Canadian military aid to Ukraine 2022-2023

March 27, 2023

Updated March 27, 2023

In response to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, Canada has announced successive shipments of military goods to the Ukrainian government. As of January 2023, the value of all committed transfers was in excess of $1-billion 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 Article11, 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.


Click on table to enlarge image and access links

From Blog

Related Post

Get great news and insight from our expert team.

September 20, 2022
Conventional Weapons

Q&A: Kelsey Gallagher in Armenia

September 20, 2022
Conventional Weapons

Canada’s arms trade and violence against women

Let's make some magic together

Subscribe to our spam-free newsletter.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.