Social Justice and Democracy

Canada’s unions disappointed that new Ombudsperson has been appointed without promised powers

April 8, 2019

Canada’s unions are disappointed that the long-awaited appointment of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) has not been accompanied by the promised power to investigate abuses and redress the harm caused by Canadian companies operating abroad.

In January 2018, the federal government publicly committed to creating an independent ombudsperson’s office with the power to order those under investigation to produce documents and testimony under oath.

“Today’s announcement naming an ombudsperson is a welcome step, however this post must hold investigatory powers in order to help ensure that Canadian corporations are compelled to respect their human rights obligations abroad,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

An ombudsperson is needed to investigate complaints of human rights violations and to redress harms when there is verifiable evidence these are linked to Canadian corporate abuse overseas. Canada needs an ombudsperson to help prevent Canadian complicity in corporate abuse and ensure Canadian mining and garment supply chains respect human rights.

“The commissioned legal review to determine the options to provide the advisor with investigatory powers must not be delayed,” said Yussuff. “Without investigatory capacity it is a powerless advisory post. We expect the required powers be assigned before the end of this electoral mandate,” he added.

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