OTTAWA – The Canadian government took a symbolic step on Monday in announcing a ban on imports of crude oil from Russia in response to that country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“While Canada has imported very little amounts [of crude oil] in recent years, this measure sends a powerful message,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
The move isn’t expected to have an impact on the Canadian economy. Canada’s natural-resources minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, said earlier Monday that Canada hasn’t imported any crude oil from Russia since 2019.
Although Western countries have moved rapidly to impose a number of hard-hitting sanctions on Russia in recent days, one area they have so far avoided is oil and natural gas. Imports of Russian crude oil and petroleum products account for roughly 3% of U.S. oil demand, while the EU gets about 40% of its gas imports and more than one-quarter of its oil from Russia.
Canada has been at the forefront of advocating for stringent sanctions, including cutting off some Russian banks from the Swift financial network and taking steps to prevent Russia’s central bank from accessing its reserves.