Open for Justice
Canada blinks: Ombudsperson announcement a disappointment, but the fight is not over
Human rights abuses at Canadian-owned mining and oil and gas sites around the world are widespread and well documented. Victims often have nowhere to turn to seek justice. The Canadian Government has taken steps to address this problem. But at a crucial moment, it seems Canada has blinked.
On April 8, 2019, Canada's Minister of International Trade Diversification announced the appointment of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). However the position that was announced is dramatically different from what the government promised in January, 2018. The Ombudsperson may review cases but does not have the powers to independently investigate abuse allegations or compel documents from the parties to a complaint. This is a step backwards for corporate accountability in Canada.
When will Canada be Open for Justice? Over the next month, the Minister will receive legal advice regarding ways to imbue the Ombudsperson with investigatory powers under the Inquiries Act. We must convince him that a truly effective CORE must have the power to compel documents and testimony during the course of an investigation.
Read our blog and press release
3 ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
The creation of Canada's human rights ombudsperson is an important step toward ensuring accountability and remedy for corporate human rights abuses. However, for it be effective, it is crucial that the ombudsperson is equipped with the tools needed to compel corporate disclosure.
1. Sign the petition to Minister Carr>> Call on him to ensure Canada's corporate watchdog has teeth!
2. Make a call. Ask the Canadian Government to fulfil its promise to create an effective Ombudsperson. Your phone call will make a difference!
3. Join in May Mining Month Activities - as an individual or with others
May is Mining Justice Month and you can take action before May 31 to tell Minister Carr that Canada needs an Ombudsperson with investigatory powers.
Find all the action opportunities in the latest Activism Guide>> and don't forget to send us photos of your actions!
4. Send Minister Carr a tweet today:
Share your reaction to the news that after more than a decade of testimony from human rights defenders and Canadians about abuses carried out in the context of Canadian mining investment and garment factories, the government's announcement of the new Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) falls far short of what is needed to ensure accountability for Canadian corporate human rights abuses.
Tweet your message to the Prime Minister and Minister Carr (@JustinTrudeau, @jimcarr_wpg) telling them that despite the announcement that an Ombudsperson has been appointed, you are concerned that the Ombudsperson still lacks the #power2compel and that without this important function, Canada will not be any closer to being #Open4Justice.
FOLLOW AMNESTY - BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS - on SOCIAL MEDIA and SUBSCRIBE to our E-NEWSLETTER
- FAQ read Global Affairs Canada's recently updated FAQ on Responsible Business Abroad & the CORE
- OMBUDSPERSON FACT SHEET A helpful Q&A.
- LETTER TEMPLATE FOR MPs Write a letter to your MP using this letter template.
- TAKE ACTION SHEET Help make Canada Open for Justice using this one-page action sheet.
- MP CONTACT INFORMATION Find your MP's phone number, email address and mailing address here.
- OMBUDSPERSON INFOGRAPHIC A helpful visual that outlines the key aspects of our ombudsperson proposal.
- ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS A one-pager on the essential elements of an ombudsperson office.
- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF MODEL LEGISLATION You don't need to be a lawyer to read this.
- MODEL LEGISLATION Here is our detailed model legislation for the creation of an extractive sector ombudsperson.
- TALK IS NOT ENOUGH Why Canada needs an extractive sector ombudsperson (includes a chart comparing the Ombudsperson to Canada's CSR Counsellor and the OECD NCP).
- INJUSTICE INCORPORATED Download Amnesty International's book on Access to Remedy.
- FLYER If you wish to promote the Open for Justice campaign at your event, please use our one-page flyer.
- CNCA BRIEFING NOTE Why Canada needs BOTH an extractive sector ombudsperson AND legislated access to Canadian courts.
- CAMPAIGN BACKGROUNDER
Written and Directed by Timo Schmidt.
This short film explores the relationship between indigenous rights and mining operations around the world.
Federal Budget does not mention Human Rights Ombudsperson. March 22, 2017.
Government fails to create an extractive-sector Ombudsman, despite broad public support (CNCA press release). November 14, 2014.
Police set hundreds of homes ablaze near Porgera gold mine. June 10, 2014.
Dow shields shareholders from toxic truth in Bhopal. May 14, 2014.
OP ED/OPEN LETTERS:
Corporations have rights. Now we need a global treaty on their responsibilities. By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General. January 21, 2015.
Time to counter human rights abuses by Canadian mining companies. Toronto Star (online edition). May 8, 2014.
Where is the Ombudsperson? Nov 7, 2018
Win a Prize for getting your MP's support! April 14, 2014.
SUBMISSIONS: CNCA submission to the Canadian Government's CSR strategy review. Jan 8, 2014
GET INVOLVED: Stage a performance of The Last Walk of Adolfo Ich. June 11, 2014.
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
Open for Justice is a joint campaign organized by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) and its 30 member organizations, including Amnesty International.