Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations: SOR/2022-240

Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 156, Number 25

SOR/2022-240 November 17, 2022


P.C. 2022-1213 November 17, 2022

Whereas the Governor in Council is of the opinion that the actions of the Republic 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, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations under subsections 4(1)footnote a, (1.1)footnote b, (2)footnote c and (3) of the Special Economic Measures Act footnote d.

Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations


1 Part 1.1 of Schedule 1 to the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations footnote 1 is amended by adding the following in numerical order:

2 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Regulations is amended by adding the following in numerical order:

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 issued a bomb threat under a false pretext to justify the diversion of Ryanair flight 4978 to Minsk to arrest dissident Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich and his Russian spouse, who remain under house arrest. A majority on the UN Security Council condemned this action on October 31, 2022.

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.

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 Belarus’s earlier statements.

In late fall of 2021, after months of escalatory behaviour, Russia began massing troops, military equipment and military capabilities on Ukraine’s borders and around Ukraine. The build-up lasted into February 2022, eventually totalling 150 000–190 000 troops. This included 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, 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. 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 and NATO leaders continue to be united in promising significant consequences for Russia. Canada and the G7 have also called on Belarus to end its support for the Russian invasion.

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

Canada’s response

Canada continues to condemn strongly Russia’s behaviour toward Ukraine. Canada has announced several contributions to support Ukraine, including humanitarian, development, resilience, security, human rights and stabilization programming in Ukraine. This represents over $600 million since January 2022. To support Ukraine’s economic resilience, Canada also offered up to $1.45 billion in additional loan resources to the Ukrainian government through a new Administered Account for Ukraine at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which have been fully disbursed.

Canada also sent weapons, such as rocket launchers, hand grenades, anti-armour weapons, and ammunition, to support Ukraine. These contributions are in addition to more than $57 million in military equipment that Canada has provided Ukraine from 2015 to 2021, and the expansion of Canada’s commitment to Operation REASSURANCE, the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

Since February 24, 2022, the Government of Canada has enacted a number of punitive measures, and imposed severe extensive economic sanctions, against Russia for its war of aggression against Ukraine, and against Belarus for its support of Russia’s war. Since the start of the crisis, under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA), Canada has sanctioned over 1 400 individuals and entities in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. This has included senior members of the Belarusian government, senior military officials, and oligarchs and their family members.

Canada also implemented measures to pressure the Belarusian economy and limit Belarus’s trade with and from Canada by revoking Belarus’s Most Favoured Nation status and applying a 35% tariff on all imports from Belarus.

Canada banned Belarusian aircraft (owned and operated) from Canadian airspace. Canada has also banned the export of luxury goods, a list of goods that could be used in the production and manufacturing of weapons by Belarus, and advanced goods and technologies that could be used in the production and manufacturing of weapons by Belarus.

The amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations build upon Canada’s existing sanctions against Belarus by further impeding Belarusian authorities’ dealings with Canada. These measures are coordinated with partners, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the EU, Australia and Japan.

Conditions for imposing and lifting sanctions

Pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act, the Governor in Council may impose economic and other sanctions against foreign states, as well as entities and individuals when, among other circumstances, a grave breach of international peace and security has occurred resulting in a serious international crisis.

The duration of sanctions by Canada and like-minded partners has been explicitly linked to the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea, as well as Ukraine’s territorial sea. The United States, the United Kingdom, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have continued to update their sanction regimes against individuals and entities in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.


  1. Impose costs on Belarus for its support of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine; and
  2. Align with actions taken by international partners to underscore continued unity with Canada’s allies and partners in responding to Belarus’s support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, as well as to avoid gaps in the coordinated sanctions efforts.


The Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations (the amendments) add 22 individuals and 16 entities to Schedule 1, Part 1.1 and Part 2 of the Regulations respectively, who are subject to a broad dealings ban. These individuals are senior Belarusian officials in the military, border agency, and political and civil administration. The entities are military manufacturing, technology and engineering companies, state and privately owned banks and the national railway company.

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 targeting individuals and entities, 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 have limited impact on the citizens of the country of the listed persons. It is likely that the newly listed individuals and entities 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 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 could potentially 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 could 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 and entities.

One-for-one rule

The permitting process for businesses meets the definition of “administrative burden” in the Red Tape Reduction Act and would need to be calculated and offset within 24 months. However, the proposal addresses an emergency circumstance and is exempt from the requirement to offset administrative burden and regulatory titles under the one-for-one rule.

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 Canada’s allies and 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 key economic sectors 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 and entities.


The amendments are a direct response of the continued involvement of the Government of Belarus and the Belarusian Armed Forces in the invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24, 2022, 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 Canada’s 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.

The amendments list 22 new individuals and 16 entities under the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations. These individuals are senior Belarusian officials in the military, border agency, political and civil administration, including those with jurisdiction over the territories of Belarus that were used to station and transport Russian military personnel and materiel before and during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The entities are military manufacturing, technology and engineering companies, state and privately owned banks that represent economic sectors critical to the Lukashenko regime and its current policies that threaten the security of Ukraine and Ukrainians. In the case of banks, some of these still offer access to international payment systems that enable their Russian clients to bypass existing sanctions. Belarusian Railway is also recommended for sanctions, as it facilitates the movement of Russian troops and materiel, including weapons into Ukraine. These amendments will further align Canadian regulations with that of Canada’s allies and partners, namely the United States, the United Kingdom and the EU.

Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards

The amendments come into force on the day they are registered.

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 Regulations.

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.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has enforcement authorities under SEMA and the Customs Act, and will play a role in the enforcement of these sanctions.


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