John Terry Comments on Canada's Trade Sanctions Program for Lexpert

March 17, 2015

As the Canadian government ramps up domestic enforcement of its trade sanctions program, Canadian companies are increasingly turning to legal counsel to ensure they are compliant. Advising on strategies, such as devising in-house compliance programs, is proving to be challenging in the absence of robust regulatory guidelines. Partner John Terry was sought by Lexpert for his view on navigating issues around Canada’s trade sanctions. Below is an excerpt of the article.

John Terry practises international trade and investment law as a partner with Torys LLP in Toronto. He says the US has built up a significant bureaucracy and more thorough guidance around its sanctions programs to help lawyers and companies comprehend them. “There’s no guidance that can be obtained for Canada’s sanctions,” he says. “Basically it is up to you as legal counsel to review them and to give the best advice you can for your clients.

“There is a certain amount of uncertainty that is generated by the fact that, unlike the US regime, you can’t call someone up in government and say: ‘What were you guys intending to get at here? Here is my situation and would these sanctions apply?’” In fact, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada has a big disclaimer on its online list of sanctions warning it won’t advise companies whether a specific transaction contravenes sanction laws.

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