Canada announces additional support for prohibition of chemical weapons in Syria

News Release

June 29, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Canada is committed to supporting the Syrian people and has repeatedly condemned the egregious war crimes that have been committed by the Assad regime in Syria, including the use of chemical weapons on its own people.

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced an additional Canadian contribution of $2.5 million to strengthen the capacity of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

This announcement comes on the same day the OPCW released a report of its investigation, which confirms the use of the nerve agent sarin in the April 4, 2017, attack in Khan Shaykhun, in southern Idlib province, Syria. Approximately 100 people were killed and hundreds of civilians injured in this brutal attack.

Through this contribution, the OPCW will continue its essential work to investigate chemical weapons incidents, collect evidence in support of accountability and verify that Syria’s chemical weapons program has been completely eliminated. This funding from Canada’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat Reduction Program reinforces Canada’s position as one of the largest national contributors to global efforts to end the use of chemical weapons in Syria.


“Today’s announcement reflects Canada’s unwavering support to the Syrian people. The courageous and dedicated work of the OPCW is central to establishing the facts around chemical weapons attacks in Syria and ridding the world of these inhumane weapons.

“Canada vigorously condemns the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons against women, men and children in the April 4 attack. The use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Continued impunity is unacceptable, and the perpetrators must be held accountable.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick Facts

  • To date, the OPCW has verified the elimination of 95 % of the world’s declared chemical weapons. The organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2013 for its achievements.

  • The OPCW is the only multilateral institution charged with eradicating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. The organization inspects selected industrial sites and research facilities around the world to ensure they are not used for clandestine production of chemical weapons.

  • The OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) for Attributing Responsibility for Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria has concluded in the past that the Government of Syria has used chemical weapons against its own people.

  • Canada and the United States are the largest national contributors to the JIM, each having provided US$2 million to support the efforts of the OPCW-UN body to identify those individuals, entities, groups or governments who were perpetrators, organizers, sponsors or otherwise involved in the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

  • Canada’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat Reduction Program is managed by Global Affairs Canada. It was established in 2002 as Canada’s contribution to the G7-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. The Global Partnership aims to reduce the threat posed by the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons; materials; and expertise.

  • Canada has been a leading voice at the OPCW since 1997 and is the largest voluntary cash contributor to the organization, having provided nearly $25 million since 2012 to help destroy chemical weapons in Libya and Syria and to support special missions and contingency operations related to chemical weapons use, investigation, verification and monitoring in Syria.

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