Parliamentary Committee Notes: Border Security


May 2022



Proposed Response:

The Special Economic Measures Act


Imposing trade and economic sanctions against foreign states and non-state actors that have significant political influence is an important instrument for the international community in enforcing international norms and laws. The CBSA helps Global Affairs Canada (GAC) administrate the Special Economic Measures Act, the United Nations Act, and the Export and Import Permits Act and associated regulations.

The CBSA’s Intelligence and Targeting programs work with domestic and international partners to collect information and intelligence to help frontline officers interdict individuals and goods listed under SEMA and which may be inadmissible to Canada.

When goods arrive at the border, the CBSA reviews import/export documents (bills of lading, invoices and certificates of origin issued by the relevant government authority) to determine if the goods or shipment/transactions are subject to prohibition or control measures. Shipments that appear to contravene trade and economic sanctions will be detained based on the authority provided by the Customs Act. GAC is then notified of possible infractions of the legislation under SEMA for further assessment.

The CBSA also regularly receives updates from GAC regarding new individuals, entities or goods that are subject to sanctions (such as technology) and ensures frontline border services officers are well supported to prevent the entry or export of goods in all streams including marine, air, land, rail and the courier/postal stream. Additionally, GAC provides the CBSA with recommendations related to detained shipments. The border services officers apply the recommendations at the border points of entry, including potential further enforcement actions such as seizures or charges by the CBSA or the RCMP.

Timely CBSA recommendations ensure the appropriate action can be taken at the time of entry (which is docking for vessels). Should a vessel that is subject to sanctions be brought into port by the RCMP and/or the coast guard, crew and cargo will be processed as usual by the CBSA, including screening for inadmissible persons and/or goods.

Further, the CBSA supports GAC and Transport Canada to ensure that U.S. and Canadian sanctions are appropriately implemented in shared waterways, such as the St. Lawrence Seaway.


Approved by: Scott Harris, Vice President, Intelligence and Enforcement Branch

Approved by: Fred Gaspar, Vice President, Commercial and Trade Branch

Approved by: Denis R. Vinette, Vice-President, Travellers Branch

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