During the first half of August, Canada has amended 13 sanctions regulations enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act (the “SEMA”) to broaden the scope of individuals who may be subject to sanctions under these sanctions regimes. In addition, Canada has issued new sanctions against Iran and Belarus, and has added three Lebanese individuals to the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (the “Sergei Magnitsky Law”). These changes are addressed below.
Changes to the Definition of “Listed” or “Designated” Individual
On August 4, 2023, Canada amended 13 sanctions regulations enacted under the SEMA to change the definition of a “designated” or “listed” person. These amendments follow amendments to the SEMA as part of Bill C-47, which broadened the scope of who may be subject to sanctions restrictions to include any person “outside Canada who is not Canadian”. Bill C-47 received Royal Assent in June 2023.
Prior to those amendments, only individuals who are “a national of” the sanctioned country could be subject to sanctions under those regulations. As of August 4, 2023, designated or listed persons under those regulations now include a person who “is or was a national of” the subject country. Prior to this change, Regulations under the SEMA defined a designated or listed person as a someone who “is a national of” the subject country.
These amendments effectively broadened the scope of the regulations, allowing Canada to sanction individuals who were nationals of a sanctioned country and who have since changed nationality.
Amendments to the Iran Regulations
On August 8, 2023, Canada announced additional sanctions under the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations (the “Iran Regulations”). These new sanctions, effective retroactively as of August 4, 2023, target seven individuals “involved in activities that gravely threaten international peace and security or that constitute gross and systemic violations of human rights in Iran”. These sanctions are part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to “press the Iranian regime to address the legitimate grievances and interests of its citizens and impose costs for its destabilizing behaviour abroad”.
This is the thirteenth round of sanctions imposed by Canada against Iran since October 2022. To date, Canada has sanctioned 170 individuals under Schedule 1 of the Iran Regulations. These measures have the effect of freezing any assets listed individuals hold in Canada, and also prohibit listed individuals from entering into Canada.
Amendments to the Belarus Regulations
On August 4, 2023, Canada amended the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations (the “Belarus Regulations”) to “mark the passing of three years since the fraudulent presidential election in Belarus”. Canada has added nine individuals who are “are government officials, judges and family members of currently listed individuals” and seven entities who “are government ministries and military manufacturing and technology companies” to Schedule 1 of the Belarus Regulations.
Amendments to the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations Targeting Lebanese Nationals
On August 10, 2023, Canada announced new sanctions under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (the “Sergei Magnitsky Law”), targeting three Lebanese individuals. These sanctions, effective retroactively as of August 4, 2023, target Lebanese nationals “who in the opinion of the Governor in Council, were involved in acts of significant corruption, including the misappropriation of public assets for personal gain and the transfer of the proceeds of corruption to foreign States”.
These sanctions follow “the third anniversary of the explosion at the Port of Beirut” and were made “in coordination with the United Kingdom and the United States”. To date, there are 73 individuals listed under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations
Our team will continue to closely monitor new developments in Canada’s sanctions regimes, providing updates to keep clients informed. We have significant experience in the design and implementation of sanctions-related compliance programs and internal investigations. Where breaches are identified, we work closely with clients in making voluntary disclosures and in engaging with the ensuing investigations conducted by the RCMP and Global Affairs Canada. We also regularly assist clients with the application for delisting process as well as applications for permits.