Professor Michael Nesbitt has recently published a paper in the upcoming edition of the Ottawa Law Review. The paper is about, "Canada's 'Unilateral' Sanctions Regime under Review: Extraterritoriality, Human Rights, Due Process, and Enforcement in Canada's Special Economic Measures Act." The article is available here, and the abstract is as follows:
In the Fall of 2016, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development began a critical review of Canada’s “unilateral” sanctions legislation, the Special Economic Measures Act (the SEMA). It is the first meaningful review of the SEMA since 1992 and one that is long overdue. While the impetus for the re-evaluation of the legislation is the debate around the so-called Magnitsky Act — amendments to allow for the sanctioning of human rights abusers abroad, particularly in Russia — the Standing Committee should go much further when conducting the review. It is time not only to consider amending the SEMA to clarify that sanctions can be promulgated where gross human rights abuses are taking place abroad, but also to allow for “double” extraterritorial sanctions against covert “sanctions-busters.” That is, the legislative amendments should take account of modern business practice — and recognize that Canada is a hub for sanctions-busting — and close the loop-hole that currently exists in the SEMA and prevents Canada from targeting companies in non-sanctioned countries that are in the business of transshipping goods between Canada and sanctioned countries. Moreover, the Standing Committee’s review is an opportunity to take a broader look at the SEMA legislation and particularly the practice of enacting and enforcing new sanctions. This paper recommends a sanctions coordination unit to ensure proper inter-departmental security cooperation on the SEMA sanctions file, coupled with proper governmental oversight or review, and statutorily-mandated review of all sanctions listings every two years. It is time to bring the SEMA into the twenty-first century and with it government practice implementing and enforcing the legislation. This will require some changes to the legislation, but also myriad changes to government practice on the file.