Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations: SOR/2021-48

Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 155, Number 7

SOR/2021-48 March 21, 2021


P.C. 2021-175 March 21, 2021

Whereas the Administrator in Council is of the opinion that gross and systematic human rights violations have been committed in Russia;

Therefore, His Excellency the Administrator of the Government of Canada in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to subsections 4(1) footnote a, (1.1) footnote b, (2) and (3) of the Special Economic Measures Act footnote c, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations.

Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations


1 (1) Section 2 of the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations footnote 1 is amended by adding the following after paragraph (a):

(2) Paragraphs 2(c) and (d) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

2 Section 2.1 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Schedules 2 and 3

2.1 A person whose name is listed in Schedule 2 or 3 is a person in respect of whom the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe is a person owned or controlled by, or acting on behalf of, a person described in any of paragraphs 2(a) to (b).

3 Item 44 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

4 Item 50 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Regulations is replaced by the following:

5 Schedule 1 to the Regulations is amended by adding the following after Part 1:

PART 1.1

Individuals — Gross Human Rights Violations

Application Before Publication

6 For the purpose of paragraph 11(2)(a) of the Statutory Instruments Act, these Regulations apply according to their terms before they are published in the Canada Gazette.

Coming into Force

7 These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.


(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)


In recent months, Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has been attacked with a chemical agent, subjected to a deeply flawed judicial process, and imprisoned for over two years on dubious grounds. While his case has been particularly egregious and received significant international attention, his is not the only case of targeted repression by the Russian state. It is an example of Russia's deepening authoritarianism, a distinct pattern of behaviour whereby the Russian government has attacked opposition figures and repressed internal dissent. International human rights organizations have noted that Russia's human rights record has continued to deteriorate in recent years.

Russia has resisted all calls to undertake an investigation into Mr. Navalny's poisoning and engaged in significant disinformation campaigns to deflect attention from its culpability. The Russian government has also demonstrated no willingness to address concerns raised repeatedly by the international community on the human rights situation as a whole in that country.


In August 2020, prominent opposition figure and Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok-type chemical nerve agent, which was almost fatal and required months of recovery in a German hospital. This particularly brazen attack, followed by his disturbing treatment by the Russian authorities and the subsequent violent suppression and mass detention of his supporters, brought to the fore a pattern by the Russian government of increasing internal repression and targeting of opposition voices.

Significant open source evidence makes clear that the attack on Mr. Navalny was undertaken with the involvement of the Russian authorities. Russia continues to deny any involvement in the attack, and has actively promulgated false and contradictory narratives as alternatives. The Russian government has also refused all calls for an investigation into the incident.

Following Mr. Navalny's return to Russia on January 17, 2021, from his treatment and recovery in Berlin, he was detained for violating the terms of a 2014 suspended jail sentence. The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights noted that the judgment “defie[d] all credibility and contravene[d] Russia's international human rights obligations,” adding that the original criminal conviction had been found to be “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable” by the European Court of Human Rights. Mr. Navalny was sentenced to two years and nine months in a penal colony for violating the terms of his parole while seeking treatment in Germany. This verdict prompted thousands of protesters to take to the street to demand his release in January 2021. In response, Russian law enforcement violently suppressed the demonstrations and detained over 10 000 people for participating in the protests.

Mr. Navalny is not the only individual to have been targeted by the regime for opposition activities. Russia has a demonstrated history of human rights violations, targeting political opponents and critics, and repressing internal dissent, sometimes violently. International and local human rights groups cite reports of multiple incidents of mistreatment committed by law enforcement and correctional bodies, including physical abuse of detainees at the hands of the police, torture or severe mistreatment of inmates in prison colonies, and detention of individuals for association with opposition organizations.

Civil society space in Russia has continued to shrink, and legal efforts continue to target human rights defenders. The situation for LGBT individuals and activists in Chechnya is particularly disturbing. As detailed in a 2018 report prepared under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), authorities there had carried out torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and other very serious human rights violations and abuses against members of the LGBT community, human rights defenders, lawyers, independent media, and civil society organizations. In May of 2020, Canada, the United States and 14 European states delivered a statement to the OSCE stating that the authorities had failed to address the concerns raised.

