Amendments Introduced to Canadian Sanctions Legislation

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Effective June 1, 2020, the Government of Canada introduced amendments to several regulations made under the United Nations Act (Canada) (UN Act). The UN Act enacts into Canadian law sanctions adopted by the United Nations Security Council (Security Council). The sanctions imposed under the UN Act regulations vary depending on the target jurisdiction or group and generally include arms embargoes, trade restrictions and prohibitions against providing financial services or technical assistance in respect of such covered activities. In addition, the UN Act regulations prohibit dealings with persons designated under the Security Council resolutions or their property.

The regulations that have been amended are listed below:

  • United Nations Al-Qaida and Taliban Regulations (Al-Qaida and Taliban Regulations)

  • Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on the Central African Republic (CAR Regulations)

  • United Nations Democratic Republic of the Congo Regulations

  • Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on Eritrea (Eritrea Regulations)

  • Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) (North Korea Regulations)

  • Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on Somalia (Somalia Regulations)

  • Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on South Sudan (South Sudan Regulations)

  • United Nations Sudan Regulations (Sudan Regulations)

The amendments implement recent resolutions of the Security Council and address certain miscellaneous comments raised by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. The bulk of the amendments relate to arms and related materials, military activities and transport restrictions. A number of changes are made to harmonize the language used across regulations. Other key changes are summarized below.


The scope of the sanctions framework in the Al-Qaida and Taliban Regulations has been expanded to explicitly include reference to ISIL (Da’esh). To reflect this change, the Al-Qaida and Taliban Regulations have been renamed as the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on Taliban, ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida.


The Eritrea Regulations have been repealed following the Security Council’s decision to lift the sanctions against Eritrea.


The North Korea Regulations have been amended to, among other things, include a prohibition on knowingly selling, leasing or otherwise making available real property to North Korea, a national or any person acting on behalf or at the direction of North Korea or a national. There is an exemption for property located in Canada that is used exclusively for diplomatic or consular activities. The purpose of this change was to prevent the use of such property by North Korea to generate income for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The prohibition against opening a new branch in North Korea has also been expanded to include a new office, subsidiary or bank account in North Korea.


The amendments introduce a prohibition on acquiring any financial or related services from a designated person, a person acting on behalf of or at the direction of a designated person, or an entity that is owned, held or controlled by a designated person. This prohibition also applies to a dealing of any property in Canada that is owned, held or controlled by a designated person or by a person acting on behalf of, or at the direction of, a designated person. These prohibitions are worded slightly differently across regulations and are reflected as extensions to the existing prohibitions against providing financial or related services to a designated person.


The amendments introduce and amend provisions that allow for the disclosure of personal information by officials and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to comply with requests from the Security Council.


The amendments introduce various exceptions, most of which relate to the embargoes on arms and related material, military activities and transport. The CAR Regulations, Somalia Regulations, South Sudan Regulations and Sudan Regulations have been amended to allow the payment of interest or other earnings to a designated person if the payment resulted from a dealing or transaction that occurred prior to the person’s status as a designated person and the amount paid is frozen in accordance with the regulations.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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