CANADA: Trade negotiations with Ecuador must not sacrifice human rights and the environment

Write a letter to the Trade Minister reminding her that she must uphold Canada’s human rights obligations

Amazonian women take part in a march holding a huge banner
Mujeres Amazónicas bring their call for respect for the rights of Indigenous women and their communities to a march in Quito. Photo credit: @MujeresAmazonicas

We, the Amazonian Women of Ecuador, Defenders of the Amazon Rainforest have organized to defend our human rights, and to protect the Amazon from irreversible tipping points, which would have implications for the entire planet. We are very concerned about the free-trade agreement negotiations between Ecuador and Canada, because increased investments in extractive projects in the Amazon could push it past a tipping point, violate our human rights, and lead to increased violence against Indigenous women and girls.

Mujeres Amazónicas Defensoras de la Selva

Amid a dire human rights situation in Ecuador, its government and the government of Canada are rushing to negotiate a trade agreement with huge risks to people and the environment. Representatives of both countries have stated their goal is to attract and protect more Canadian mines in Ecuador. 

Indigenous peoples and rural communities – already suffering destructive impacts and violence linked to Canadian mines – continue to be ignored and even attacked. They have not been informed or consulted about the trade deal, a violation of both the Ecuadorian constitution and both countries’ obligations under international treaties.

What’s more, Canada has said it wants to include investor protections that UN experts have urged against because they have “catastrophic consequences” for human rights and the environment. According to Global Affairs Canada, the mining industry has pushed for such protections.

[In the photo at the top, “DANGER, DANGER, DANGER” reads the yellow tape during a protest outside Canada’s Embassy in Quito on March 4. The banner says “Free Trade Agreement with Canada = More extractivism (followed by the symbol for poison). Canadian mining out because it is destroying the environment”. Photo: Acción Ecológica @AcEcologica


Write to Canada’s Trade Minister Mary Ng 

  • Express your concern that negotiation of a trade agreement with Ecuador is quickly advancing amid a dire human rights situation in the South American country, and without consultation or the consent of Indigenous peoples and other communities that will be impacted.
  • Call on the Minister to uphold Canada’s obligations under international standards, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This requires guaranteeing that no trade agreement with Ecuador will advance without broad, transparent, meaningful consultation with all affected Indigenous peoples in Ecuador, including Indigenous women and their organizations, and without their free, prior and informed consent.
  • Also call on the Minister to act on the recommendations of the UN Working Group on the issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment. This requires removing investor-State dispute settlement provisions AND ensuring independent human rights impact assessments in line with UN guidelines, paying particular attention to the impact on Indigenous peoples, racialized people, women, and girls, AND acting on any recommendations emerging from the impact assessment.
  • Finally, urge that no trade deal should be signed without mandatory human rights and environment due diligence in place, via a legal framework enshrined in legislation, and access to remedy when rights are breached by Canadian companies.
  • Ask to receive a response to your requests.

Write to:

  • Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development
  • E-mail:
  • Twitter: @mary_ng

Mailing Address:

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Note: no postage is necessary

Send a copy to:

Your Member of Parliament [click here to find contact info for your MP]

Learn More

For more information, contact Latin America campaigner Kathy Price via