Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations: SOR/2021-184

Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 155, Number 17

SOR/2021-184 August 6, 2021


P.C. 2021-826 August 6, 2021

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

Therefore, Her Excellency the Governor General 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 (Belarus) Regulations.

Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations


1 The portion of section 2 of the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations footnote 1 before paragraph (a) is amended by replacing “the schedule” with “Schedule 1”.

2 The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 3:

Transferable securities and money market instruments

3.1 It is prohibited for any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada to, directly or indirectly, deal in transferable securities and money market instruments, including treasury bills, certificates of deposit and commercial papers but not including instruments of payment, issued by

Debt financing — 90 days

3.2 It is prohibited for any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada to, directly or indirectly, transact in, provide financing for or otherwise deal in debt of longer than 90 days’ maturity, including bonds, loans, debentures, extensions of credit, loan guarantees, letters of credit, bank drafts, bankers’ acceptances, discount notes, treasury bills, commercial paper and other similar instruments in relation to

Insurance and reinsurance

3.3 It is prohibited for any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada to, directly or indirectly, provide insurance or reinsurance to

Petroleum products

3.4 It is prohibited for any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada

Potassium chloride

3.5 It is prohibited for any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada to import, purchase, acquire, ship or otherwise deal in any good referred to in Part 2 of Schedule 2, wherever situated, that is exported from Belarus.

3 The portion of section 4 of the Regulations before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

(1) Sections 3 to 3.5 do not apply in respect of

4 Section 8 of the English version of the Regulations is amended by replacing “the schedule” with “Schedule 1”.

5 The schedule to the Regulations is numbered as Schedule 1.

6 The Regulations are amended by adding, after Schedule 1, the Schedule 2 set out in the schedule to these Regulations.

Transitional Provisions

7 Sections 3.1 to 3.3 of the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations, enacted by section 2, do not apply in respect of activities that were undertaken before the day on which this section comes into force.

8 Sections 3.4 and 3.5 of the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations, enacted by section 2, do not apply to goods or services if a contract for the import, purchase, acquisition or shipment of or other dealing with the goods or for the provision of the services is entered into before the day on which this section comes into force.

Application Before Publication

9 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

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


(Section 4)


(Paragraph 3.4(a) and section 3.5)



Petroleum Products


Potassium Chloride


(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)


In August 2020, following a fraudulent presidential election marred by significant irregularities, ensuing public protests in Belarus against the national government were brutally suppressed by government security forces resulting in gross and systematic human rights violations. In the year since, the Belarusian authorities have continued to employ aggressive rhetoric towards the opposition, refused to engage in dialogue, and rejected calls for the holding of new presidential elections. Human rights violations continue and there has been no accountability for past or current violations. In recent months, actions targeting opposition voices and the media have become more brazen. Canada and its like-minded international partners have repeatedly condemned the actions of the Belarusian authorities and their treatment of opposition voices.


On August 9, 2020, the Republic of Belarus held presidential elections marred by widespread irregularities. Under the direction of Alexander Lukashenko, the Government of Belarus led a systematic campaign of repression during the lead up to the vote and through the conduct of the election itself, and used state-sponsored violence against the people of Belarus in an effort to suppress anti-government protests. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Viasna Human Rights Centre, along with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, all reported numerous human rights violations.

The Government of Belarus has continued to commit gross and systematic human rights violations in the year since the election. These include prolonged arbitrary detentions, brutality, intimidation, and the excessive use of force against peaceful protestors. Arbitrary arrests continue. In addition, there are undue restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and freedom of association. Human rights observers identified an escalation in the scale of repression against independent journalists in 2021, including arbitrary detention, the imposition of fines and prison sentences, loss of media credentials and police raids. On May 23, 2021, the Government of Belarus orchestrated an event that was a significant and dangerous escalation in its attacks on opposition voices. Ryanair flight 4978, flying between Athens (Greece) and Vilnius (Lithuania), was diverted to Minsk National Airport at the behest of the Belarusian aviation authorities. The diversion was requested on the premise of a possible bomb threat on board, which turned out to be unsubstantiated. Upon landing in Minsk, two passengers, Belarusian journalist and activist Roman Protasevich and his Russian companion Sofia Sapega, were removed from the flight. They remain under house arrest as of July 2021.

