Canada adopts Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act

Backgrounder

In May 2016, Senator Raynell Andreychuk introduced Bill S-226, Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, into the Senate. The Government of Canada announced its support in May 2017 with amendments such as the addition of a provision for offences and punishments, and a stronger delisting mechanism. Bill S-226 received Royal Assent on October 18, 2017.

With Royal Assent, Bill S-226 has entered into force, creating a new legal framework. The Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act enables Canada to restrict dealings in property and freeze the assets of:

  • Foreign nationals who are responsible for or complicit in gross violations of human rights against individuals seeking to exercise, protect, or defend their rights and freedoms or individuals seeking to expose illegal activity carried out by foreign public officials; and
  • Foreign public officials or their associates who are responsible for, or complicit in, acts of significant corruption in a foreign state.

The Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) is also amended to allow for the imposition of sanctions in response to gross and systematic human rights violations in a foreign state, or for acts of significant corruption by foreign public officials or their associates.

As well, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is amended to render inadmissible to Canada those individuals listed under the new law or under SEMA’s new human rights and corruption triggers.

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