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    August 03, 2018

    It’s been four long years since the Mount Polley copper mine breached its tailings pond, cutting a 9-kilometre path of destruction from the mine site to Quesnel Lake.

    Path of desctruction: tailing spill down Hazeltine Creek. Credit: Richard Holmes 

    In the days following the disaster, long-time area residents and Indigenous peoples mourned together for the many species of trout and salmon, insect and animal that lived along Hazeltine Creek and in Quesnel Lake.

    Day 5 of the Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp, established by Secwepemc women to bring together indigenous and settler commmunities in the wake of the August 2014 disaster. Credit: Kieran Oud 

    July 26, 2018

    The BC government has launched an Environmental Assessment Revitalization process as part of its commitment to reshape the way BC makes decisions about natural resource projects, industrial activities and more.

    YOU have an opportunity to help shape the future of environmental assessments in BC by providing your input.

    BC’s current environmental assessment law is failing British Columbians and the lands and waters we rely on. Amnesty International has joined 23 other environmental, social justice and community groups in putting forward a shared vision of what future environmental assessments should look like.

    July 26, 2018

    “A B.C. government, led by me, will officially adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…I will work with you to align the actions of my government with the Declaration.” – NDP leader John Horgan, prior to the 2017 provincial election

    “It is well established that statements by elected representatives do not fetter decision makers, nor do political speeches constitute legally enforceable promises against the Crown.” – the Government of British Columbia’s written submission to the Site C injunction hearing

    BC Premier John Horgan has said many fine words about upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples. He made these promises while running for office and he has repeatedly affirmed them since becoming Premier. But in the most significant test to date of the veracity and integrity of these commitments -- the arguments now being made in front of the crucially important Site C injunction hearing -- Premier Horgan’s government has done the very opposite of what it promised.

    July 11, 2018

    An appeal for action from Maude Barlow, Alex Neve and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip from Witness for the Peace 

    In just a few days, a B.C. court will begin hearings on one of the most important legal challenges of our time.

    The court case — initiated by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations — may be British Columbia’s best hope for stopping the massively destructive and wasteful Site C dam.

    A vital, irreplaceable cultural and ecological landscape is at stake. But the legal challenge to Site C is about more than the fate of the Peace River Valley. Fundamental issues of human rights and reconciliation are also at stake.

    The federal and provincial governments have already admitted that they deliberately ignored their Treaty rights obligations when they decided to flood the Peace Valley. Such blatant disregard for the rights of Indigenous peoples has no place in any country genuinely committed to reconciliation.

    June 21, 2018

    Earlier today, I decided to mark Indigenous Peoples Day by making a donation to support the First Nations legal struggle to stop the massively destructive Site C dam in northeast BC.

    I’ve had the pleasure of travelling many times to Treaty 8 territory and I’ve become a passionate supporter of the efforts of First Nations and farmers to save the beautiful, irreplaceable Peace River Valley.

    But there was another reason I wanted to support this legal challenge. It has to do what Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair, Senator Murray Sinclair has called “the War of Law.”

    To me this powerful phrase invokes not only laws that are harmful in their intent and purpose  - of which there have been many – but all the ways that the law is applied in a discriminatory and unequal manner, with often devastating impacts.

    June 01, 2018

    In the coming weeks, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador will make a decision that could have profound consequences for the health and safety of Inuit people for generations to come.

    The Muskrat Falls dam is nearly complete but a crucial concern remains unaddressed. The best and most reliable studies of the downstream impacts of the dam warn that filling the reservoir will generate dangerous levels of methyl mercury which will then contaminate the fish and seals on which Inuit people on Lake Melville depend.

    Scientists from Harvard University have called for all vegetation and topsoil to be removed from the reservoir area - a recommendation that has been taken up by the majority of members of a provincial advisory body.

    There are outstanding questions about how this can be done. What is clear is that the province must not gamble with the lives of Inuit people. The ability of Inuit people to live off the fish and seals of Lake Melville must be protected. The Muskrat Falls dam must not be completed until these concerns have been properly addressed.

    May 26, 2018

    A group of Amnesty volunteers will deliver a big box of letters to Microsoft Canada's headquarters at the end of May.

    Help them fill the box with letters to Microsoft! Continue reading for more information. 

    Amnesty is concerned about the strong possibility that there is child labour in Microsoft’s supply chain. Amnesty researchers have discovered that cobalt, a metal used in the rechargeable batteries of portable electronics such as laptops, tablets and cell phones, is being mined by children and adults under hazardous condvolunitions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

    Amnesty researchers traced the cobalt supply chain and determined that the cobalt is very likely used in batteries in products sold by Microsoft, Samsung, Apple and others. We urged these companies, and others, to investigate their cobalt supply chains, publish the names of their smelters, and address any human rights issues, in accordance with international business and human rights guidelines.

