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Canada to accede to UN Arms Trade Treaty with few changes to current export rules

July 4, 2016

The Government of Canada announced that it plans to accede to the United Nation's Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), without having to change much about the current export control system.

According to Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion, Canada already meets the vast majority of ATT obligations and, in fact, the ATT was designed to bring other countries up to the type of high standard that Canada already applies through its robust export control regime.

The Minister says Canada fully complies with all 28 articles of the treaty but two: articles 7 (about export assessment criteria and over-riding risk test) and 10 (about brokering).

"Article 7 of the ATT requires that each state party take a number of factors into consideration prior to authorizing the export of items covered by the treaty. We already take these factors into account, but this is neither explicit nor formalized in our current export criteria. The government will need to amend the Export and Import Permits Act to make explicit reference to the ATT criteria and to create a legal requirement for any minister of foreign affairs to take them into account as well as outlining a clear policy on overriding risk. We will do that."

"Article 10 of the ATT requires each state to 'regulate brokering taking place under its jurisdiction.' This will be a new regulatory area for Canada and is a good example of where we are adding rigour to the existing program."

Global Affairs Canada will consult with industry and NGOs to determine how to implement brokering controls efficiently.

Minister Dion tabled the Arms Trade Treaty in Parliament. In addition, the Minister tabled the 2014 and 2015 reports on exports of military goods from Canada and the 2014 and 2015 annual reports to Parliament on the administration of the Export and Import Permits Act. A formal bill will be tabled in Parliament following industry consultations.

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