Countering the Proliferation of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Weapons

A number of states and non-state actors aspire to develop and use chemical, biological, radioactive, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons. The spread—or proliferation—of CBRN weapons and their delivery systems poses a critical threat to Canada, Canadians, our interests and our allies.

The work to counter CBRN weapon proliferation begins at home. Like many of our allies, Canada possesses cutting-edge research and innovation, borders open for trade, and a modern and efficient financial system—strengths which could be exploited by CBRN weapon proliferators. Individuals and networks are active in Canada and around the world, attempting to illegally obtain sensitive and controlled goods and technologies, advanced knowledge and expertise, and financial support on behalf of CBRN weapons programs.

Through its collaboration with international partners, the Government of Canada works to counter the proliferation of CBRN weapons. Over a dozen federal departments and agencies are responsible for a range of activities to prevent proliferators from using any Canadian resources that might contribute to the development of CBRN weapons.

Case studies:

A Canadian manufacturer of oil field equipment was charged and pleaded guilty to attempting to export goods to Iran which were prohibited for export there under the Special Economic Measures Act. These goods had the potential for use in the country's nuclear program.

A Toronto-resident was found guilty of attempting to export pressure transducers from the United States through Canada, and onward to Iran, which is in violation of a number of Canadian statutes.

Public Safety Canada promotes a coordinated approach across government on counter-proliferation policy, which brings together those organizations responsible for the Government of Canada's four areas of focus:

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) leads Canada's international engagement on non-proliferation and disarmament. Measures include economic sanctions, multilateral efforts to combat proliferation and promote nuclear security, and the development of international capacity to halt proliferators. DFATD also chairs the Government's Counter-Proliferation Operations Committee, coordinating responses to threats within Canada.

Canada Border Services Agency disrupts, prevents and investigates the illicit export and proliferation of strategic goods and technology.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is responsible for the licensing of nuclear-related activities, including the export of nuclear and nuclear-related goods.

Public Works and Government Services Canada administers the Controlled Goods Program, ensuring only those who have been assessed for security concerns have access to controlled goods.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is the national authority on biosafety and biosecurity for human pathogens and toxins.

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