Canadian Sanctions Related to Myanmar

Types of sanctions

Arms embargo

Asset freeze

Technical assistance prohibition

Recent developments

  • 2019-03-04 - Regulations were amended
  • 2018-06-25 - Regulations were amended
  • 2012-04-24 - Regulations were amended
Do you need a permit or certificate?

Prohibitions

Sanctions related to Myanmar were enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act to respond to the human rights and humanitarian situation in Myanmar. On December 13, 2007, the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations came into force.

The measures implemented by the Regulations, as amended, include:

  • a freeze on assets in Canada of any designated Myanmar nationals connected with the Myanmar State, as well as prohibitions on several categories of transactions, services and dealings involving property of designated persons, wherever situated; and
  • an arms embargo, including prohibitions on exporting and importing arms and related material to and from Myanmar, on communicating technical data related to military activities or arms and related material, and on financial services related to military activities or arms and related material.

Exceptions

The Regulations provide for certain exclusions to the above measures, including:

  • some payments required under contracts entered into before a party was designated under the Regulations;
  • dealings related to humanitarian or development assistance;
  • dealings required to move financial assets away from designated persons; and
  • certain protective or non-lethal military clothing and equipment when intended for use by media, humanitarian, human rights or other listed personnel.

Permits and Certificates

A separate Special Economic Measures (Burma) Permit Authorization Order (SOR/2007-286), 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 restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Regulations.

Background

On December 13, 2007, the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations came into force in order to respond to the gravity of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Myanmar, which threatened peace and security in the entire region.

Following seemingly positive developments in Myanmar in 2010, including progress towards democracy and improvements to the human rights situation, Canada eased its economic sanctions against Myanmar on April 24, 2012. Most prohibitions under the Special Economic Measures Act were suspended, including most of those pertaining to exports, imports, financial services and investment.

However, Canada maintained sanctions against certain listed individuals and entities, which are still in place today. A trade embargo on arms and related material, as well as on related technical and financial assistance, also remains in place.

Stemming from a spike in violence, including significant and widespread security and “clearing operations” by Myanmar’s armed forces, over 740,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 2017.This conflict has resulted in widespread and significant needs in both Myanmar and Bangladesh.

As a result of the crisis, in October 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed the Honourable Bob Rae as Special Envoy to Myanmar. In April 2018, Mr. Rae submitted his final report outlining 17 recommendations for Canadian action. In May 2018, the Government of Canada released Canada’s Strategy to respond to the Rohingya Crisis, informed by Mr. Rae’s report. Both Mr. Rae’s final report and Canada’s Strategy recognized the need for Canada to enhance the effectiveness of targeted sanctions against those who have committed gross human rights violations in the course of the current crisis. The Strategy noted that Canada will continue to work to identify senior military officials in Myanmar with the aim of imposing sanctions for their role in the security operations against the Rohingya.

On June 25, 2018, the Regulations were amended to add seven (7) additional individuals to the Schedule in the Regulations. These individuals are all senior officials in Myanmar’s military who occupied positions of authority during the military operations against the Rohingya in Rakhine State, which led to the current humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Canada continues to review the need for further sanctions as appropriate.

Selected documents

Regulations

Regulations and Orders made under the Special Economic Measures 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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