Canada to alter sanctions law to allow paying compensation from sanctioned assets

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 22, 2022. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle/File Photo

April 26 (Reuters) - The Canadian government will change its sanctions law to allow for seized and sanctioned foreign assets to be redistributed as compensation to victims or to help in rebuilding a foreign state from war, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said.

Canada is among a number of countries to have imposed sanctions on Russia after it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls a "special operation."

"Today, we are seeking the capacity to not only seize but to allow for the forfeiture of the assets of sanctioned individuals and entities and to allow us to compensate victims with the proceeds," Joly said in a statement on Tuesday. "These changes would make Canada's sanctions regime the first in the G7 to allow these actions."

The sanctions were already crippling Russia’s economy and depleting President Vladimir Putin's resources to continue the war, the minister said.

"We will continue to apply maximum pressure on the Putin regime and impose severe costs for this war of choice," Joly added.

The changes that Canada aims to bring to its sanctions law will mean that funds or property seized from Russia could be paid out to help rebuild Ukraine or to those impacted by Russia's invasion.

The measures will be part of the budget implementation bill.

The legislation will also lay out a requirement for banks to provide lists of foreign assets frozen by Canadian government sanctions so that Ottawa has an inventory of what has been seized, the Globe and Mail reported.

Canada has sanctioned over 1,100 individuals and entities that Ottawa says have been complicit in the conflict in Ukraine.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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