It’s time that the Government of Canada empower the CORE and enact mHRDD legislation
Allegations of human rights violations and environmental damage accompany the Canadian extractive sector. KAIROS partners substantiate. Forced labor, torture, rape, and the contamination of water sources are just some of the claims made against Canadian companies around the globe by Indigenous and rural communities, including women who endure and highlight the gendered impacts of resource extraction. Canadian companies are rarely held accountable for wrongdoing; this is unacceptable.
The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), of which KAIROS is a member, has just launched an e-petition to the House of Commons, urging the government to ensure that the Canadian mining, energy, and garment sectors operating abroad uphold human rights and rules for businesses.
For more than a decade KAIROS, members and our networks have joined more than 600,000 Canadians and hundreds of civil society organizations from across the country and abroad in calling on the Canadian government to protect the dignity of human life and the sacredness of creation by establishing an independent human rights ombudsperson with the power to hold Canadian mining companies responsible for their overseas operations. We have met with, called, and written to their members of Parliament and the Minister of Trade. We do this in solidarity with and in response to KAIROS’ global partners who have also called for an independent ombudsperson.
We thank you for your interest, commitment, and activism on this issue in the past and call on you once again to take action.
CNCA’s e-petition compels the House of Commons to take two necessary steps to hold Canadian companies abroad accountable for business human rights violations:
Empower the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise (CORE)
After more than a decade-long struggle from the part of Canadian churches, civil society organizations, and labor unions, the Government of Canada staffed the Office of the CORE in 2019. With the appointment of the CORE, however, the government reneged on its promise to grant the Ombudsperson investigatory powers to compel evidence. The CORE’s current mandate is to advise businesses of policies and practices and mediate conflicts that may arise. Without investigatory powers, inclusive of the means to compel evidence, the CORE is ineffective and toothless.
Enact Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence (mHRDD) Legislation
In concurrence with an empowered CORE, the Government of Canada must enact comprehensive and mandatory legislation that requires companies to identify, prevent, and mitigate human rights abuses arising from their global operations. This legislation must require and expect that all Canadians companies respect the most current international human rights standards across the entirety of their global operations and supply chains and hold these companies liable for harms caused by or on behalf of their operations.
Take action now:
- Sign the e-petition to the House of Commons to Empower the CORE and ENACT mHRDD.
- Take the Enact and Empower challenge. On Facebook or Instagram, tag 5 people and encourage them to sign the e-petition.
- Request a virtual meeting with your federal Member of Parliament (MP), via email, phone, or on Twitter.
- Use Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter to help us spread the word on the e-petition.
Note: Images and sample text for Actions 2-4 are available through a public Google document.
For more information on the e-petition, including updates from global partners and the CNCA, watch the recording of the webinar: “Minding our own business: How to ensure Canadian businesses respect human rights abroad.”
Learn more about corporate accountability on MERE Hub, a digital information hub developed by KAIROS with women land defenders on the gendered impacts of resource extraction.