Arms Trade Treaty Conference of States Parties

August 22-26, 2016
Geneva, Switzerland

Statement by Canada

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As you know, the Canadian Government has signaled its commitment to becoming a State Party to the Arms Trade Treaty.

Canada considers the ATT a fundamentally important Treaty. Unregulated arms transfers intensify and prolong conflict, lead to regional instability, contribute to violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses, and hinder social and economic development. 

We strongly support the Treaty’s aims and its valuable promotion of responsibility, transparency and accountability in the global arms trade.

Let me, Mr. Chair, take this opportunity to provide an update on Canada’s efforts to accede to this historic Treaty.

To accede to the ATT, Canada must ensure that it has in place all domestic legislation, regulations and policies that would be required to ensure that it can fully meet the obligations of the Treaty.  At present, Canada meets most but not all the provisions.

Canadian officials are  working to ensure domestic compliance with these articles on a priority basis. The timeline for Canada to accede to the Treaty will, however, depend on how quickly all necessary legislative and regulatory changes can be completed.

The ATT was tabled for the consideration of our Parliament on June 17, 2016 and, in line with Parliamentary rules and procedures, this will be followed by legislation to effect the necessary changes.  

Once all legislation and regulations are in place, and all the procedures are completed, we will submit our instrument of accession. 

We hope that our process will be completed in time to allow us to participate as a State Party at the next Conference of States Parties. 

In the meantime, Canada will remain engaged in ATT-related meetings and discussions, as is the case this week.

To be as transparent as possible, and as a signal of our commitment to the ATT, Canada plans to submit its initial report to the Secretariat in advance of our accession.

In addition, our Minister of Foreign Affairs and our Minister of International Trade recently announced that Canada’s annual domestic reports on export permits and controls will be clearer; more user-friendly; and, more informative, in line with the intent of the ATT. 

This is done as another measure to further increase the rigour and transparency of Canada’s already strong export controls.

We look forward to the outcomes of this Conference of States Parties and to becoming a State Party to this important Treaty.

Thank you.