Updated October 11, 2022
In response to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, Canada has announced successive shipments of military goods to the Ukrainian government. As of October 2022, the value of all committed transfers was in excess of $600-million CAD. The volume and speed of these government-to-government transfers, conducted by the Department of National Defence (DND), are unprecedented in Canadian history.
Canada’s arms control obligations
The Canadian Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) oblige Canadian officials to authorize the export of military goods on a case-by-case basis. The authorization process requires that all proposed exports be subjected to a substantial risk test to determine the likelihood that a proposed export may contribute to any of the negative consequences listed in the ATT. These include, inter alia, undermining peace and security, and facilitating violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. If such risks exist and cannot be mitigated, an export cannot be authorized and the goods cannot be transferred.
One of the core principles of the ATT is to prevent the unintended and illicit diversion of weapons systems. According to Article 11, Canadian officials must proactively seek ways to mitigate the risk of diversion when authorizing the transfer of military goods. It is well-established that the threat of diversion is increased during conflict, a consideration that Canadian officials should include in their risk assessment.
Conventional exports of Canadian weapons are authorized by officials within Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Government-to-government transfers, on the other hand, are authorized directly by DND. Although DND’s authorization process is broadly based upon the ATT, and includes assessments to evaluate “both the recipient and the risks of an arms transfer,” its precise scope and standards are unclear. DND has stated that it requires end-use certificates when exporting military aid, but has not clarified the extent to which end-use is monitored after the transfer takes place. DND has also previously stated it is not subject to the EIPA, and therefore, government-to-government transfers are performed without the issuing of export permits; for this reason and others, DND’s approach to authorizing arms exports is understood to be a parallel process to that performed by GAC.
Article 5 of the ATT requires States Parties to implement treaty obligations in a consistent, objective, and non-discriminatory manner. This means that all government bodies involved in the trade and transfer of weapons must employ uniform standards and processes.
What follows is a list of military exports to Ukraine that have been publicly reported since January 2022. This list will be updated as new transfers are announced.
Canada’s Government-to-Government Military Transfers to Ukraine (beginning in January 2022)
|Jan 26||Feb 3||Non-lethal military goods, including bullet-proof vests and night-vision goggles||National Post, Jan 26; Global Affairs Canada, Feb 4|
|Feb 14||Feb 19 (1st shipment); Feb 23 (2nd shipment)||C6 and C9 machine guns, pistols, carbines, .50-calibre sniper rifles, 60-millimetre mortars, thermal imaging binoculars, cameras, scopes, approximately 1.5-million rounds of ammunition||$7.8-million||First Canadian shipment of lethal military goods||Global Affairs Canada, February 14; Ottawa Citizen, Feb 15|
|Feb 27||Helmets, body armour, gas masks, and night vision gear||$25-million||Global Affairs Canada, Feb 28; CBC, Feb 27|
|Feb 28||At least 100 Carl Gustaf M2 recoilless rifles, accessories and scopes, 2,000 rounds of 84mm ammunition||Transferred on two C-130J tactical airlift aircraft. Sourced from Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) inventories||Ottawa Citizen, Feb 28; Global Affairs Canada, Feb 28|
|Mar 1||1,600 fragmentation vests and 390,000 individual meal kits||Global News, Mar 1; Global Affairs Canada, Mar 3|
|Mar 3||4,500 M-72 Light Anti-Armour Weapons (LAW) and up to 7,500 hand grenades||From CAF inventories||Globe and Mail, Mar 3; Global Affairs Canada, Mar 3|
|Mar 3||Funding to acquire satellite images||$1-million||Global Affairs Canada, Mar 3; Space News, Mar 9|
|Mar 8||~ Late Mar||Unspecified military equipment, 30-40 MX-15D electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) sensors for uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs)||$50-million||Canadian government procuring from suppliers||Global News, Mar 9; Ottawa Citizen, Mar 9; Global News, Apr 14|
|Apr 19||~ Mid Apr (M777 155mm howitzers and ammunition)||Four M777 155mm howitzers, M982 Excalibur precision-guided ammunition and other unspecified ammunition; eight Senator armoured vehicles||M777 howitzers and ammunition sourced from CAF inventories; Canadian government procuring armoured vehicles from suppliers||Reuters, Apr 19; Department of National Defence, Apr 22; CBC, Apr 22; Global News, Apr 26|
|May 8||18 MX-15D EO/IR UAV sensors, high-resolution satellite imagery, small arms and ammunition, 155mm artillery shells||$50-million||Office of the Prime Minister, May 8; Reuters, May 8|
|May 24||20,000 155mm artillery shells, fuses and charge bags||$98-million||Canadian government procuring from US-based suppliers||Department of National Defence, May 24; CBC, May 24|
|June 15||10 replacement barrels for M777 155mm howitzers||$9-million||Department of National Defence, June 15; CBC, June 15;|
|June 30||~ Sept 2022 (first delivery of ACSVs)||39 Armoured Combat Support Vehicles (ACSV) and associated parts and components, 6 MX-15D EO/IR UAV sensors||Global News, June 30;|
|Oct 11||500,000 pieces of winter clothing and equipment, 155mm artillery shells, MX-15D EO/IR UAV sensors, satellite communications services||$47-million||Equipment partially procured from CAF inventories||CBC, Oct 11|