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June 26, 2019

Canada officially joins the international Arms Trade Treaty

The Government of Canada deposited on June 19, 2019 its instrument of accession to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

The Arms Trade Treaty is an international treaty that establishes common standards for the international trade of conventional weapons and seeks to reduce illicit arms trade and human suffering.

The ATT aims to reduce the widespread availability and misuse of weapons due to poorly regulated arms trade. These weapons are often found in areas of conflict and impact directly on security and development. The Treaty aims to ensure that all States demonstrate responsible behaviour while engaging in legitimate arms trade.

By establishing effective export controls, ATT States Parties can reduce arms flows to illicit groups, such as terrorists or criminals, and ensure that their arms export are not used for improper purposes.

In order to join the treaty the Government of Canada enacted Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code in December 2018.

The legislative and regulatory changes will, within other things:

  • establish controls over brokering in military goods between two countries outside of Canada

  • create a legal obligation for the minister of foreign affairs to consider certain assessment criteria before authorizing permits

  • increase the maximum fine from $25,000 to $250,000 for summary conviction offences

Note that the legislative and regulatory changes related to Canada's accession to the ATT will come into effect on September 1, 2019.

Link: Deposition of Canada's instrument of accession to the Arms Trade Treaty

Link: Arms Trade Treaty Regulatory Implementation Package



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