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Canada continues to expand scope of Russian sanctions, including by issuing amendments to Belarus regulations

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its second week, Canada continues to intensify pressure on the Russian government and the supporters of its illegal invasion of Ukraine through additional rounds of economic sanctions. Previously implemented measures are addressed in our February 28, 2022 and March 2, 2022 client alerts.

Further additions of individuals and entities to the Russia sanctions

Since March 2, 2022, 32 entities and 25 individuals have been added to Schedule 1 of the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations (the “Russia Regulations”) by means of amendments effective March 4,[1] March 6,[2] and March 10, 2022,[3] As a result, Canadian companies and nationals are now prohibited from engaging in or facilitating a wide range of activities involving approximately 1,000 entities and individuals currently listed under Canada’s Russia and Ukraine-related sanctions.

The latest round of measures targeting Russian individuals include Oleg Deripaska, the founder of one of Russia’s largest industrial groups, and Roman Abramovich, another prominent oligarch who, among other things, owns 28.64% of the shares of Evraz PLC,[4] a steel producer with a significant Canadian presence and number of active steel production sites in Western Canada. Abramovich and others were sanctioned “for their complicity in President Putin’s choice to invade a peaceful and sovereign country”.[5] The newly listed entities, sanctioned for “their role in enabling or supporting President Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine”,[6] include a number of shipbuilding, aeronautics and other defence enterprises, as well as research institutions and government agencies including the Foreign Intelligence Service.

In announcing the new sanctions targeting Abramovich, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that these should not impact the operations of Evraz in Canada,[7] although to date no guidance has been released by the Canadian government on how to treat entities that are partially or wholly-owned by persons listed under Canadian sanctions regulations, unlike their counterparts in the United States, European Union, and United Kingdom.[8] Evraz has not been listed by Canada or its allies.

Scope of Schedules 2 and 3 to the Russia Regulations is expanded

Sections 3.1 and 3.2 of the Russia Regulations impose prohibitions on dealing with debt and equity in relation to a small number of entities listed in Schedules 2 and 3. These are more narrow restrictions than those contained in section 3, which prohibit most activities involving Schedule 1 entities and individuals.

Section 2.1 of the Russia Regulations, which sets out the basis for the government to impose these restrictions, previously provided that the persons listed in Schedule 2 or 3 were persons in respect of whom there were reasonable grounds to believe that they were owned or controlled by, or acting on behalf of the persons described in paragraphs 2(a) to (b) of the Russia Regulations, namely:

  • a person engaged in activities that directly or indirectly facilitate, support, provide funding for or contribute to a violation or attempted violation of the sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine or that obstruct the work of international organizations in Ukraine;
  • a person who has participated in gross and systematic human rights violations in Russia; and
  • a former or current senior official of the Government of Russia.

This listing authority has been significantly broadened, effective March 10. First, the existing description was expanded to expressly include direct and indirect ownership and control, now providing that a person listed on Schedule 2 or 3 may be “an entity owned, held or controlled, directly or indirectly” by a person described in paragraphs 2(a) to (b) of the Russia Regulations, or one acting on behalf of or at the direction of such a person. The amendment also added a second ground for inclusion being “an entity owned, held or controlled, directly or indirectly, by Russia or acting on behalf of or at the direction of Russia” itself.

Canada bans the acquisition and importation of Russian petroleum products

Acting on a commitment announced by the Prime Minister on February 28, 2022 to ban the importation of crude oil from Russia into Canada,[9] as of March 10, Canada has prohibited the import, purchase, or acquisition of petroleum products (as set out in a new Schedule 5), wherever situated, from Russia or from any person in Russia, by persons in Canada or Canadians outside of Canada. The description of the petroleum goods subject to import restrictions is as follows:

  • Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude (HS 2709);
  • Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, other than crude; preparations not elsewhere specified or included, containing by weight 70% or more of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations; waste oils (HS 2710); and
  • Petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons (HS 2711).

Although initially perceived to be largely symbolic measures since Canada has not imported crude oil from Russia since 2019, the language of the measure is much broader than that in terms of the scope of both the petroleum products covered and the range of prohibited activities. The prohibition does not only apply to imports into Canada, but also the import, purchase, or acquisition of these products anywhere in the world by persons in Canada or Canadians outside Canada from Russia or from any person in Russia.

Russian ships banned from Canadian ports and waters

Effective March 6, 2022, the Russia Regulations were amended to add a new section 3.4, prohibiting ships registered in Russia or used, leased or chartered (in whole or in part) by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of Russia, a designated person, or — most broadly — a person in Russia from docking in Canada or passing through Canada.

There is a narrow exception in cases where docking or passage is necessary to safeguard human life or to ensure navigational safety. Section 5 of the Russia Regulations was similarly amended to prohibit persons in Canada and Canadians outside Canada from doing anything that causes, facilitates, or assists in (or is intended to do any of these) any activity prohibited by section 3.4.

On February 27, 2022, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, also announced that Canada had closed its airspace to Russian aircraft operators.[10]

Publication of the amendments to the Belarus Regulations

At long last, the amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations, first announced on February 25, 2022, have now been published with an effective date of March 8, 2022. 25 entities and 19 individuals have now been added to Schedule 1 and are subject to the general dealings prohibition on the basis of being close associates of the Lukashenko regime enabling the Russian invasion.

Just as the impacts of the Russian invasion in Ukraine remain fluid, so too do Canada’s sanctions strategies. It is widely expected that Canada will continue to consider additional sanctions measures to take against Russia in connection with the crisis in Ukraine.

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[1] Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations, SOR/2022-046.

[2] Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations, SOR/2022-047, Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations, SOR/2022-048.

[3] Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations, SOR/2022-052, Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations, SOR/2022-053.

[4] Evraz:

[5] Global Affairs Canada, “Sanctions – Russian invasion of Ukraine” (Updated March 11, 2022):

[6] Global Affairs Canada, “Sanctions – Russian invasion of Ukraine” (Updated March 11, 2022):

[7] See “Canada slaps sanctions on Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich”, CBC News (March 11, 2022):

[8] Notwithstanding that Abramovich owns fewer than a third of Evraz PLC’s shares, and is only entitled to appoint three of the company’s 12 directors, the United Kingdom has concluded that “Abramovich exercises effective control of Evraz PLC given his significant shareholding and the shareholdings of his close associates who it is reasonable to expect Abramovich could direct through his close ties with Abramov and Shvidler, as well as his power to nominate directors of the board”.

[9] Natural Resources Canada, “Government of Canada Moves to Prohibit Import of Russian Oil” (February 28, 2022):

[10] Transport Canada, “Government of Canada prohibits Russian aircraft to enter Canadian airspace” (February 27, 2022), online:



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