Canada moves quickly on corruption and human rights sanctions

On October 18, 2017, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) entered into force.  The Act gives Canada the ability to impose unilateral sanctions against “foreign nationals” who are involved in corruption or gross violations of human rights.

For years, the Special Economic Measures Act (“SEMA”) has been the primary mechanism by which the Government of Canada could impose unilateral sanctions against certain individuals and entities.  Under SEMA, unilateral sanctions could only be imposed where the Government was of the opinion that a grave breach of international peace and security had occurred that had resulted or was likely to result in a serious international crisis.

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