Sanctions laws in Canada 

Things to know

  • Canada has a broad range of economic sanctions laws that apply to all individuals and businesses in Canada and to all Canadian citizens and Canadian businesses doing business outside Canada. These laws are included in a number of different statutes and regulations including the Criminal Code, United Nations Act, Special Economic Measures Act, Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Actand Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act. 
  • Given that many Canadian businesses have dealings with other businesses outside Canada (e.g., as customers or suppliers), it is important to understand, and comply with, the applicable sanctions laws that may apply to your business. 
  • Broadly speaking, the Canadian sanction laws: (i) prohibit all individuals and businesses from dealing with designated persons (e.g., listed on government lists, U.N. lists, etc.), jurisdictions (e.g., North Korea) or within specific sectors (e.g., arms; nuclear materials; certain chemicals), and (ii) impose screening, reporting and asset-freeze obligations on regulated financial institutions as well as other prescribed businesses. 
  • The Canadian sanctions law provide exemptions for the export of certain goods. Canada’s export laws should also be reviewed to confirm relevant prohibitions and exemptions.

Things to do


  • Review your business activities and confirm the scope of restrictions and obligations that apply to you. For example, if you are a prescribed business under the Canadian sanctions laws, you would be subject to a broad range of obligations, including those relating to screening, reporting and asset-freeze obligations. 
  • Monitor regulatory developments. The Canadian laws are in flux and are expected to be expanded in scope to cover additional businesses and activities. In addition, the Canadian government is under pressure to keep its sanctions laws up to date with international standards and we expect more strict requirements and enforcement to apply in the coming years. 


  • To mitigate the risk of corporate criminal liability, damage to reputation and fines, you need to have a robust compliance program that meets the regulatory requirements and expectations. 
  • If you have a compliance program in place already, you should carefully review your program to confirm that it meets the regulatory requirements and expectations. 
  • You should carefully review your business activities and arrangements with third parties to mitigate the risk of non-compliance.

Canada Company Registration

Company Formations Canada offers fast and easy company registration in Canada for non-Canadian residents and foreign companies wishing to operate and do business in Canada.

Register a new company in Canada as a non-Canadian resident

Register a foreign company in Canada

Canada Registered agent services for foreign companies and non-Canadian residents.

Canada Nominee director services for foreign companies and non-Canadian residents.

Shared from: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt llp Publication

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