On April 16, 2024, the Government of Canada presented its 2024 Federal Budget (Budget 2024). In Chapter 7, “Protecting Canadians and Defending Democracy”, Budget 2024 provides insight into the current administration’s trade-related domestic and foreign policy goals over the next five years. In its own words, the Government will address growing global uncertainty by investing and strengthening Canada’s national defence and  foreign policy tools in an increasingly “insecure world”, alongside promoting free trade, looking to developing economies, and revitalizing Canada’s reputation as a peacekeeping nation.

Our top foreign-policy and trade related take-aways from Budget 2024 are as follows:

  1. Billions in further financing to Ukraine for security and restructuring, through cash, loans and lethal and non-lethal military aid.
  2. Further commitments to use Russian assets to rebuild and support Ukraine. Canada commits to working with the G7 to identify “additional avenues to hold Russia to account for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine”. We note that to date, Canada has issued two seizure orders under the Special Economic Measures Act’s (SEMA) new asset forfeiture mechanism. However, to our knowledge, no applications for forfeiture in relation to these seized assets have been filed in Canadian courts.
  3. Amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA), the Criminal Code, the Income Tax Act, and the Excise Tax Act to enhance the power of Canadian regulatory agencies in detecting money laundering, terrorist financing and sanctions evasion. Canada has already amended the SEMA and the PCMLTFA to enhance information sharing between these entities as a means to curb sanctions circumvention, which appears to remain an enforcement focus for 2024.
  4. The Department of Finance will receive CAD $1.7 million over the next two years to finalize the “design and legal framework” for the proposed Canada Financial Crimes Agency. This agency was first announced in 2021 and is poised to become “Canada’s lead enforcement agency against financial crime”. Despite the breadth of potential activities constituting a “financial crime”, previous representations in Budget 2023 refer to the agency as being chiefly responsible for anti-money laundering investigations and enforcement. Whether the mandate will expand to include tools to detect and enforce Canadian sanctions, in particular circumvention of Canadian sanctions, remains to be seen. 
  5. Increased funding for the creation of a “Trade Transparency Unit” within the Canada Border Services Agency to combat trade-based financial crime.
  6. The creation of a novel “Market Watch Unit” within the Canada Border Services Agency to monitor and update trade remedy measures on an annual basis. Budget 2023 proposed 3 years of funding. The structure of this new unit within the CBSA’s current Trade and Anti-Dumping directorate remains to be seen. Its mandate will likely relate to the CBSA’s administration of Re-Investigations and Normal Value/Export Price Reviews, which have continually evolved over the past five years to regularly include retroactive reassessments of dumping duties issued to importers of subject goods, and increasing effort by domestic industry participants seeking findings of particular market situations in certain economies.
  7. A renewed commitment to eradicate forced and child labour from Canadian supply chains. Budget 2024 does not make any specific remarks, but promises to introduce further legislation in 2024 to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains. Canada already has three legislative pillars dedicated to the issue of forced and child labour: (1) a prohibition on the importation of goods mined or manufactured with forced or child labour under the Customs Tariff; (2) a supply chains transparency reporting requirement implemented under the Fighting Against Forced and Child Labour in Canadian Supply Chains Act; and (3) the Canadian Omsbudperson for Responsible Enterprise, whom is tasked with investigating complaints lodged against Canadian companies operating abroad in the extractive and apparel industries.
  8. A commitment of over CAD $150 million to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to support its ongoing organizational transformation. These funds are earmarked for recruitment and training, compensation, information management and technology infrastructure, and bolstering Canada’s presence at the UN. This funding comes as GAC has faced increasing demands as the key administrator of Canada’s sanctions and export controls regimes and four years after Canada lost its bid to secure a seat on the UN Security Council.

Surprisingly absent from Budget 2024 are renewed commitments, financial or otherwise, to the scrutiny of imports at Canada’s border. Other than forced and child labour concerns, the Government of Canada has made no mention of the pending introduction of the new CARM Client Portal, which will substantively change the import declaration and accounting process for goods being imported into Canada on May 13, 2024 or the proposed amendments to the Valuation for Duty Regulations which were tied to revenue growth projections. Also absent are commitments with respect to increased enforcement of Canada’s export control regime and Canada’s unilateral sanctions regulations.

Instead, Canadians may need to read between the lines of certain commitments to discern the Government’s plans. Canada’s Revenue Outlook shows increased customs import duties (CAD $5.9 billion in 2024-2025 to CAD $7.1 billion in 2028-2029), which is due in part to projected import growth, but could also be due to increased border enforcement on customs compliance issues such as valuation. With respect to sanctions and export controls enforcement, the transformation of GAC, coupled with the proposed PCMLTFA and Criminal Code amendments could foreshadow a future period of enhanced enforcement.


Julia Webster is a disputes and international trade lawyer. She advises companies on trade remedies, free trade agreements, blocking measures, customs compliance, anti-corruption laws, economic sanctions, AML compliance, supply chain ethics, and cross-border M&A. Julia is a tested advocate and has significant commercial and trade litigation experience. She has appeared before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and a number of administrative tribunals across Canada. She has also counseled companies on sensitive internal investigations which have included cross-border document reviews and multi-jurisdictional legal proceedings.


Jacqueline Rotondi practices commercial, regulatory, competition and international trade law as a member of Baker McKenzie's Global International Commercial and Trade Groups. Jacqueline regularly advises clients in a variety of industries on Canadian advertising and marketing law, including advising on advertising requirements, deceptive marketing, influencer marketing, greenwashing, consumer protection, and contests and promotions. She also focuses on providing regulatory and commercial counsel to companies regulated by Health Canada. Jacqueline helps clients navigate the regulatory landscape affecting the manufacture and sale of food, drugs, natural health products, cosmetics, pest control products, and consumer products. This includes advising on licensing requirements and product recalls, and reviewing product packaging and labelling.


Jing is an associate in Baker McKenzie's International Commercial Practice Group and the Global Antitrust & Competition Group in Toronto. Prior to joining the Firm, Jing was an associate in the Toronto office of a leading Canadian law firm. Jing has a broad commercial and regulatory practice, focusing on competition and foreign investment, international trade compliance and complex corporate and commercial contract matters.