Iran in Parliament: Review of the Special Economic Measures Act

Here is an update from the ICC about ongoing conversation in the House of Commons regarding Canada's sanction laws and regulations:

In recent weeks, there have been discussions in the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee of issues related to Iran. In particular, committee members have been reviewing Canada's sanction laws and regulations under Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). Make sure you use ICC's "Iran in Parliament" web app to follow these discussions, including comments by MP Michael Levitt and MP Hélène Laverdière.

Messages to Canadian Representatives

We thank MP Laverdière for raising the issue of Iranian students whose bank accounts have been closed by Canadian banks without reason.

In response to his comments on Iranian sanctions and his endorsement of maintaining sanctions on Iran, we also would like to invite MP Michael Levitt to review reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the compliance of Iran with the P5+1 nuclear agreement. These reports have repeatedly confirmed that Iran has been complying with the terms of the agreement and that the international agency is working with cooperative Iranian authorities to resolve any ongoing issues.[1] We also remind MP Levitt that imposing new sanctions on Iran while the country is complying with the terms of the JCPOA is in contradiction with the policy of constructive engagement that Minister Dion has championed since the Liberal government came to power in 2015.    

SEMA Under Review

In light of the fact that sanctions laws under SEMA are presently under review in House of Commons, the Iranian Canadian Congress emphasizes its position that the lack of diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran have created significant problems for many Iranian Canadians and have not served Canada’s strategic interests in the region. The unilateral Canadian sanctions (i.e. those outside of the scope of the UN Security Council) imposed on Iran through SEMA and the absence of a diplomatic mission in Iran have put Canadian businesses in a disadvantageous position compared to their European competitors in the Iranian market. Since international rapprochement with Iran began with the implementation of the nuclear deal in 2015, Canadian companies have been unable to reap the full rewards of this the opening of Iran to international companies. Bombardier is a good example of a Canadian business that can significantly benefit from entering the Iranian market both in the aerospace and in the transportation and rail industry.

The implementation of Canadian sanctions against Iran, in particular unilateral sanctions under SEMA, have not only negatively impacted Canadian companies, but also constitute a burden for many individuals in the Iranian Canadian community. Iranian students, Canadian permanent residents from Iran, and seniors, among others have all been unjustly denied services due to Canada’s sanction rules and the unfair implementation of the sanctions by some financial institutions.

We welcome the policy of reengagement with Iran that Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Dion have emphasized both during the federal election campaign and during the last year that the Liberal government has been in power. We urge Global Affairs Canada to continue the dialogue with Iran and to take needed steps to re-establish diplomatic relations and facilitate the reopening of embassies between the two countries.

The Iranian Canadian Congress is looking forward to the report by the Foreign Affairs Committee on their review of SEMA. We hope to see recommendations in this report that can help in resolving some of the implementation and administration problems that currently exist with SEMA.

[1] IAEA report published November 2016:


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The Iranian Canadian Congress is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-religious organization established in 2007 to represent the interests of Iranian-Canadians and encourage their participation in Canadian society.

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