Government to ban sanctioned Russians from entering Canada

News release

May 17, 2022    Ottawa, Ontario  

The Putin regime’s attack on Ukraine is a war on democracy, human rights and the right of Ukrainians to choose their own future. Be it military, political or economic support, Canada will continue to be there for Ukraine in its time of need and hold Russia accountable. A central part of our response has been economic sanctions, to hold accountable those responsible for Russia’s aggression.

The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, today announced that the Government will strengthen these measures by banning sanctioned Russians from entering Canada. The Minister will introduce legislative changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to ensure foreign nationals subject to sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) are inadmissible to Canada.

These changes will allow the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to deny entry to, and remove, individuals subjected to sanctions, and will allow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officials to deny visas.

Once in force, these amendments to IRPA will apply to all foreign nationals subject to sanctions by Canada, and any accompanying family members. The IRPA establishes the applicable criteria for all foreign nationals and permanent residents who seek to enter the country, and defines the factors that render a person inadmissible.

Canada has sanctioned roughly 1,000 individuals from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, including Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu, Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov, and Konstantin Anatolyevich Chuychenko. For more information and the full list of individuals visit Sanctions – Russian invasion of Ukraine.


“In the face of the Putin regime’s brutal attack, Canada stands with Ukraine. Banning close associates and key supporters of Putin’s regime, including those responsible for this unprovoked aggression from entering our country is one of the many ways in which we’re holding Russia accountable for its crimes. We will continue to exhaust all options to uphold freedom and democracy, hold Russia accountable, and support Ukraine.”

The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety

Quick facts

  • Canada has imposed sanctions against individuals who are part of, or are key supports of, the Russian regime. The sanctions were issued based on the grounds of “grave breach of international peace and security” set out within SEMA. The IRPA will be expanded to include all grounds listed under SEMA, including this ground.

  • Foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada may have their applications for temporary resident visas refused or cancelled by IRCC officials, or may have their applications to enter Canada at ports of entry refused and removed from Canada by CBSA officials.

  • Foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada due to sanctions will still be eligible to have a refugee claim considered by the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, and will have access to a full pre-removal risk assessment.

  • All persons seeking entry to Canada must present to the CBSA and may be subject to a more in-depth exam. Admissibility of all non-citizens is decided on a case-by-case basis and based on the information made available at the time of entry.

Associated links


Alexander Cohen
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety

Media Relations
Canada Border Services Agency

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