Government of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations

Fighting International Terrorism and Crime

In an increasingly interconnected world, problems that originate abroad can easily impact Canadians. This is particularly true for international terrorism and crime. Through the United Nations, Canada is engaged in developing and adopting legal tools and international standards for combating terrorism and crime at its source.

Combating international terrorism and crime requires cooperation between countries where problems start and those that are affected. Canada has worked through the United Nations for over 20 years to prevent individuals who seek to take advantage of Canada’s open and inclusive society to cause harm to its citizens, neighbours, friends, and allies.

Canada believes that international terrorism and crime should be dealt with at its source through measures that curtail the capacity and motivation of individuals to commit terrorist or criminal acts, and bring serious consequences for doing so. 


The events of September 11, 2001, as well as subsequent attacks in Madrid, London, Bali, and Amsterdam have underlined the importance of countering international terrorism. Canada considers the UN the central mechanism and venue for the international community’s collective effort to stop terrorism.

Canada is party to thirteen conventions adopted by the international community that address specific terrorist acts, five of which are deposited at the UN. Taken together, these conventions address acts such as hostage taking, hijacking, terrorist bombings, as well as activities that support terrorism, such as terrorist financing.

Canada supports action by the Security Council on international terrorism. For example, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1373 (2001) which, among its provisions, obliges all states to criminalize assistance for terrorist activities, deny financial support and safe haven to terrorists, and share information about groups planning terrorist attacks. Canada was one of the first countries to implement Resolution 1373 (2001) by tabling the Anti-terrorism Act (C-36) on October 15, 2001.

Canada is a strong advocate of countries developing their own capacity to root out terrorism, and of simplifying the demands on their limited resources, for example through the streamlining of UN reporting mechanisms.

To help states strengthen their capacity to fight terrorism, Canada established the Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program, administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Canada also supports the work of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee by participating in the Counter-Terrorism Action Group, formed in 2003 by the G8. The Action Group coordinates counter-terrorism capacity building assistance and outreach to other states.

Most recently, Canada welcomed Security Council Resolution 1624 (2005), which addresses incitement to terrorism, as an important new tool in preventing the incitement of terrorist acts, while still preserving the principle of the freedom of speech.

Canada welcomed the adoption of an operational and coordinated UN counter-terrorism strategy in September 2006.

Although there has been important progress on combating international terrorism, there is more to be done.  A comprehensive international convention on terrorism would help provide guidance to member states. Canada seeks the conclusion of negotiations on this document as soon as possible.

Finally, Canada recognizes the link between international terrorism and human rights, the rule of law, democracy, and good governance. Progress on these issues is the first line of defence against the spread of extremist ideology. Respecting and protecting human rights is an integral part of Canada’s counter-terrorism strategy. Canada supports efforts to promote human rights, democracy and good governance around the world, often in partnership with UN funds and programs.

International crime

Protecting Canadians from crime necessitates being proactive in stopping crime where it starts, even if that means going beyond Canada’s borders. Canada plays an active and constructive role in developing the tools required to fight international crime, including by countering trafficking of humans and drugs, and by combating corruption and money laundering.

At the UN, the principle organization responsible for combating international crime is the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. In 2011, Canada contributed US$20 million to the UNODC, making it the UNODC’s second-largest bilateral donor.

Canada played an important role in the successful completion of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC), which came into force in October 2003. The UNCTOC extends tools for co-operation against organized crime to a global level, facilitating information sharing as well as law enforcement co-operation amongst parties.

While the UNCTOC provides a broad framework for international cooperation to stop crime, certain issues require individual attention. Human trafficking, for example, is estimated to be a $30 billion a year business that victimizes 2.4 million people. Many countries lack specific provisions to deal adequately with this issue. For this reason, Canada took a leading role in the development of two supplementary protocols to the UNCTOC countering the trafficking of people and the smuggling of migrants, and is actively encouraging countries to ratify and implement them quickly.

High levels of corruption increase the likelihood that a country will be used as a staging ground for international criminal activities. As well as being party to the UNCTOC, which includes a section on law enforcement measures to fight corruption, Canada pursued a dynamic role in the negotiation of the UN Convention against Corruption, the widest-ranging global treaty dedicated to the fight against corruption. The UN Convention against Corruption was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly on October 31, 2003 and signed by Canada’s ambassador to the UN on May 21, 2004.

The international drugs trade has long been on the radar of the international community. The UN is one of the two primary fora for Canada’s multilateral drug control cooperation, together with the Organization for American States. Canada actively participates in the central policy-making bodies of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Canada is also party to the three UN conventions related to drugs: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

Countries cannot work on international crime in isolation from each other. Canada encourages increased communication between and amongst UN member states, regional organizations, and civil society to best find a way to stem international crime.

International Conventions on Terrorism and Crime

Conventions against International Terrorism
DateSigned by CanadaRatified by Canada
Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed On Board AircraftSigned in Tokyo, 14 September 19634 November 19647 November 1969
Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of AircraftSigned in the Hague, 16 December 197016 December 19709 July 1971
Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil AviationSigned in Montreal, 23 September 197123 September 197119 June 1972
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic AgentsAdopted by the General Assembly, 14 December 197326 June 19744 August 1974
International Convention against the Taking of HostagesAdopted by the General Assembly, 17 December 197918 February 19804 December 1985
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear MaterialAdopted in Vienna, 26 October 197923 September 198021 March 1986
Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil AviationSigned in Montreal, 24 February 198824 February 19882 August 1993
Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime NavigationConcluded in Rome, 10 March 198810 March 198818 June 1993
Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental ShelfConcluded in Rome, 10 March 198810 March 198818 June 1993
Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of DetectionSigned in Montreal, 1 March 19911 March 199129 November 1996
International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist BombingsAdopted by the General Assembly, 15 December 199712 January 19983 April 2002
International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of TerrorismAdopted by the General Assembly, 9 December 199910 February 200019 February 2002
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear TerrorismAdopted by the General Assembly, 13 April 200514 September 2005Not ratified


Conventions against International CrimeDateSigned by CanadaRatified by Canada
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized CrimeAdopted by the General Assembly, 15 November 200014 December 200013 May 2002
United Nations Convention against CorruptionAdopted by the General Assembly, 31 October 200321 May 2004Not ratified
Single Convention on Narcotic DrugsAdopted and opened for signature at UN Headquarters, 24 January 196130 March 196111 October 1961
Convention on Psychotropic SubstancesAdopted and opened for signature in Vienna, 11 January 1971Not signed10 September 1988
United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic SubstancesAdopted and opened for signature in Vienna, 28 November 198820 December 19885 July 1990



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