Since 2005, a political action campaign referred to as the
"Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" movement (BDS
Movement) has drawn public attention to the issue of
Israeli-Palestinian relations. The BDS Movement promotes a variety
of actions that are intended to restrict trade with Israel,
including by targeting companies affiliated with or engaged in
trade with Israel or Israeli businesses.
Businesses should be aware of existing and proposed Canadian and
American legislation that potentially prohibits certain types of
action endorsed by the BDS Movement.
CANADIAN ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS
Both Ontario and Manitoba have legislation that prohibits
discriminatory business activity on the basis of nationality, among
other grounds: see Discriminatory Business Practices Act
(Ontario), and The Discriminatory Business Practices Act
(Manitoba). This legislation predates the BDS Movement and was
introduced in the 1970s in response to the Arab League boycott of
Under these statutes, a person engaged in business may not
discriminate on the basis of the nationality of another person. For
corporations, this includes discrimination on the basis of the
nationality of any of its officers, directors or shareholders. The
legislation prohibits entering into any contract that includes a
provision that one of the parties to the contract will refuse to
engage in business with any other person on the basis of certain
attributes, including nationality. Thus, businesses in Ontario and
Manitoba cannot contractually agree not to do business with Israel
There are mandatory reporting requirements for any person asked
to participate in prohibited activities. There are also potentially
serious sanctions for companies as well as their officers,
directors and agents personally for failure to comply with these
laws. Additionally, the statutes create the risk of civil liability
from claims by affected parties by creating a new cause of action.
Both the Ontario and Manitoba Acts allow for the imposition of a
ban of up to five years on doing business with the respective
provincial governments on any company convicted or held to be
violating the statutes.
At the federal level in Canada, recent announcements suggest an
increased focus by the government on the BDS Movement.
In January 2015, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and
Development Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State
of Israel announced a Memorandum of Understanding. Signed
by the Foreign Ministers of Canada and Israel, the memorandum
includes a commitment to develop "a coordinated, public
diplomacy initiative both bilaterally and in international and
multilateral fora to oppose boycotts of Israel, its institutions,
and its people" within the next three to six months.
The memorandum follows the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding between
Canada and Israel regarding a Canada-Israel Strategic Partnership,
executed during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit
to Israel. The 2014 memorandum calls for closer diplomatic and
political ties between the two countries.
AMERICAN ANTIBOYCOTT LAWS
There is existing legislation in the United States that
restricts the ability of U.S. citizens to comply with other
nations' economic boycotts or embargoes. The so-called
"antiboycott" laws date from the 1970s. One aspect of
these laws is a mandatory requirement for U.S. persons to report
any requests to comply with an unsanctioned foreign boycott.
Proposed legislation has been introduced recently in the U.S.
House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate to expand the scope
of that country's anti-boycott laws. Of particular note is that
the amendments proposed in the House of Representatives would
require foreign companies whose shares are traded on U.S. exchanges
to report their compliance to the American government.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Please join members of the Blakes Commercial Real Estate group as they discuss five key provisions of a commercial real estate purchase agreement that are often the subject of much negotiation but are sometimes misunderstood.
Emotional culture is influenced in great part by the mindset and actions of leadership, although employees also play more of a role than they may realize in creating the culture that exists in the group.
The session will be led by Dr. Robert Brooks, an award-winning author and psychologist. In his presentation, Dr. Brooks will describe the mindset and realistic practices of leaders and staff that help to nurture and sustain a culture characterized by positive emotions, satisfying, respectful relationships, a sense of meaning and ownership for one’s work, and enhanced job performance. Examples will be offered to illustrate strategies for developing a positive emotional culture in an organization.
Join leading lawyers from the Blakes Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation group as they discuss recent updates and legal developments in pension and employee benefits law as well as strategies to identify and minimize common risks.
While that agreement mandated export measures on Canadian softwood lumber exports destined for the United States, it also protected those lumber exports from the potential imposition of onerous import measures by the U.S.
On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its first tariff classification decision since Canada signed the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System in 1998.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).