Government of Canada amends Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act

News release

March 10, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada is taking a strong stance for a safer world by controlling dangerous chemicals under the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act (CWCIA).

Following the despicable attacks against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, U.K., in March of 2018 and the death of Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury, U.K., in July of 2018, it has become clear that Novichoks, a class of chemical weapons, must be subject to declaration and verification.

Last fall, States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) agreed unanimously to add Novichoks to the list of chemicals banned by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)— the first time new toxic chemicals had been added to the OPCW list.

Today, Canada is tabling amendments to the CWC to add four new categories of controlled chemicals—including Novichoks—as agreed at the 24th Session of the Conference of the States Parties of the CWC, held in The Hague, Netherlands, in November 2019.

Canada is also introducing legislation to amend the CWCIA by clarifying the list of controlled chemicals for those who work in this field. This will ensure that Canada’s implementation of the CWC is constantly up to date. 

Quotes

“Canada is proud to be a leader in the fight to ban chemical weapons such as Novichoks, which were used in the Salisbury, U.K., attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal and which resulted in the death of Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury, U.K. We will continue to support the work of the OPCW and to hold accountable those who use illegal chemical weapons.”

- Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • The OPCW is an independent, treaty-based body established in 1997 to implement the CWC. 

  • The OPCW is the only multilateral institution charged with eradicating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. To date, it has verified the elimination of 97% of the world’s declared chemical weapons.

  • Canada meets its obligations through the CWCIA and its regulations.

  • The original version of the Canadian CWCIA contained a copy of the original list of chemicals controlled by the OPCW; this list will soon be out of date.

  • The amendments to the CWCIA remove the old list and make clear that the correct list of chemicals is the one maintained by the OPCW, easily accessible on its public website.

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