Export Controls and Working with Controlled Goods

ndustry sponsored research lays a foundation for more research and builds relationships where students and trainees gain industry exposure leading to increased skills and employability.

Industry sponsored research at U of G creates opportunity for:

  • Increased engagement between academia and industry
  • Diversity of funding sources for research
  • Industry access to leading experts and specialized research infrastructure
  • Translation of academic innovations into products that impact society

While U of G welcomes the growth of industry sponsored research, changes in the global political landscape have necessitated that we pay attention to issues surrounding export control and sanctions, both in Canada and in other jurisdictions around the world.

What is export control?

Export control regulations are Canadian laws that prevent the export of goods and technology to foreign entities, or individuals, for reasons of national security or trade interests. Failure to adhere to these laws can result in prosecution by the Government of Canada, with possible fines and/or imprisonment.

Many categories of items listed on the Canadian Export Control List are obvious, such as munitions and nuclear equipment, materials and technologies. There are many other items that are less intuitive but which are nonetheless under export control. A complete list of Canadian export-controlled items can be found at: Global Affairs Canada: A Guide to Canada's Export Control List.

Conflict with foreign country export control

Most countries will have export control laws specific to their national interests. While we work in Canada, we must be mindful of other countries’ export control laws when employing or partnering with their citizens, or contracting with companies or other entities within their boundaries. With increasing frequency, foreign partners request that the University adhere to another country’s export control laws, which can be problematic, as they may conflict with Canadian law.

How can export control be managed?

Exporting goods on the Export Control List

If an item is listed under Canadian export control, it does not necessarily mean that it cannot be exported to a foreign entity. A Canadian broker, acting on behalf of the foreign partner, can apply to the Government of Canada for an export permit specific to the good or technology listed on the Export Control List. The preparation and application for an export permit is outside of the expertise of the University and must be undertaken by the partner.

Exporting research outputs listed on the Export Control List

Infractions against Canadian export control regulations can potentially occur when the University grants rights to foreign partners for technology developed under sponsored research agreements. The University would be in violation of export control regulations if it assigned or licensed intellectual property arising from sponsored research that is described on the Export Control List.

When the University is aware that the research outputs are likely to be listed on the Canadian Export Control List, it can insist that the partner obtain an export permit before the transfer of technology, or it can release all results and findings from the sponsored research to the public (a public disclosure) without a grant of rights. This is typically done by means of a peer-reviewed academic publication and ensures that those discoveries are gifted to the public for use by the global community, if not also patented in a particular country.

Controlled goods

Controlled goods are a specific subset of materials on the Export Control List generally related to national defense or national security.

If a researcher wishes to work with a Controlled Good, the University must obtain approval from the Government of Canada’s Public Services and Procurement branch.  Applications will require a description of the controlled good, a list of all individuals who will have access to the controlled good and a security plan.

For further information, please see the Controlled Goods and Controlled Technology website or contact U of G’s Controlled Goods Program Designated Official, Jennifer Wesley, Manager, Research Risk.  The Designated Official will apply for required permissions on behalf of the University. Please note that all individuals involved in research with the Controlled Good will be required to complete a security check. Failure to adhere to Government of Canada’s protocols can result in substantial fines and/or imprisonment.

What are sanctions?

Sanctions are penalties applied by one country against another country, group(s), or individual(s). Such sanctions frequently include trade barriers (similar to export control), and also limitations, or outright bans, on financial transactions. A list of Canadian sanctions can be found at the following website:

Government of Canada: Current sanctions imposed by Canada

For example, if Canada has sanctions on a specific country that include an: arms embargo, asset freeze, export and import restrictions, financial prohibitions, and technical assistance prohibition, the University cannot enter into agreement where products, technology, results, or funding are transferred or otherwise contravene that specific sanction.

Like the re-export of export-controlled materials from another country, special care and consideration must be paid to the transfer of foreign goods and/or funds to countries, groups, or individuals under another country’s sanction list. The sanctions list for The United States of America is many times greater than the Canadian sanctions list. Caution must be exercised when transferring funds to another country when they originate from the US (e.g., the National Institutes of Health (NIH)).