Vol. 149, No. 6 — March 25, 2015
SI/2015-22 March 25, 2015
PROHIBITING CLUSTER MUNITIONS ACT
Order Fixing March 16, 2015 as the Day on which the Act Comes into Force
P.C. 2015-305 March 12, 2015
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to section 24 of the Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act, chapter 27 of the Statutes of Canada, 2014, fixes March 16, 2015 as the day on which that Act comes into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order fixes March 16, 2015, as the day on which the Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act (the Act) comes into force. Section 24 of the Act provides that “[t]he provisions of this Act come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.” The Act received royal assent on November 6, 2014.
The Act satisfies the provisions of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (the Convention) that require domestic legislation. Canada signed the Convention on December 3, 2008, but full conformity, including domestic implementing legislation, must be in place before Canada can become a State Party to the Convention.
The purpose of the Convention is to address the unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions. A cluster munition is a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that typically contains dozens of sub-munitions that can blanket a large area quickly. When sub-munitions fail to explode as intended and remain on the ground, they pose a serious threat to civilians living in the area. They can kill and maim civilians long after conflicts have ended.
Article 9 of the Convention requires ratifying States to take all appropriate legal, administrative and other measures to implement the Convention, including criminalizing any activity prohibited by the Convention that is undertaken by persons in or on territory under the jurisdiction or control of a State Party. The Act implements those parts of the Convention that require penal legislation in Canada.
Section 6 of the Act prohibits the use, development, production, acquisition, possession, import, export, as well as foreign movement for the purpose of transferring ownership and control of cluster munitions. It also prohibits attempting, aiding, abetting, counselling or conspiring to commit any of the offences under the Act, and being an accessory after the fact to any of those offences.
The Convention provides exceptions for the purpose of destroying cluster munitions; for the development of countermeasures and techniques to detect, clear and destroy cluster munitions; for training in these techniques; and for military cooperation and operations with non-party states to the Convention. The prohibitions of the Act are subject to a series of related exceptions set out in sections 7 to 12 of the Act. The military cooperation and operations exception applies only to Canadian military personnel or civilians in the course of military cooperation or combined military operations involving Canada and a non-party state to the Convention. This provision protects Canadian Armed Forces members and certain other individuals from criminal liability for a range of activities undertaken in the course of their professional duties that would otherwise be prohibited.
Bringing the Act into force will enable Canada to become a State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This action is consistent with Canada’s efforts to ensure the safety and security of civilian populations following conflict, including from the indiscriminate effects of explosive remnants of war.
During the legislative process in the House and Senate, parliamentary committees reviewed the legislation and held hearings that included representation by organizations and individuals with expertise or interest in the subject matter.
Senior Policy Officer (Conventional Weapons)
Non-proliferation and Disarmament Division
Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development