Canada's Nuclear Terrorism Act is in force

Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Peter MacKay said on Friday that the Nuclear Terrorism Act, which creates four new criminal code offenses related to nuclear terrorism, is in force.

The legislation builds the legal framework to respond to nuclear terrorism threats and fulfill international nuclear security commitments that Canada has made.

"Nuclear terrorism is a threat of serious global concern," MacKay said. "That is why our government has taken action to enhance our ability to fight nuclear terrorism by punishing those who aspire to commit such acts. Safety and security are paramount."

The legislation makes it illegal to have any contact with a nuclear device or radioactive material or commit an act against a nuclear facility with the intent to cause harm or damage to property or the environment.

According to the bill, it is also illegal to commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operation with the intent to compel a person, government or organization to do any act. Threatening to commit these offenses is also punishable by law.

These amendments to the criminal code will allow Canada to ratify the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.