iStock_000019169483XSmallCanada imposed economic sanctions against Liberia to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1521 (2003).  The multilateral economic sanctions are imposed pursuant to the United Nations Act and the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on Liberia.  However, on May 25, 2016, the United Nations unanimously adopted resolution 2283 (2016) deciding to terminate all arms, travel and financial sanctions against Liberia with immediate effect.  Canada has done nothing to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2288 (2016).  In other words, the Canadian economic sanctions remain in effect despite the fact that the underlying UN Security Council Resolution has ended.  Global Affairs must continue to apply the law as it is on the books.

Canada’s economic sanctions against Liberia include:

  • a prohibition on the export of arms and related material to any person in Liberia;
  • a prohibition on the provision, to any person in Liberia, of any technical assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of arms and related material;
  • an assets freeze against persons designated by the UN committee established by Resolution 1521 (2003) to oversee the sanctions against Liberia (the “1521” Committee); and
  • a travel ban against persons designated by the 1521 Committee.

There are exceptions.

Other countries have ended their economic sanctions against Liberia. For example, back in 2015,  President Obama lifted the U.S. sanctions against Liberia.  The EU lifted their sanctions against the Liberia in June 2016.

What this means is that Canadian businesses are not able to take advantage of business opportunities.  It also means that Canadian individuals working for U.S companies (who are no longer subject to U.S. sanctions) may breach Canadian law when they comply with U.S. law.  There is an inconsistency between Canadian economic sanctions and other countries’ sanctions laws.

There is a real impact on Canadian businesses.  There is an increased burden.  There are divergent sanctions.  They must review numerous lists. There is increased risk.

For more information about Canada’s economic sanctions, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or email