By Kia Neilsen

The International Centre for Criminal Law Reform is conducting a national consultation to collect the views of civil society organizations on how Canada has implemented and applied the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC or the Convention) and the Protocols thereto. The consultation is designed to support Canada’s official self-assessment for the first cycle of the UNTOC Review Mechanism, which is a global review of 190 countries’ performance on meeting their obligations under UNTOC and its Protocols.

If you are interested in participating in the consultation, please send us an email at [email protected].

We invite all stakeholders to follow the process. For more information visit UNTOC Review Consultation.


UNTOC and its three supplementary protocols on human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and firearms trafficking are the main legally binding international instruments to promote international cooperation against transnational organized crime. In 2002, Canada ratified the first two protocols that focus on trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants. Almost two decades after UNTOC’s inception, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to UNTOC established a process to review countries’ implementation of the instruments to which they are party, otherwise known as the “UNTOC Review Mechanism”.

Under the UNTOC Review Mechanism, Canada has embarked on a multi-year process to review its implementation and impact of the Convention and its Protocols on human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The review process aims to, inter alia, gather information about best practices and challenges of implementing the Convention and its Protocols, identify specific needs for technical assistance, and facilitate the provision of such assistance if requested.

To ensure all the relevant articles are covered in the review, States parties agreed to organize the process into four thematic clusters, including 1) criminalization and jurisdiction; 2) prevention, technical assistance and protection measures; 3) law enforcement and the judicial system; and 4) international cooperation, mutual legal assistance, and confiscation. All States parties, including Canada, must complete self-assessment questionnaires for each of the four clusters. At present, Canada is responding to the first cluster on criminalization and jurisdiction.

Upon completion of the self-assessment questionnaire, Canada’s peer-reviewers, New Zealand and Djibouti, will undertake a desk review to prepare a list of observations on strengths and areas for future improvement.

To help ensure that civil society is included in Canada’s review process, particularly in supporting its self-assessment, ICCLR is seeking comments from non-governmental organizations, academics, practitioners, and others on whether and to what extend Canada has met its obligations under the UNTOC and its Protocols, including on how to further strengthen the government’s response to transnational organized crime. To date, Canada has not ratified the Firearms Trafficking Protocol, and will not report on it as part of its self-assessment for the COP, but the government welcomes civil society’s views on questions pertaining to the protocol.

We hope that you will consider registering for the consultation by emailing [email protected].

Photo by Chuttersnap on Unsplash.

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