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17 Okt 2019

Ian Thomson, Oxfam Canada

Commentary: Canada's next govt. should require corporate human rights due diligence & engage in process to develop a binding treaty on business & human rights

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"5 things Canada's next government should do to curb corporate abuses of human rights," 16 Oct 2019

The Canadian government has said repeatedly that it expects companies to obey local laws and respect international human rights wherever they operate in the world. However, when it comes to human rights, it continues to rely on voluntary measures... Following the October 2019 federal election, here are five actions that Canada’s next government should take to move the country forward on the corporate accountability file:

  • The new Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise should become more independent and be granted real powers of investigation...
  • Canadian companies should be required to conduct due diligence around human rights and demonstrate how they are minimizing the risks of adverse human rights impacts...
  • Export Development Canada’s legislation should be reformed to include explicit requirements on international human rights and gender equality...
  • The next government should ditch the 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy, which was rooted in a mantra of trade promotion, and adopt a Business and Human Rights Strategy that integrates Canada’s political, trade and development mandates...
  • Canada should join the community of nations who are working to develop and adopt a binding treaty on business and human rights at the United Nations.