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15 Jul 2019

Development and Peace - Caritas Canada

Fourteen civil society groups & labour unions quit advisory panel to protest government inaction on corporate accountability

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"Development and Peace quits important advisory panel to protest government inaction on corporate accountability," 15 July 2019

On July 11, 2019, Development and Peace — Caritas Canada, along with 13 civil society and labour union partners, resigned from the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct. The body was created in January 2018 to advise the federal government on “laws, policies and practices addressing business and human rights and responsible business conduct for Canadian companies operating abroad” and on “the mandate of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise.”... Hopes of helping create an influential public watchdog were dashed in April 2019, when the government appointed... a largely toothless special advisor to the Minister of International Trade Diversification with few investigatory powers...This retreat was another of the years-long delays in the creation of the ombudsperson.

Advocacy and Research Program Officer, Elana Wright, who represented Development and Peace on the advisory body, said, “The government created high expectations for communities around the world that are affected by Canadian mining companies. But they have let us down by defanging the ombudsperson’s office ...even with this setback, there is a way for the government to restore its credibility and signal that it is serious about holding Canadian corporations to account. It can grant investigatory powers to the ombudsperson via the Inquiries Act, as a bridge towards legislation by the next government."