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FAQs about Export Controls and Controlled Goods

Please see below for the frequently asked questions about Export Controls and Controlled Goods. If you do not find the answer to your question, email us at
  • What are the Export Controls?

    Export controls are laws that exist in Canada, the United States (U.S.) and other countries. The federal government places restrictions on the export of certain goods, technology and data under the federal Import and Export Permits Act.

    These restrictions are known as ‘export controls’, and anything that is subject to export control requires a permit or license in order to be exported from Canada.

    Researchers should ensure that any exported goods or technology are compliant with the requirements of the Act.

  • How Can Someone Export a Material Goods, Technology or Data Outside of Canada?

    An export can occur through:

    • digital or electronic transfer
    • telephone conversations
    • facsimile transmission
    • the carrying of the technology and related information on certain physical media (e.g., computer hard drives, memory sticks, books, records, etc.)
    • Access through the cloud
  • Who is Responsible for Managing the Export Control Laws?

    In Canada, Global Affairs Canada manages export controls, which are enumerated primarily through the Export Control List (ECL). Export controls also exist when exporting to a country included on the Area Control List (ACL).

    In the U.S., the Export Administration manages export controls, under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security. U.S. export controls are enumerated the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

  • Why Do Researchers Need to Follow Export Controls?

    Much of the research at Ontario Tech often involves international collaborators, which necessitates the use and/or shipment of materials, technology and data received from and sent to locations outside of Canada. These scenarios could require an export/import permit under Canadian and/or U.S. export control laws. 

    The university’s mission of education and research is best achieved in an open academic environment without regard to citizenship or visa status, given the international nature of science and academic discourse.

    By following the applicable rules, we can ensure that faculty, students and staff at the university do not compromise our academic standards and, as well, do not violate Import and Export Permits Act and applicable regulations. Failure to comply with the Act may lead to fines of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

  • I am in Canada. Do U.S. Export Controls Apply?

    The United States generally has more comprehensive and onerous trade restrictions than Canada that are more vigorously enforced.  They exercise their jurisdiction based on:

    • US. nationality – wherever located in the world (consider the implications for U.S. professors and researchers at a Canadian university working with certain foreign students)
    • US. origin goods or technology – wherever located – and, whether wholly or party based on U.S. content (with different content rules based on sanctions involved) (consider the implications for disclosure to certain foreign students)
    • Access to goods or technology – whether through servers or other means (e.g., telephone discussion)
    • Use of U.S. bank accounts and/or use of U.S. funds (for economic sanctions)

    U.S. export controls focus on the origin and jurisdiction status of the goods, software or technology that is transferred to a particular entity, regardless of the nationality of the entity or person providing them. In particular, the U.S. Government imposes re-transfer conditions on certain U.S.-origin goods and technology even after they have been exported from the United States to Canada.

    As a condition of authorizing exports of certain U.S.-origin goods or technology to a Canadian entity or person, the U.S. Government may require the Canadian entity or person to obtain authorization before transferring these items to certain companies in Canada or re-exporting the items from Canada to a third destination (such as China). As a condition of obtaining an export permit from Canadian authorities, they will ask for the U.S. authorization for the re-export from Canada to the third country.

    If you think the U.S. Export Control Laws and licensing applies to your research, please contact The Office of Research Services can assist in assessing the research in question.

  • What Happens If I Do Not Comply with Export Control Laws?

    Violation of Canadian export controls may result in prosecution, fines up to $25,000 or imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both; and for indictable offences, a maximum fine set by the court or imprisonment up to 10 years. The direct implications of violating U.S. export control laws are civil and criminal penalties, but there could also be immigration consequences that result from such violations by non-U.S. citizens or other sanctions that would affect the ability of the university to receive U.S.-origin items or could put the university’s access to U.S. research funding at risk.

  • What is the Controlled Goods Program?

    The Controlled Goods Program is a stringent security system mandated by the Defense Production Act of Canada that regulates and controls the examination, possession or transfer of controlled goods. Anyone who deals with controlled goods in Canada (including examining, possessing or transferring controlled goods controlled by a research partner) is required to register with the Controlled Goods Program, including researchers contracting with industry and other non-academic partners.

    Some examples of controlled goods that are covered by the program include firearms and ammunition, many different kinds of munitions, and aerospace, satellite and other goods/ technologies that guide weapons, satellite and navigation systems.  View the full Export Control List.

  • What Will Researchers Need to Do if Working with Controlled Goods?

    Registration is relatively easy and involves a police check, reference checks and a series of questions that will inform decisions about your suitability to examine, possess or transfer controlled goods. There is a charge for police checks that is not an eligible cost on a Tri-Agency grant. Applications take two to four weeks to process from the time they are received by the Office of Research Services. The process can take longer if the application needs to be reviewed by the Controlled Goods Directorate.

  • Where Can I Get Help?

    If you have a question about the application of export controls at any stage of a specific research project with any sponsor, or have general questions about export controls and research, contact