    May 25, 2018
    Campaign and Local Organizing Committee of the 2018 Canadian Council for Refugees National Youth Action Gathering

    Brought together by shared passion and commitment for inclusivity, youth empowerment and human rights, the Local Organizing Committee for the 2018 Canadian Council for Refugees’ Youth Action Gathering (YAG) is working to bring together immigrant and refugee youth from across Canada to share, learn and network on strategies to address common challenges. The Local Organizing Committee consists of a partnership between York University’s  Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS) and Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, Amnesty International at York and the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC)  Keele Campus Committee. All of them have been active long term participants in the York U Refugees Welcome Here! Campaign.

    May 25, 2018
    Chief Rudy Turtle, Dr. Donna Mergler and Judy Da Silva outside Queen's Park

    Chief Rudy Turtle of the Grassy Narrows First Nation describes a community that was once able to thrive from living on the land. But all that changed in the 1960s when the waterways flowing through this northern Ontario community were poisoned by mercury dumped by an upstream pulp mill. 

    Now, after decades of struggle to draw attention to their situation, a new report released by the First Nation conclusively demonstrates just how devastating that harm has been.

    The report, based on an extensive household survey of community members, compares key dimensions of health at Grassy Narrows to other First Nations and to the general population.

    What the report depicts is one of the worst community health crises in Canada.

    May 11, 2018

    UPDATE: The federal government has decided not to oppose the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations while they seek an injunction to suspend construction of the Site C dam in British Columbia while important, unresolved Treaty rights concerns are before the courts. We're urging Premier John Horgan to follow this example. You can learn more about this vital test case for Indigenous rights at a new website launched with coalition partners: www.witnessforthepeace.ca

    The federal government ignored a direct question about the Site C dam and Treaty rights violations during a review of Canada’s human rights record earlier today at the United Nations in Geneva.

    May 04, 2018
    Land defenders in opposition to the Muskrat Falls dam on a hunger strike

    It should be an easy decision.

    Expert scientific studies have found that completion of Labrador’s Muskrat Falls dam as currently planned would release disastrously high levels of mercury into downstream waters, threatening the health, food security and cultural integrity of Inuit communities who rely in fish and seal.

    However, these same studies have also concluded that the threat could be greatly reduced by removing soil from the planned reservoir to greatly reduce the amount of methyl mercury resulting from decomposition.

    Now, the majority of members of an advisory committee struck by the government of Newfoundland and Labrador have made the same recommendation. 

    The province now has a choice. Either scrap the project or make the necessary changes. Either way, the lives and safety of downstream communities must ensured.

    May 01, 2018

    Every May, people across Canada take action for mining justice.

    This year, we will continue to push for greater corporate accountability, while we celebrate some progress. 

    The Canadian government announced in January 2018 that Canada will be the first country in the world to have an independent Ombudsperson for responsible business enterprise.

    This means that people who have been harmed by the overseas activities of Canadian mining, oil, gas and garment companies will be able to submit their complaints to an independent ombudsperson for investigation. Effectively implemented, this could be a game-changer -however, the Ombudsperson office is not in place yet and some of the elements that will determine how the Ombudsperson’s office will operate have yet to be defined. Communities continue to experience human rights violations, even after mines are closed. 

    In order to be credible and effective, it is vital that the ombudsperson be free from political and corporate interference. It is also essential that the Ombudsperson be empowered to conduct effective investigations and gather evidence that may be in a company’s possession.

    April 26, 2018

    "People shouldn’t have to go to court to claim their rights" – federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, speaking at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, April 2018

    In the coming weeks, two governments that have repeatedly promised to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples will be in court to defend a massively destructive resource development project that they approved without ever once considering whether it would violate Canada’s Treaty obligations to the affected First Nations.

    The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations are asking the court to halt construction of the Site C dam which would flood more than 100 km of the Peace River Valley and its tributaries. 

    The environmental assessment of the project found that its impacts on First Nations cultural sites and way of life would be serve, permanent and irreversible. The United Nations’ top anti-racism body, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, has called for a halt to the project as a violation of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

    April 23, 2018

    Whether you identify as LGBTI or as an ally, you can help bring Amnesty’s human rights message to a Pride festival near you this Summer. Pride is an excellent opportunity to show your solidarity with LGBTI communities in Canada and around the world, and take action towards creating a world where people of all sexual orientations and gender identities can live in dignity and safety.

    Here are just a few ways to get involved in Pride activities in your community this Summer.

    MARCH WITH AMNESTY IN YOUR LOCAL PRIDE PARADE

    Reach out to other Amnesty supporters in your community and organize a Pride marching contingent. Contact Amnesty’s LGBTI coordinators for information on swag to distribute, resources to use, and support in registering to march. To have maximum impact, try to have at least 5 people march with you.

    April 23, 2018

    In the midst of a global crackdown on LGBTI rights, your action is needed more than ever this Pride season to help ensure the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Canada and around the world are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

    Pride festivals are held in communities large and small across Canada from May through September, and Pride season unofficially starts on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT). The Pride movement traces its origins to a riot at New York City’s Stonewall Inn in response to years of police harassment, raids, and violence against members of the LGBTI community. Pride remains a call to action to ensure that LGBTI people can live free from violence and discrimination.

    Take action with Amnesty at Pride festivals across Canada this summer.

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