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24 Nov 2020

Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise

Participants in CORE listening tour agree that Canadian companies must improve practices to identify, address & remedy human rights abuses

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As the starting point for our work, we launched a consultation process in May 2019 to hear from our public, private, and plural stakeholders regarding our mandate... The listening tour involved conversations with over 200 domestic and international stakeholders... Shared perspectives:

  • Canadian companies can and must improve practices to identify, address, and remedy human rights abuses linked to their operations...
  • It is important to keep individuals and communities safe and prevent harm--in general, but also in the context of a CORE review...
  • The need to clarify CORE’s unique role, how it is different from other bodies... All three stakeholder groups were unsure about what CORE is mandated to do, and how we are different from other bodies, such as the National Contact Point.

Differing perspectives:

  • Whether voluntary measures are sufficient or stronger measures are needed.
  • Whether dialogue/mediation is an effective means for resolving human rights issues.
  • Balancing protections for complainants and others through anonymity while preventing potential harms from unfounded claims against companies...

... Our private stakeholders preferred voluntary, industry-led approaches to encourage respect for human rights. They preferred dialogue and mediation as a means for resolving human rights issues. By contrast, our plural and some of our public stakeholders were vocal that voluntary approaches are not working, and that stronger mechanisms are needed to encourage respect for human rights and responsible business conduct. Options offered included legislation, financial measures, mandatory disclosures, and due diligence requirements.