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16 Jan 2018

Peter Mazereeuw, The Hill Times

Canada: Govt. to announce new ombudsperson for “responsible enterprise”; role to cover extractive & other sectors

“Champagne to announce new ombudsman for corporate responsibility Wednesday, after years-long campaign by human rights groups”, 16 Jan 2018

The federal government is planning to announce the creation of an ombudsperson for “responsible enterprise” on Wednesday, finally checking the box on a 2015 Liberal campaign promise, and satisfying a request from Canada’s mining industry that the ombudsman cover more than just the extractive sector… The government’s ombudsperson is also expected to take and investigate complaints related to the apparel industry, and possibly expand to other sectors in the future.

…Human rights advocates, including the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, have called for an ombudsperson’s office that is independent of the federal government, and Mr. Ruggie… served as the UN Secretary-General’s special representative for business and human rights…said he believed they will get their wish as well.

 …The new ombudsperson will likely have the authority to compel evidence, and possibly testimony, from Canadian companies involved in investigations…The new ombudsperson’s role from the “joint fact-finding” model requested by Canada’s mining industry, through which the ombudsperson would take a cooperative approach to resolving disputes between Canadian companies and people in other countries who claim to have been victimized by them. [Also refers to Joe Fresh, Loblaw]