provided for in any agreement or arrangement between Canada and Moldova.
Permits and Certificates
A separate Special Economic Measures (Moldova) Permit Authorization Order made pursuant to subsection 4(4) of the Special Economic Measures Act authorizes the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue to any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada a permit to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or any class of activity or transaction, that is otherwise restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Regulations.
Following Russia’s illegal occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the Canadian government, in tandem with partners and allies, enacted sanctions through the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). These sanctions impose dealings prohibitions (an effective asset freeze) on designated individuals and entities in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine supporting or enabling Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty. Any person in Canada and Canadians outside Canada are thereby prohibited from dealing in the property of, entering into transactions with, providing services to, or otherwise making goods available to listed persons.
On February 24, 2022, Russian President Putin announced a “special military operation” as Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine from Russian and Belarusian territory. The war has become a grinding war of attrition which sees little prospect of a quick victory for either side, and both continue to incur heavy losses. The Russian military has committed horrific atrocities against civilians, including in Izium, Bucha, Kharkiv and Mariupol. Experts, including the OSCE Moscow Mechanism fact-finding missions, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), have concluded that Russia is committing serious human rights violations, war crimes, possible crimes against humanity, and conflict-related sexual violence. These studies have linked Russian external aggression with systematic repression and human rights abuses domestically. According to Ukraine’s State Emergency Department, 30% of Ukrainian territory (approximately the size of Austria) is mined. President Putin’s military invasion has been paired with significant malicious cyber operations and disinformation campaigns that falsely portray the West as the aggressor; and claim Ukraine is developing chemical, biological, radiological and/or nuclear weapons with NATO support. The deterioration of Russia’s relations with Ukraine has paralleled the worsening of its relations with the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which has led to heightened tensions.
Russia has threatened to draw Moldova further into the conflict in Ukraine. Separatists in Transnistria have long-sought separation from Moldova. Russia has stationed so-called “peacekeepers” as part of a trilateral peacekeeping force there since 1992, as well as occupation troops guarding Russian ammunition depots in Transnistria. Russia has used its presence in Moldova to restrain the national government from exercising full sovereignty over Moldovan territory in Transnistria and has threatened military confrontation should Moldova seek to remove them.
Following the annexation of Crimea in 2014, separatists in Transnistria openly applauded the Russian action and expressed their wish that Russia annex Transnistria. At the time, Ukraine built defences on its border with Transnistria, fearing that Russia would use Moldovan territory to invade mainland Ukraine. Since February 2022, Moldovan authorities have reported several instances in which Russian missiles have crossed Moldovan airspace to attack Ukraine. On at least two occasions missile debris has landed in Moldovan territory. Senior Russian officials have suggested Russia’s war aims include taking a contiguous strip of land from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, running along the Azov and Black Sea coast through Ukrainian Kherson and Odesa, and from there to Transnistria. In February 2023, Moldova’s democratically-elected President warned that Russia was planning a coup amid various protests and provocations that Moldovan and Ukrainian intelligence said were backed by the Kremlin.
Systemic corruption by Moldovan oligarchs has impacted several of Moldova’s political and economic institutions, which have then been used as instruments of Russia’s malign influence campaign in Moldova and beyond. Russia seeks to hinder the democratic reforms that the current government of Moldova is pursuing as it seeks EU membership. This includes ongoing violations of human rights.
On May 30, 2023, the Special Economic Measures (Moldova) Regulations came into force. The Regulations include seven (7) individuals and one (1) entity to the Schedule of the Regulations, who are subject to a broad dealings ban. They are Moldovan oligarchs, business people, parliamentarians and politicians connected to Russia. The entity is a political party closely connected to one of the individuals who is sanctioned as part of these Regulations.
Regulations and Orders made under the Special Economic Measures Act:
- Justice Canada consolidation of the Special Economic Measures (Moldova) Regulations
- 2023-08-04 (Entered into force) - Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Special Economic Measures Act (SOR/2023-175)
- 2023-05-30 (Entered into force) - Special Economic Measures (Moldova) Regulations (SOR/2023-109)
- 2023-05-30 (Entered into force) - Special Economic Measures (Moldova) Permit Authorization Order (SOR/2023-110)
Announcements related to the Regulations made under the Special Economic Measures Act:
- 2023-06-01 - News release - Canada announces sanctions against Russian collaborators in Moldova
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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