On September 29, 2020, the Government of Canada imposed sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) against officials of the Government of Belarus, in connection with Belarusian presidential elections on August 9, 2020, and subsequent public protests. These sanctions were imposed by Canada, in coordination with the United Kingdom.
Canada has stated that these sanctions are in response to the actions of Belarusian authorities to suppress these public protests, following what Canada describes as a fraudulent presidential election. Canada's stated objectives in imposing these sanctions are to put pressure on the Government of Belarus to change its behaviour, communicate a clear message that Canada will not accept human rights violations and encourage progress towards a negotiated solution between the Government of Belarus and opposition groups.
Subject to limited exceptions, the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations (Belarus Regulations) prohibit any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada from:
- Dealing in property, wherever situated, owned, held or controlled by a person listed in the schedule to the Belarus Regulations (listed persons) or a person acting on behalf of a listed person
- Entering into or facilitating any transaction related to such a dealing
- Providing any financial or related services in respect of such a dealing
- Making available any goods, wherever situated, to a listed person or a person acting on behalf of a listed person
- Providing any financial or related services to or for the benefit of a listed person
- Causing, facilitating or assisting in any of the above prohibited activities
There are currently 11 listed persons under the Belarus Regulations.
The Belarus Regulations require every person in Canada, every Canadian outside Canada and regulated financial entities to disclose the existence of property in their possession or control that they have reason to believe is owned, held or controlled by or on behalf of a listed person to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Like other regulations made under SEMA, the Belarus Regulations require regulated financial institutions to determine on a continuing basis whether they are in possession or control of property that is owned, held or controlled by or on behalf of a listed person.
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