Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations: SOR/2022-58

Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 156, Number 7

SOR/2022-58 March 16, 2022


P.C. 2022-255 March 16, 2022

Whereas the Governor in Council is of the opinion that the actions of Belarus constitute a grave breach of international peace and security that has resulted or is likely to result in a serious international crisis;

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 Paragraph 3(e) of the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations footnote 1 is replaced by the following:

2 Part 1.1 of Schedule 1 to the Regulations is amended by adding the following after item 19:

Application Before Publication

3 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

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


(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)


Belarus is supporting the Russian Federation’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.


On August 9, 2020, the Republic of Belarus held presidential elections marred by widespread irregularities. Under the direction of incumbent President 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, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), all reported numerous human rights violations. Since then, numerous reputable human rights organizations, including Viasna Human Rights Centre, have been forced to close.

The Government of Belarus has continued to commit gross and systematic human rights violations since the 2020 presidential 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 proved 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 October 2021, awaiting trial.

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 Cooperation in Europe, Media Freedom Coalition, and Freedom Online Coalition. To date, Canada has sanctioned 115 individuals and 37 entities in relation to events in Belarus, including the implementation of restrictions on certain activities relating to transferable securities and money market instruments, debt financing, insurance and reinsurance, petroleum products, and potassium chloride products. Amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations (the Regulations) have been made on six separate occasions between 2020 and 2022.

The Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Permit Authorization Order, which came into force on October 2, 2020, authorizes the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue to any person in Canada and Canadian outside Canada a permit to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or any class of activity or transaction, that is otherwise prohibited pursuant to the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations.

Since the middle of 2021, there has been a rapprochement between Belarus and Russia. Russia is providing diplomatic, financial, military, media and intelligence support to Belarus. On November 30, 2021, Lukashenko stated that Russia-occupied Crimea became legally a part of Russia in 2014, adding that he planned to visit the peninsula with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This marked a significant shift from its earlier statements.

There has been a significant build-up of Russian troops (estimated at 150 000–190 000), military equipment, and military capabilities in and around Ukraine since fall of 2021, following months of Russian escalatory behaviour. This includes military exercises in Belarus that included the participation of Belarusian Armed Forces. Russia and Belarus held a joint military exercise from February 10 to 20, 2022. However, on February 20, 2022, Russia extended the joint military exercise with Belarus and announced that Russian troops would not leave Belarus. Belarus’s overall relationships with Ukraine, the United States (U.S.), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have also deteriorated, which has led to heightened tensions.

On February 24, 2022, President Putin announced a “special military operation” as Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The invasion began with targeted strikes on key Ukrainian military infrastructure and Russian forces advancing into Ukraine in the north from Russia and Belarus, the east from Russia and the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), and the south from Crimea. Russia’s assault on Ukraine is well under way. On February 27, the Lukashenko regime passed a fraudulent amendment to Belarus’s Constitution removing article 18, which pledged to “make its territory a nuclear-free zone and a neutral state.” This move has paved the way for Belarus to host Russian nuclear weapons. Following the invasion, Belarusian forces were deployed to the border with Ukraine, but have yet to enter Ukraine itself.

International response

Since the beginning of the current crisis, Canada and the international community have been calling on Russia to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and demonstrate transparency in military activities. Diplomatic negotiations have been taking place along several tracks, including via (1) United States–Russia bilateral talks (e.g. the Strategic Stability Dialogue); (2) NATO; (3) OSCE; and (4) the Normandy Four format (Ukraine, Russia, Germany, France) for the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

On February 21, 2022, G7 Foreign Affairs ministers released a statement condemning Russian recognition of the so-called LNR and DNR regions and stating that they were preparing to step up restrictive measures to respond to Russia’s actions, while reaffirming their unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. G7 Foreign Affairs ministers also reconfirmed their support for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine. This follows a similar statement made in December 2021, and another by NATO Foreign Affairs ministers in January 2022. Canada and the G7 have also called on Belarus to end its support for the Russian invasion.

Canada is closely coordinating with allies. The U.S., the United Kingdom, the European Union (EU) and other allies have mentioned their support or have already announced sanctions in response to the Russian military attack in Ukraine, including via Belarus.


  1. Impose costs on Belarus for its support of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine.
  2. Stress that Canada does not recognize the independence or sovereignty of the so-called LNR and DNR nor Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and military seizure of other regions of the country with the help of Belarus, as they are integral parts of Ukraine.
  3. Align with actions taken by international partners to underscore continued unity with Canada’s allies and partners in responding to Russia’s and Belarus’s actions in Ukraine.


The Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations (the amendments) add 22 new individuals to Part 1.1 of Schedule 1 of the Regulations, thereby subjecting them to a broad dealings ban. These individuals are senior officials of the Ministry of Defence of the Government of Belarus.

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 consultation would not have been appropriate, given the urgency to impose these measures in response to the ongoing breach of international peace and security in Ukraine.

Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation

An initial assessment of the geographical scope of the amendments 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

Sanctions targeting specific persons have less impact on Canadian businesses than traditional broad-based economic sanctions, and the amendments will have limited impact on the citizens of the country of the listed persons. It is likely that the newly listed individuals have limited linkages with Canada, and therefore do not have business dealings that are significant to the Canadian economy.

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

The amendments will create additional costs for businesses seeking permits that would authorize them to carry out specified activities or transactions that are otherwise prohibited.

Small business lens

The amendments potentially create additional costs for small 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 it is unlikely that Canadian small businesses have or will have dealings with the newly listed individuals. No significant loss of opportunities for small businesses is expected as a result of the amendments.

One-for-one rule

As there are no administrative costs associated with these regulatory amendments, the one-for-one rule does not apply.

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+)

The subject of economic sanctions has previously been assessed for effects on gender and diversity. Although intended to facilitate a change in behaviour through economic pressure on individuals and entities in foreign states, sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act can nevertheless have an unintended impact on certain vulnerable groups and individuals. Rather than affecting Belarus as a whole, these targeted sanctions impact individuals and entities believed to be engaged in activities that directly or indirectly support, provide funding for or contribute to a violation of the sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine. Therefore, these sanctions are unlikely to have a significant impact on vulnerable groups, as compared to traditional broad-based economic sanctions directed toward a state, and limit the collateral effects to those dependent on those targeted individuals.


The amendments are a direct response of the involvement of the Government of Belarus and the Belarusian Armed Forces in the February 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine, which continues Russia’s and Belarus’s blatant violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, international law and principles. Belarus has made itself complicit in these actions through its support of Russia. In coordination with actions being taken by allies, the amendments seek to impose direct economic costs on influential Belarusian individuals and entities, and signal Canada’s strong condemnation of Belarus’s involvement in Russia’s latest violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards

The names of the listed individuals will be available online for financial institutions to review and will be added to the Consolidated Canadian Autonomous Sanctions List. This will help to facilitate compliance with the amendments.

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 knowingly contravenes or fails to comply with 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 of not more than five years.


Andrew Turner
Eastern Europe and Eurasia Relations Division
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G2
Telephone: 343‑203‑3603