KAIROS 2021 Wish List
As Canada continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that we are in a ‘kairos’ moment. In that spirit, KAIROS Canada wishes the following in 2021…
That the Canadian government, provinces and territories:
- Work with Indigenous family members and survivors, gender-diverse people, and Indigenous nations and organizations, to develop a transparent and accountable National Action Plan to fully implement the 231 Calls for Justice of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
That the Canadian provinces and territories continue to work towards:
- Full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Call to Action 62.i, that urges the provinces and territories to make mandatory from Kindergarten to grade 12 “curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada….” There can be no backsliding.
That the Canadian government:
- Invests ambitiously in the 2020 A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy climate plan to ensure Canada exceeds its current 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target, supports a just transition, and establishes a fair, inclusive, green economy that addresses current inequities.
- Ends all federal subsidies and rejects proposals for new fossil fuel development projects, including pipelines, liquefied natural gas terminals, offshore drilling, and fracking wells.
- Passes Bill C-230, an Act respecting the development of a national strategy to redress environmental racism.
- Passes Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, with strengthened language and timelines that support Canada in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
- Commits at least $1.8 billion annually in bilateral climate finance for the Global South that is gender-responsive, supports both mitigation and adaptation, responds to the pandemic, and supports the leadership of women in climate decision-making. A substantial portion of this funding must be made available to grassroots women’s organizations through grants-based, non-multilateral funding mechanisms such as a Women’s Climate Adaptation Fund.
On Gender Justice – Corporate Accountability
- Grants the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) the powers to investigate allegations of environmental and human rights violations by Canadian companies and their subsidiaries.
- Enacts legislation requiring that Canadian companies operating abroad—including their subsidiaries and supply chains—undergo mandatory human rights due diligence.
- Adopts and fully implements a legal framework that requires extractive corporations to conduct consultations according to local traditional practices. These processes must fully engage women and guarantee that communities near proposed extractive project sites ultimately determine if and how a project will move forward.
- Facilitates access to Canadian courts for overseas plaintiffs who claim harm by the actions of Canadian mining companies.
On Gender Justice – Women Peace and Security
- Develops its new Feminist Foreign Policy with full and meaningful representation of Black, Indigenous and people of colour, particularly women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, a policy that is grounded in Indigenous and racial justice, is human rights based and intersectional, and does not allow economic and corporate interests to obstruct these principles.
- Fully funds and implements the Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), increasing official development assistance from 0.28 percent of national wealth to close to the international standard of 0.7 percent, and ensures that this funding reaches grassroots women’s rights and peacebuilding organizations. This funding must support their recovery and transformation efforts in response to the pandemic. To be accessible to local women’s organizations this funding must be flexible, predictable, and long-term.
- Creates an urgent response fund to help women’s organizations around the world address local needs during the pandemic.
- Advocates with governments of countries in conflict and at the UN to increase space for women to participate in peace and human rights processes at local, national, and international levels, in adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and to ensure that the lives and rights of these women are protected.
- Speaks out in support of international human rights and against occupation including denouncing further efforts by the State of Israel to annex any and all parts of occupied West Bank territory. A lasting solution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine must meet the legitimate aspirations and security needs and guarantee equal rights for both Israelis and Palestinians. Canada has the diplomatic tools to promote this just goal.
On Indigenous Rights
- Keeps its election promise and passes Bill C-15, ensuring that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and ends all appeals and court challenges to rulings that validate Indigenous rights.
- Fully implements TRC Call to Action 93, which calls on the government, in collaboration with national Indigenous organizations, “to revise the information kit for newcomers to Canada and its citizenship test to reflect a more inclusive history of the diverse Aboriginal peoples of Canada, including information about the Treaties and the history of residential schools.”
On Migrant Justice
- Ends temporary migration and returns to permanent residency as the strategy to strengthen the country, including meeting labour market demands. Addresses the issues facing people without status by introducing a special pathway to regularize their status and become permanent residents.
- Expands its support and protection of foreign temporary migrant workers travelling to Canada and those in the country during the pandemic, ensuring access to benefits and services such as accessible pre-arrival COVID-19 testing and placement on the vaccination priority list.
- Takes the lead in drafting an International Protocol to recognize and protect the rights of climate affected and forced migrants and lobbies the United Nations for its adoption and ratification.
2020 Wish Assessment
While the COVID-19 pandemic commanded the attention of all governments in 2020, it put into sharp focus the urgency of addressing chronic problems, including migrant worker abuses, gender-based violence, global conflict and environmental degradation. KAIROS’ longstanding wishes remain more pressing than ever!
Many of our 2020 wishes are carried over to 2021. There have been a few encouraging developments and one notable disappointment.
Following an election promise, the federal government introduced Bill C-15 to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Bill C-15 builds on Bill C-262, a Private Member’s Bill that the House of Commons passed in 2018. Bill C-262 had broad public support, including that of grassroots Indigenous peoples, but it died on the Order Paper in the Senate. We hope that Bill C-15, which the government tabled late in the year, becomes law in 2021 after careful review from Indigenous peoples.
In late October, the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced $14.9 million in new funding for women peacebuilders globally, with $5 million of that targeted at grassroots organizations. KAIROS welcomed this announcement, after having called for increased funding to local women peacebuilders and human rights organizations for several years. More must be done, however. Canada must increase its overseas development assistance to closely match the international standard of 0.7 percent of national wealth. Canada must concurrently develop mechanisms to ensure that this funding reaches local women-led grassroots organizations, including support for their recovery and transformation efforts in response to the pandemic. To do so this funding must be accessible, flexible, predictable and long-term.
In November, we were also encouraged when the federal government introduced Bill C-12, an Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. For the Love of Creation, of which KAIROS is a member, recognizes the Bill as a significant milestone in the development of our nation’s climate policy. The Bill requires strengthening, such as moving the first target from 2030 to 2025 and aligning it with Bill C-15. KAIROS will follow Bill C-12’s progress with great interest.
We were also pleased when Environment and Climate Change Canada announced A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, which, among other things, acknowledges that its national emissions goal of 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 is too low, pledging to exceed this target, placing Canada in the range of 32 to 40 percent. While this pledge to do better is laudable, KAIROS urges Canada to commit to a 60 percent target, its fair share in the global community.
Nowhere has COVID-19 been felt more acutely than among foreign migrant workers. In the summer, the federal government made several funding announcements to improve their working and living environments, particularly those in the food sectors. As welcome as those announcements were, they do not address the gross inequities of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which COVID-19 amplifies. Indeed, on August 4, Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough acknowledged: “COVID definitely shone a spotlight on cracks in the system. This whole program needs an overhaul.”
On August 14, the federal government announced that it will grant permanent residency to some asylum seekers who cared for patients in hospitals and long-term care homes at the height of the pandemic. Yet it continues to keep permanent residency off the table for farm and meat processing workers and domestic caregivers. KAIROS joins the Migrant Rights Network in advocating for Status for All and Landed Status Now, specifically calling on the federal government to immediately grant permanent resident status to all undocumented persons and, in future, to all migrant workers upon arrival.
Unfortunately, there was a notable backslide in 2020. Our call for Canada to empower its Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) to investigate allegations of environmental and human rights violations by Canadian companies and their subsidiaries was flatly rejected by the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. This decision was made despite a Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) e-petition, signed by more than 6,000 people, including many from the KAIROS network, to grant such powers. KAIROS will continue to work with the CNCA in advocating for corporate accountability through an empowered CORE.