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Canadian Defence Export Control offers export compliance services to companies within the Defence export sector.

Canadian Defence Export Control assists businesses & companies seeking to export defence materials from Canada.

Canada’s Controlled Goods Program

  • Domestic industrial security program
  • Defence Production Act and its Controlled Goods Regulations
  • Administered by the Controlled Goods Directorate (CGD) (part of Public Works and Government Services Canada)

Export Controls

Currently Canada has some of the strongest export controls in the world. A key priority of Canada’s foreign policy is the maintenance of peace and security. To this end, the Government of Canada strives to ensure that Canadian military exports are not prejudicial to peace, security or stability in any region of the world or within any country.

This policy is implemented primarily through Canada’s system of export controls, as authorized by the Export and Import Permits Act (enacted in 1947). This law requires those who wish to export from Canada any article included in the Export Control List (ECL) to obtain, prior to shipment, an export permit issued by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)

The Export Control List includes military, dual-use, and strategic goods and technology, all U.S.-origin goods and technology, and a limited number of items that are controlled for economic reasons.
The military goods and technology described in this report are included in Group 2 (“Munitions List”) of the Export Control List. Items listed in Group 2 are “specially designed or modified for military use.” Civilian goods and technology that are not covered by any group in the Export Control List are not normally subject to export controls (such as fuel and food), even if they are intended for sale to a military end-user.
Canada prohibits the export of military goods and technology to a number of countries under the authority of the Export and Import Permits Act, the United Nations Act, and the Special Economic Measures Act, as well, Canada maintains an Area Control List, which currently includes two countries: Belarus and North Korea, all goods and technology destined to these countries are subject to export controls.

Under current export control policy guidelines mandated by Cabinet, Canada closely controls the export of military goods and technology to countries:

That pose a threat to Canada and its allies;
That are involved in or under imminent threat of hostilities;
That are under United Nations Security Council sanctions; or
Whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens, unless it can be demonstrated that there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population.

Once an application to export goods or technology has been received, wide-ranging consultations are held among human rights, international security and defence-industry experts at DFATD (including those residents at Canada’s overseas diplomatic missions), the Department of National Defence and, as necessary, other government departments and agencies.

Through such consultations, each export permit application is assessed for its consistency with Canada’s foreign and defence policies. Regional peace and stability, including civil conflict and human rights, are actively considered.

An important consideration in the review of each application is the end-use of the export. Careful attention is paid to mandatory end-use documentation in an effort to ensure that the export is intended for a legitimate end-user and will not be diverted to ends that could threaten the security of Canada, its allies, or other countries or people.

Military goods and technology are generally exported for one of the following purposes:

  • sales to military and, in some cases, police forces or other government agencies; sales of parts and components for the production of new goods;
  • repairs of military equipment in Canada for foreign customers, and shipments of spare parts;
  • sales to private individuals (especially sales of firearms).
    Canada’s defence industry makes a valuable contribution to the nation’s prosperity and employs tens of thousands of Canadians.

It develops high-technology products and is closely integrated with counterparts in allied countries.

Export controls are not meant to hinder international trade unnecessarily but to regulate and impose certain restrictions on exports in response to clear policy objectives, described above. Canada’s defence industry provides the Canadian Forces, as well as the armed forces of our allies, with the equipment, munitions and spare parts necessary to meet operational needs, including requirements for combat and peacekeeping missions. As stated in the United Nations Charter, all states share a right to legitimate self-defence.

Exports of Firearms

Most firearms exports from Canada are intended for sporting or other recreational use and not for military use. Since a large volume of Canadian firearms exports go to private end-users, steps are taken to ensure items are not diverted into the illegal arms trade or used to fuel local violence. As part of this process, the bona fides of the end-users are thoroughly investigated. Canadian diplomatic missions and other sources may also provide information about destination countries’ firearms control laws, procedures and enforcement practices. If concerns remain about the end-user, the export permit will not be issued.
Certain prohibited firearms, weapons, devices, or components thereof that are included on the Export Control List may be exported following the issuance of an export permit only to destinations on the Automatic Firearms Country Control List and only to consignees that are government or authorized by government.

Canada has inter-governmental defence, research, development, and production arrangements with countries on the Automatic Firearms Country Control List.