Canada in International Law at 150 and Beyond/Canada et droit international : 150 ans d'histoire et perspectives d'avenir

About the series

Marking 150 years since Confederation provides an opportunity for Canadian international law practitioners and scholars to reflect on Canada’s past, present and future in international law and governance. "Canada in International Law at 150 and Beyond/Canada et droit international : 150 ans d’histoire et perspectives d’avenir" is a series of essays, written in the official language chosen by the authors, that provides a critical perspective on Canada’s past and present in international law, surveys the challenges that lie before us, and offers renewed focus for Canada’s pursuit of global justice and the rule of law.

Topics explored in this series include the history and practice of international law (including sources of international law, Indigenous treaties, international treaty diplomacy, subnational treaty making, domestic reception of international law and Parliament’s role in international law), as well as Canada’s role in international law, governance and innovation in the broad fields of international economic, environmental and intellectual property law. Topics with an economic law focus include international trade, dispute settlement, international taxation and private international law. Environmental law topics include the international climate change regime and international treaties on chemicals and waste, transboundary water governance and the law of the sea. Intellectual property law topics explore the development of international IP protection and the integration of IP law into the body of international trade law. Finally, the series presents Canadian perspectives on developments in international human rights and humanitarian law, including judicial implementation of these obligations, international labour law, business and human rights, international criminal law, war crimes, and international legal issues related to child soldiers. This series allows a reflection on Canada’s role in the community of nations and its potential to advance the progressive development of global rule of law.

"Canada in International Law at 150 and Beyond/Canada et droit international : 150 ans d’histoire et perspectives d’avenir" demonstrates the pivotal role that Canada has played in the development of international law and signals the essential contributions it is poised to make in the future. The project leaders were Oonagh E. Fitzgerald, director of the International Law Research Program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); Valerie Hughes, CIGI senior fellow, adjunct assistant professor of law at Queen’s University and former director at the World Trade Organization; and Mark Jewett, CIGI senior fellow, counsel to the law firm Bennett Jones, and former general counsel and corporate secretary of the Bank of Canada. The series was published as a book titled Reflections on Canada’s Past, Present and Future in International Law/Réflexions sur le passé, le présent et l’avenir du Canada en matière de droit international in spring 2018.

In the Series

Bien qu’il ne soit qu’une nation commerçante de taille moyenne, le Canada fut l’un des principaux artisans de la construction du système commercial multilatéral que nous connaissons aujourd’hui. Depuis les premiers pourparlers qui ont mené à la genèse de l’Accord général sur les tarifs douaniers et le commerce (GATT) jusqu’aux plus récentes négociations, qui visent encore à faciliter le commerce agricole mondial, en passant par le remplacement du secrétariat du GATT par une véritable organisation ayant la personnalité juridique, le Canada a souvent fait preuve d’avant-gardisme et a apporté à l’évolution institutionnelle et substantive du système GATT/Organisation mondiale du commerce une contribution de premier plan.
Le présent texte explore la contribution de la pratique du Canada au développement du droit international applicable aux traités conclus par les entités infra-étatiques. Cette pratique est entendue au sens large, comprenant à la fois celle du Canada et de ses provinces. Dans une première partie, une typologie de la pratique conventionnelle du Canada est réalisée. Dans une seconde partie, les questions juridiques internationales soulevées par cette pratique sont examinées.

A specialized agency of the United Nations that predates both the United Nations and the establishment of the Bretton Woods institutions, the International Labour Organization (ILO) was founded at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, and was part of the Treaty of Versailles. This paper is a deliberate exercise in remembering the history of the ILO. It recalls the historical ideal of international labour law (ILL) in the ILO’s founding to explain the renewed relevance of ILL in the midst of global restructuring. The paper traces a similar trajectory through the story of ILL in the Canadian courts. Throughout, the paper suggests that the evolution of ILL, internationally and in Canada, constitutes a crucial basis upon which to build ILL’s transnational futures.
Climate change is a global commons challenge and requires collective action and cooperation. Although domestic policies and local measures are needed to advance climate action at the national level, international cooperation remains crucial. The centrepiece of international climate law is the United Nations climate regime, which encompasses three multilateral treaties: the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement. Over these decades of climate diplomacy, Canada’s position in climate negotiations has varied greatly. This paper considers the level of consistency between Canada’s domestic action and its international climate policy, from the 1980s to today.
Au cours de l’histoire du Canada, le parlement canadien a joué un rôle plutôt modeste dans la conduite des relations internationales. On peut soutenir que l’absence de surveillance et de contrôle des traités par le Parlement limite sérieusement leur importance en droit canadien. Le présent article passe en revue la pratique canadienne en matière de traités, la compare à la pratique de certains autres États, pour finalement proposer des mesures destinées à remédier à la situation actuelle afin d’accorder aux traités le statut juridique qu’ils méritent en droit canadien.
Le phénomène des enfants-soldats a attiré au cours des dernières décennies l'attention soutenue des gouvernements, des organisations internationales et de la société civile. Le présent texte vise à fournir une analyse des paramètres juridiques encadrant l'interaction avec des enfants-soldats participant directement au conflit armé, avec l'objectif de cerner les circonstances et les conditions dans lesquelles il est licite pour l'adversaire de cibler directement ces enfants.
This paper shows the provocative, unique, evolving and important role that Canada has played since Confederation in 1867 in the development of international treaties dealing with intellectual property (IP) law. Initially burdened by its status as a British colony, and later by the powerful economic and political influence of the United States, Canada had developed, by the mid-twentieth century, an independent voice on IP policy and asserted its own sovereign interest. It became a key middle-power leader in the movement toward the arranged marriage of IP and trade law, which ultimately resulted in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now, with the apparent denouement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, its possible resurrection as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (without the United States and its more excessive demands), the successful conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the renegotiation of NAFTA, Canada stands poised to once again play an influential and even key international role, while striving to act in its own best domestic interests.
The history of Canada is intertwined with international treaties and treaty making. This paper provides a brief historical survey of Canada's international treaty diplomacy. It traces how treaties helped shape Canada's evolution from colony to sovereign nation and determine Canada's borders, how they ensure peace and security, and how they continue to help Canada to express its sovereignty and protect its economic well-being. Treaties remain vital to a modern middle power, such as Canada, that relies on international cooperation and the rule of law in the conduct of its international relations.
Beginning with a historical review of Canada's role in the development of international criminal law from the post-World War II prosecutions to the late 1980s, the paper turns to an examination of Canada's engagement with international criminal law from the early 1990s to the present, explained through Canada's international actions on the International Criminal Court and other international institutions. Over the past two decades, Canada has been deeply involved in the development and implementation of international criminal law abroad, providing legal, financial and political support to particular tribunals at particular periods. However, this support has shifted over time, leaving gaps in the substantive commitment. The paper discusses Canada's engagement with international criminal law at home, in particular through Canada's passage of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act in 2000. However, Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program has remained arguably underfunded, necessitating a focus on non-criminal, administrative remedies rather than criminal prosecutions. The paper concludes by considering Canada's role in the future of international criminal law.
Analyser le rôle contemporain du Canada dans l'unification internationale du droit privé signifie devoir non seulement évoquer l'histoire de la fédération canadienne et de la collaboration fédérale-provinciale, mais également constater l'émergence d'une réalité juridique complexe marquée par la mondialisation et l'intégration économique continue. Le présent texte aborde le rôle du Canada dans l'uniformisation internationale du droit privé commercial, sans intention aucune d'amoindrir la contribution importante du Canada dans l'uniformisation internationale du droit de la famille et du droit de la propriété.