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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Clubine

Launch of Canada’s Humanitarian Exemption for Operations in Terrorist-Controlled Areas

Updated: Jul 4

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Canadian organizations that provide aid in conflict zones are familiar with a longstanding prohibition on providing aid in regions that are subject to terror-related sanctions. The broad terrorist-financing offence detailed in subsection 83.03(2) of the Criminal Code effectively criminalized the delivery of aid in terrorist-controlled areas. This changed on June 20, 2023, when Bill C-41 received royal assent. Bill C-41 amended the Criminal Code to create the possibility for a humanitarian exemption for work in terrorist-controlled areas. 

On June 19, 2024, an authorization regime was established to facilitate the exemption created by Bill C-41. Organizations and individuals wanting to provide humanitarian assistance in terrorist-controlled areas can now apply for authorization to do so from the Minister of Public Safety. If authorization from the Minister of Public Safety is granted, then aid activities undertaken in terrorist-controlled areas are exempt from criminal liability. 

This is a much-anticipated development for Canadian organizations that are providing humanitarian aid abroad. Authorization is now available for the following types of activities: 

  • Health services 

  • Education services 

  • Programs to support livelihood 

  • Programs to promote and protect human rights 

  • Services related to immigration, resettlement and safe passage 

The application for authorization is available online. It is a comprehensive application that requires substantial details about the applicant, its proposed activities, its partners, its finances, and the risk of the proposed activities. You can find out more at on the website for Public Safety Canada. 

Outsiders Law is available to assist clients wishing to make an application under the new authorization regime. Contact us to discuss your specific situation. 

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