On June 30, 2016, Canada's Global Affairs Minister
Dion and International Trade Minister Freeland issued a joint
Press Release that announced that the United Nations
Arms Trade Treaty ("ATT") was tabled in the House of
Commons and that Canada planned to accede to the ATT. Apparently,
the ATT was tabled in the House of Commons two weeks ago. With now
publicity of fanfare, on June 17, 2016, Global Affairs Minister
Dion tabled the ATT in the House of Commons and stated:
Madam Speaker, under the provisions of Standing Order 32(2), I
have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2014 and
2015 reports on exports of military goods from Canada, the 2014 and
2015 annual reports to Parliament on the administration of
the Export and Import Permits Act, and the Arms Trade
Treaty, which was adopted on April 2, 2013, in New York. An
explanatory memorandum is included with this treaty.
The tabling of the ATT was foreshadowed (but not recognized as
imminent) two weeks earlier when on June 6, 2016 Pam
Goldsmith-Jones (Lib. – B.C.) stated:
The government is committed to restoring Canada's role as a
constructive actor on the world stage and to continue to pursue
global security and stability. One component of this will be
Canada's accession to the arms trade treaty, which will take
place at the earliest opportunity. This is yet one more
demonstration of our government's commitment to transparency,
to rigorous export permits, and to vigilance with respect to human
The ATT is an United Nations international treaty that regulates
the international trade in conventional arms and entered into force
on December 24, 2014. Approximately 85 countries have ratified the
ATT and approximately 50 more countries have signed the ATT, but
not yet ratified it. Canada is not listed as a signatory to the ATT
– see status of accessions and ratifications. Canada
plans to ratify the ATT in 2017 after the Canadian legislative
process is complete.
Countries that join the ATT agree to implement the ATT in
domestic laws, which includes enacting certain prohibitions on the
sale of arms. Article 6 establishes the prohibitions on transfers
of conventional arms, ammunition and parts and components (items)
under the ATT. It specifies what does not constitute an acceptable
and responsible arms transfer. Canada currently controls the export
of arms and ammunition in the Export and Import Permits Act and the Export Control List.
Canadian bureaucrats believe that Canada's laws are some of
the most robust in the World in terms of restricting and controls
trade in arms. During the briefing, a Canadian official said:
Canada already has some of the strongest export controls in the
world which means that we already meet the vast majority of the
obligations under the arms trade treaty...
However, the News Releases states that Canada will amend its
The government announced new measures that will allow Canada to
demonstrate compliance with the ATT while enhancing Canada's
already robust export controls. These include new legislative
amendments to regulate arms brokering, measures to formalize the
assessment criteria used by the minister of foreign affairs in
making export permit decisions, and other measures to increase
After Canada ratifies the ATT, there will be a requirement to
prepare detailed annual reports. In order to prepare such reports,
there would need to be an information gathering process. While
Canada has an export permit and import permit regime, certain
transactions with the United States are not captured and the
Controlled Goods Directorate may not cover all domestic
transactions within the scope of the ATT.
The Government of Canada will commence a consultation process.
Canada has a significant military / defence / aerospace / satellite
industry who will be given the opportunity to discuss how
Canada's accession to the ATT may affect them.
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.
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).