Canadian Policy on Small Arms Transfers and the Arms Trade Treaty

Tasneem Jamal

Emily Alexander

This paper was prepared for the Small Arms Working Group of Peacebuild.

Even before the UN conference that produced the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA), Canada has advocated stricter multilateral controls on the transfer of small arms and light weapons (SALW). Canada also supports the proposed negotiation of an international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to establish universal standards for the transfer of all conventional arms. Despite strong advocacy for international standards, Canada’s domestic policies and practice on small arms control remain incoherent.

To strengthen its stand at home, the Canadian government should (1) ratify the UN Firearms Protocol and the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA); (2) update national regulations over arms exports; and (3) improve export transparency by including data on arms exports to the United States.

This briefing compares Canadian advocacy in the international realm with the government’s limited domestic activity. It also suggests a number of improvements which would strengthen Canada’s domestic arms control policy.

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