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17 Jan 2018

Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability

Communities impacted by Canadian corporations overseas will be heard: Gov't creates human rights watchdog

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"Press release: At last, communities impacted by Canadian corporations overseas will be heard: Government creates human rights watchdog," 17 January 2018

The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) is greatly encouraged by the Minister of International Trade's announcement of the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise. The human rights ombudsperson will investigate complaints concerning the overseas operations of Canadian companies and will issue public findings on allegations of harm. The office will make recommendations for redress; regarding corporate eligibility for government services; and with respect to policy and law reform.

... “Our primary goal in working for the creation of this office has been to ensure access to remedy for the mining-affected people,” said Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada. “In nearly 20 years we have seen the level of human rights abuses and mining-related conflict increase globally as companies push deeper into remote areas and onto the lands of Indigenous peoples.”... “Sexual violence against women – especially Indigenous women – has been associated with Canadian commercial projects overseas,” said Jean Symes of Inter Pares.

... “Canada’s new corporate accountability watchdog must be transparent and free from political interference when seeking information on company activities that impact local communities,” said Ian Thomson, Extractive Industries Policy Specialist of Oxfam Canada... “Canadians have been asking for the creation of an ombudsperson since 2006,” said Serge Langlois, Executive Director of Development and Peace-Caritas Canada. “Today’s announcement responds to a decade of actions by over 500,000 Canadians calling on the government to create an ombudsperson.”