In July 2021, raids were conducted on the homes and offices of a number of Belarus human rights organizations and their staff. Later that month, the government moved to disband a number of civil society groups working on human rights issues. There have been more than 35 000 people detained since August 2020, and more than 500 detainees related to political protests were being held as of late July 2021.

There is no indication that the Government of Belarus is genuinely committed to finding a negotiated solution with opposition groups, nor in ensuring accountability for those responsible for gross and systematic human rights violations. Appropriate steps to restore democratic rights or to address ongoing human rights violations have also not been taken.

Canada has been strongly engaged in the situation in Belarus, directly with the Government of Belarus and with international partners, as well as in multilateral forums, such as at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Media Freedom Coalition and the Freedom Online Coalition. On September 29, 2020, Canada, in coordination with the United Kingdom, announced sanctions against 11 Belarusian officials via the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations (the Regulations). On October 15, 2020, Canada, in coordination with the European Union, announced further sanctions against an additional 31 Belarusian officials via the Regulations. On November 6, 2020, additional sanctions were announced against another 13 Belarusian officials also in alignment with the European Union. On June 21, 2021, Canada, in coordination with the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, announced sanctions against 17 individuals and 5 entities under the Regulations. To date, Canada has sanctioned 72 individuals and 5 entities in relation to events in Belarus.

The Regulations prohibit persons (individuals and entities) in Canada and Canadians outside Canada from conducting the following activities with listed individuals:

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 listed individuals are inadmissible to Canada.

The Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Permit Authorization Order (the Order) was also made to authorize the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue to any individual or entity in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada a permit to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or any class of activity or transaction, that is otherwise restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Regulations.



The Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations (the amendments) add prohibitions on the import, purchase or transfer of certain petroleum products and potassium chloride products and restrictions on certain services related to securities and money-market instruments, loans and insurance. These sectors are being targeted due to their importance to the Belarusian economy and Aleksander Lukashenko’s administration, thereby increasing pressure on the Government of Belarus to change its behaviour and cease gross and systematic human rights violations that continue to take place at the hands of the State with impunity.

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 the amendments, public consultations would not have been appropriate, as publicizing the new prohibitions would have disclosed confidential communication with foreign states and could reasonably have been expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs.

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 amendments 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

Application of economic sanctions will serve to increase pressure on the Government of Belarus to change its behaviour. These new sanctions communicate a clear message that Canada will not accept that gross and systematic human rights violations continue to take place in Belarus at the hands of the State with impunity. As efforts to date have not convinced the Government of Belarus to accept accountability for human rights violations nor to fully implement agreements stemming from the negotiation process with opposition groups, sanctions that aim to have a broad impact send an important message from Canada.

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.

The amendments will create additional compliance costs for businesses seeking permits that would authorize them to carry out specified activities or transactions that are otherwise prohibited. However, costs will likely be low, as Canadian businesses have limited dealings in these sectors.

Small business lens

As it is unlikely that Canadian businesses have dealings in these sectors, no significant loss of opportunities for small businesses is expected as a result of the amendments.

To facilitate compliance by small businesses, Global Affairs Canada is in the process of conducting enhanced outreach with stakeholders to better inform them of the changes to the Regulations. 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 amendments, as they do not impose an incremental administrative burden on businesses.

Regulatory cooperation and alignment

While the amendments 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 amendments 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+)

Exceptions are included in the Regulations, including, among others, 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 Order. As such, these new sanctions are likely to have limited impact on the citizens of Belarus.

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 (Belarus) 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