Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, October 25, 2012 --- A recent case of a Lebanese Canadian youth who was denied a job in the aerospace and defense industry led CRARR to launch an information campaign in local universities and training schools on the U.S. State Department's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

ITAR requires Canadian aerospace and defense companies recognized as Premier U.S. Defense Contractors and receiving military contracts from the U.S., and recruitment agencies working with these companies, to adhere to regulations that restrict access to ITAR-controlled products, services and data to applicants and employees from these prohibited countries.

ITAR applies to those who hold dual nationalities, are Canadian permanent residents or are Canadian citizens, regardless of how long they have held either status, and international applicants, who were born in 28 embargoed countries deemed to be hostile to the United States such as China, Cuba, Haiti, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam (for a list of these countries, visit

Under these ITAR rules, persons holding nationality from the country of their employer (i.e. Canada), while also holding nationality from one or more of the proscribed countries as listed above, are referred to as “dual-country nationals”. Individuals not holding nationality from the country of their employer are referred to as “third-country nationals”. If one falls under either category, one may be subject to employment discrimination based on one's ethnic or national origin.

The Canadian government has advocated for a solution to ITAR that emphasizes security, rather than nationality or ethnicity. According to the August 2011 amendment, nationality in itself is theoretically and officially not a sufficient condition for ITAR restrictions. Instead, job applicants wishing to be hired by Canadian companies and current employees must be screened for “substantive contacts” in any of the prohibited countries. These “substantive contacts” include:

1. Regular travel to the prohibited countries;

2. Recent or continuing contact with agents, brokers and nationals of those countries;
3. Continued demonstrated allegiance to those countries;

4. Maintenance of business relationships with persons from those countries;

5. Maintenance of a residence in those countries;

6. Receiving salary or other continuing monetary compensation from those countries;

7. Acts otherwise indicating a risk of diversion.

In theory, only persons holding “substantive contacts” in any of the proscribed 28 countries are subject to its restrictive provisions. In practice, however, candidates who do not have “substantive contacts” but who were born in any of those countries, despite holding Canadian citizenship or permanent residence status, can still be denied employment, training and apprenticeship. This also means that even if one has acquired an internship or a job with a company, one can later be denied employment and promotion, demoted or even terminated.

“All engineering students should be informed of ITAR and their civil rights so when they are denied job or training opportunities, they will know that it has nothing to do with their knowledge or competency, but everything to do with their original birthplace,” said Serwaah Frimpong, an international development student involved with CRARR.

“Even with the 2011 reforms, ITAR still disenfranchises many Canadian citizens and permanent residents simply because these individuals still have active visits to and contacts with their families in their countries of origin,” added Charlotte Cheong, a political science and economics student who worked on this issue at CRARR.

Concerned engineering students should consult their student association, legal information clinic or CRARR to enquire about their civil rights and ways to challenge these racially and ethnically discriminatory restrictions. In the past, CRARR has successfully filed and settled civil rights claims on behalf of persons from Cuba and Venezuela who were discriminated because of ITAR.