Canada became the first western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence on December 2, 1991. The 1994 Joint Declaration on Special Partnership emphasized the importance of a long-term, constructive and dynamic partnership between the two countries and they have have maintained a close relationship ever since.
Canada is home to a large Ukranian-Canadian community of 1.3 million people (3.4% of the population in 2020).
What Canada has done in 2022
Here is the summary of the government’s engagement in Ukraine and their response to the crisis:
Economic and military aid
Canada has sent the following aid to support Ukraine in its efforts to retain sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence:
- Mar. 3 – Lethal aid of 4,500 M72 rocket launchers and 7,500 hand grenades from existing CAF stockpiles
- Mar. 1 – Lethal aid of 1,600 fragmentation vests and just under 400,000 individual meal kits
- Mar. 1 – $100M humanitarian assistance to Ukraine to provide emergency health services (including trauma care), protection, support to displaced populations and essential life-saving services such as shelter, water and sanitation, and food.
- Feb. 28 – Lethal aid of 100 Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapon systems and 2,000 rockets
- Feb. 28 – $25M in non-lethal military aid items such as helmets, body armour, gas masks and night vision gear
- Feb. 25 – $10M in matched donations to the Canadian Red Cross’ Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal
- Feb. 14 – $7.8M in lethal weapons including machine guns, pistols, carbines, 1.5 million rounds of ammunition, sniper rifles, and various related equipment.
- Feb. 14 – Up to $500M loan in addition to the $120M (total of $620M)
- Jan. 26 – $15M to experienced humanitarian partners in Ukraine
- Jan. 21 – Up to $120M loan under the provided under the Sovereign Loans Program, which was announced in Budget 2018.
Trade, immigration and territorial actions
Canada has taken the following actions (primarily sanctions) in support of Ukraine:
- Mar. 7 – Canada and 44 participating states invoke the OSCE Moscow Mechanism to address Russia’s possible war crimes
- Mar. 6 – Imposed sanctions on 10 current or former senior government officials and their close associates, as well as agents of disinformation and prohibited any ships benefiting Russia or a person in Russia from Canadian waters.
- Mar 3. – Applied a General Tariff of 35% being applied to imported goods originating from Russia or Belarus by revoking their “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) status as a trading partner. North Korea is the only other country that is subject to this tariff. In 2020, Canada exported $617M to Russia (primarily nuclear reactors & machinery, electronic equipment and aircraft/spacecraft), while importing $1.2B (primarily mineral fuels, oils and waxes, fertilizers and precious metals)
- Mar. 3 – Allowed an unlimited number of Ukrainians to come to Canada. The Canada Ukraine Authorization For Emergency Travel visa program will allow them to temporarily to live, work or study here for up to two years. An ‘expedited path’ to permanent residency will be created by allowing a wider circle of family members to sponsor their relatives coming from Ukraine. Application fees will be waived. Pending background check, security screening, provision of biometics and following public health requirements (COVID test before boarding the flight and quarantining) – vaccination is not required.
- Mar. 2 – Imposed sanctions on 10 key individuals from Rosneft, Russia’s leading oil company, and from Gazprom, a major Russian state-owned energy company.
- Mar. 1 – Referred the situation in Ukraine to International Criminal Court
- Mar. 1 – Prohibited Russian ships and fishing vessels from entering Canadian ports and international waters
- Feb. 28 – In a symbolic move, Canada bans the import of Russian crude oil which it hasn’t imported since 2019. Canada did import $288.9M worth of energy products from Russia in 2021 according to Stats Canada, which could be the target of future actions.
- Feb. 28 – Canada and G7 partners prohibit Russian Central Bank transactions
- Canadian financial institutions are barred from doing any transactions with Russia‘s central bank
- Imposing an asset freeze and a dealings prohibition on Russian sovereign wealth funds
- Feb. 27 – Prohibited Russian aircraft from entering Canadian airspace at the same time as the EU closes their airspace
- Feb. 26 – Supported the blocking of select Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system (how it works) along with US, EU, France, Germany, Italy and the UK
- Feb. 24 – Canceled $700M worth of permits for exports to Russia
- Feb. 24 – Prioritized Ukrainian immigration applications
- Feb. 24 – Imposed expanded sanctions under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations and Special Economic Measures (Ukraine) Regulations on 31 individuals including members of the Russian Security Council, including the Defence Minister, the Finance Minister, and the Justice Minister, oligarchs and their families, the paramilitary organization known as the Wagner Group, as well as 27 key financial institutions. Also included are restrictions on four Ukrainian individuals for their collaboration with Russia to destabilize Ukraine. (Complete list here).
- Feb. 22 – Imposed sanctions on 251 members of the Russian State Duma that voted to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk and 2 significant Russian financial institutions. Implemented a dealings ban on the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, which will effectively prohibit Canadians from engaging in specific transactions and activities in these regions. Prohibited direct and indirect dealings in Russian sovereign debt.
How the sanctions affect Canadian people and businesses
Canadians and Canadian entities are prohibited from:
- various dealings with the non-Ukrainian-controlled areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions
- buying new Russian debt directly or indirectly, such government bonds
- entering into any direct or indirect dealings with sanctioned persons or entities
- exporting to Russia (limited exceptions for medical supply chains)
Complete list of sanctions relating to Ukraine can be found here.
Read more: How you can help Ukraine from Canada
What Canada has done to help Ukraine before 2022
Before 2022, Canada has provided over $64 million in humanitarian assistance since the onset of the crisis during the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia in 2014:
- Canada has sanctioned over 1,000 individuals and entities since Russia’s annexation and illegal occupation of Crimea, freezing the assets of and prohibiting dealings with listed persons.
- Signed on August 1, 2017, the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) eliminates custom duties on essentially all goods produced in one country and imported to the other.
- Since April 14, 2015, Operation UNIFIER has sent members of the Canadian Armed Forces to Ukraine who to date, have trained over 33,000 Ukrainian soldiers to support the Security Forces of Ukraine.
- 2015 – Loan of $200M to the then-new Government of Ukraine to support its economic recovery and development objectives. It was repaid in full with interest on schedule in 2020.
- 2014 – Loan of $200M to the then-new Government of Ukraine to support its economic recovery and development objectives. It was repaid in full with interest on schedule in 2020.
How have sanctions impacted the Russian economy?
After sweeping sanctions by Canada and other western countries, Russia’s:
- Currency, the ruble, has dropped in value by 46% against the US dollar.
- Central bank has increased the benchmark interest rate to 20% from 9.5%.
- Stock exchange has been closed for 4 days.
- ‘Uninvestable’ stocks will be cut from stock ETFs
- Two major credit rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, have downgraded Russian government debt to junk status, making it harder for the government to borrow money.
How to stay up to date
Subscribe to official announcements from the relevant Canadian Ministries:
- Canadian Sanctions Related to Russia
- Prime Minister of Canada (Twitter)
- Deputy Prime Minister of Canada (Twitter)
- Global Affairs Canada announcements
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announcements
- Department of Finance announcements
- National Defense Minister’s Twitter
Over to you
Did we miss any actions taken by the government to help aid Ukraine? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
Slava Ukraini! Слава Украіні!
So, with all of that aid we have given Ukraine… what do we get for that?