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6 Jan 2022

Canadian Bar Association /Association du Barreau Canadien

Canadian Bar Association publishes guide to help lawyers incorporate more business & human rights law in their legal practice


"Business and Human Rights Guide", 28 Dec 2021

In a world that requires businesses to respect human rights throughout their operations and relationships, this guide hopes to assist businesses and their counsel to seize an opportunity for a more just and equitable future.

Businesses, including their subsidiaries and partners, are not isolated from the societies in which they operate, nor are they insulated from events occurring in places where they secure raw materials and other goods... [C]ompanies in Canada and across the globe are being required to examine their operations to ascertain what links, if any, they have to any ongoing human rights abuses in these territories. Situations like these will continue to present themselves, and will require Canadian lawyers and their clients to examine operations and formulate responses. This guide is meant to assist Canadian (external and in-house) practitioners with these efforts.

More fundamentally, this guide aims to help prevent Canadian lawyers and their clients from being caught up in these situations in the first place or to have responses in place if they are. Businesses increasingly face legal and reputational exposure for failures to respect human rights in Canadian courts and non-judicial fora reviewing allegations of human rights abuses by Canadian companies operating overseas. Lawyers are well-placed to counsel their clients and help them assess their need for awareness of human rights impacts in their business as a component of business risk...

This guide will assist law firms, lawyers and their clients in meeting the primary expectation of businesses to respect human rights, according to the second pillar of the UNGPs...

This guide intends to offer a Canadian perspective to complement the existing resources Canadian lawyers and businesses can draw on...