The Russian government is also using legislative measures to suppress opposition voices. In late December 2020, President Putin signed a large number of bills into law, including restrictions on protests, online information, and on individuals and organizations receiving funds from foreign sources for their activities. Aggressive state-driven media campaigns discredit the work of civil society, and attacks on civil society actors, as in previous years, remain frequent.

The Russian government has also made it clear it is unwilling to engage with the concerns of the international community on these issues. In early February 2021, three diplomats were expelled from the country after having observed the public reactions to Mr. Navalny's treatment.

The murder attempt, sentencing and imprisonment of Alexey Navalny demonstrates the Russian government's ongoing contempt for the values of rule of law and willingness to violate the human rights of its citizens. It is one example of a pattern of behaviour which suggests that Russia will continue to target opposition voices and those it deems to be threatening.

Canada has consistently voiced its condemnation over this latest example of Russia's disregard for human rights and international law. In addition to a statement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs on September 2, 2020, Canada has also joined statements by the G7 and North Atlantic Council condemning the actions.



The Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations (the Regulations) will list nine individuals in a new part of the existing Schedule 1 to the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations, specifically for individuals who have participated in gross and systematic human rights violations, and prohibit persons (individuals and entities) in Canada and Canadians outside Canada from conducting the following activities:

Consequential to being listed in the Regulations, and pursuant to the application of paragraph 35(1)(d) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the nine listed individuals are inadmissible to Canada.

Regulatory development


Global Affairs Canada engages regularly with relevant stakeholders, including civil society organizations and cultural communities and other like-minded governments, regarding Canada's approach to sanctions implementation.

With respect to this specific proposal, public consultation would not have been appropriate, as publicizing the names of the listed persons targeted by sanctions would have likely resulted in asset flight prior to the coming into force of the Regulations.

Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation

An initial assessment of the geographical scope of the initiative was conducted and did not identify any modern treaty obligations, as the Regulations do not take effect in a modern treaty area.

Instrument choice

Regulations are the sole method to enact sanctions in Canada. No other instrument could be considered.

Regulatory analysis

Benefits and costs

The application of sanctions will serve to put pressure on the Government of Russia to change its behaviour. The sanctions communicate a clear message that Canada will not accept that gross and systematic human rights violations continue to take place in Russia at the hands of the State with impunity. As efforts to date, including diplomatic engagement both bilaterally and in multilateral forums, have not convinced the Government of Russia to accept accountability for human rights violations, sanctions send an important message from Canada that consequences will apply.

Canadian banks and financial institutions are required to comply with the sanctions. They will do so by adding the new prohibitions to their existing monitoring systems, which may result in a minor compliance cost.

Small business lens

As it is unlikely that Canadian businesses have dealings with the newly listed persons, no significant loss of opportunities for small businesses is expected as a result of the Regulations.

To facilitate compliance with the Regulations by small businesses, Global Affairs Canada is in the process of conducting enhanced outreach with stakeholders to better inform them of the amendments being made. This includes updates to the sanctions website as well as the creation of the sanctions hotline. In addition, the Trade Commissioner Service is engaged in implementing Canada's Trade Diversification Strategy, which will support Canadian companies seeking to find alternative export markets.

One-for-one rule

The one-for-one rule does not apply to the Regulations, as they do not impose an incremental administrative burden on businesses.

Regulatory cooperation and alignment

While the Regulations are not related to a work plan or commitment under a formal regulatory cooperation forum, they align with actions taken by like-minded partners.

Strategic environmental assessment

The Regulations are unlikely to result in important environmental effects. In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a preliminary scan concluded that a strategic environmental assessment is not required.

Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+)

The focus of the amendments is on specific individuals who are members of the Government of Russia and/or persons engaged in activities that contribute to human rights violations in Russia, rather than on Russia as a whole. This results in minimizing collateral effects to those dependent on those individuals.

Exemptions are included in the Regulations, including to allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to provide some mitigation of the impact of sanctions on vulnerable groups. The Minister of Foreign Affairs can also issue permits pursuant to the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Permit Authorization Order. Therefore, these new sanctions are likely to have limited impact on the citizens of Russia.

Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards

Canada's sanctions regulations are enforced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency. In accordance with section 8 of the Special Economic Measures Act, every person who willfully contravenes the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations is liable, upon summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both; or, upon conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term or not more than five years.


Alison Grant
Eastern Europe and Eurasia Relations Division
Telephone: 343‑203‑3603