On November 19, 2022, Canada announced amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Haiti) Regulations (the “Regulations”) in response to the “egregious conduct of Haitian political elites who provide illicit financial and operational support to armed gangs”. These amendments list an additional three individuals under the Schedule of the Regulations and took effect on November 17, 2022.
There are now eight individuals listed under the Schedule of the Regulations. All of the newly listed individuals are current or previous public office holders who are believed to be involved in the protection and enabling of “the illegal activities of armed criminal gangs, including through money laundering and other acts of corruption”.
Generally speaking, listing under the Schedule of the Regulations imposes a dealings prohibition, effectively an asset freeze, against the listed person. Any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada cannot:
- deal in any property, wherever situated, that is owned, held or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a listed person;
- enter into or facilitate any transaction related to such a dealing;
- provide any financial or other related services in respect of such a dealing;
- make available any goods, wherever situated, to a listed person or to a person acting on their behalf; or
- provide any financial or related service to, or for the benefit of, a listed person.
This is the first amendment to the Regulations, implemented in response to armed gangs in Haiti who “continue to terrorize vulnerable populations in Haiti with impunity and are precipitating a humanitarian crisis” in the country. The Regulations are enacted in addition to the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on Haiti, which implement decisions of the United Nations Security Council pursuant to resolution 2653.
Businesses should continually assess their sanctions compliance in this shifting legal landscape. Regulations enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act obligate persons in Canada and Canadian citizens to disclose certain property held by listed persons under the Schedule and any related transactional information to the RCMP. Additionally, certain entities have a continuing duty to determine and disclose certain property held by listed persons.
An unofficial copy of the legislative amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Haiti) Regulations that came into effect on November 17, 2022 are available on Global Affairs Canada’s website at here.