Canada: Failure to adapt to new human rights regulatory environment exposes companies to legal liability & reputational challenges, say lawyers

Author: Josh Scheinert & Milos Barutciski, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, on Mondaq, Published on: 18 December 2018

"Canada: Business And Human Rights: The Stakes Continue To Grow", 12 Dec 2018

...The takeaway after three days at the 7th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is clear: businesses that do not take proactive steps to assess and mitigate their human rights impacts will be offside in the evolving regulatory landscape and find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

As national regulatory regimes and stakeholder expectations expand in the area of business and human rights (BHR), success in foreign markets will require Canadian businesses to meet the new regulations and expectations...

Failure to adapt to this new regulatory environment exposes companies to legal liability as well as reputational challenges. Plaintiffs from around the world have launched class action claims against several Canadian companies for alleged human rights abuses and Canadian courts have shown a willingness to adjudicate these claims. Increased regulation and oversight of global business will inevitably result in further claims against Canadian businesses...

Due diligence and analysis of third party information is only the starting point. Companies must also be prepared to react when presented with conclusions that a business activity or relationship potentially contributes to a human rights violation...

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