The Government of Canada must do more to prevent human rights abuses by Canadian companies operating overseas.
In 2019, Canada created the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, but failed to give the ombudsperson the powers needed to conduct effective investigations into human rights abuses involving Canadian companies. Amnesty continues to press the government to give the Ombudsperson the power to compel documents and testimony.
While having an Ombudsperson that can conduct effective investigations is important to help ensure that people harmed by Canadian companies overseas have access to remedy, it is not enough to ensure corporate accountability. Amnesty Canada and the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability are also calling on the Canadian government to adopt a law requiring Canadian companies (and companies selling products in Canada) to: identify human rights risks in their global supply chains; prevent human rights abuses; immediately stop directly or indirectly contributing to human rights abuses; and ensure remedy for people who have been harmed. This is called “human rights due diligence” legislation.
The last several years have seen a growth in global momentum toward mandatory human rights due diligence requirements for companies. The European Commission and a number of European countries already require, or are in the process of developing laws that would require, companies within their jurisdictions to conduct human rights due diligence throughout their global operations. It is time Canada catches up and enacts legislation that holds corporations accountable for their actions!
- Join a free training session for volunteers working on corporate accountability offered by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (of which Amnesty Canada is an active member). Depending on demand, there will be an advanced training for experienced business and human rights volunteers, and a separate training session for beginners. For more information contact Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org