At the core of the Open for Justice campaign is the demand to create an ombudsperson to handle the grievances of people affected by Canadian oil, gas and mining companies abroad.
An effective ombudsperson would investigate allegations of human rights abuse or environmental damage and form an opinion on whether companies are causing or contributing to harm. He or she would also make public recommendations of actions that could be taken by companies or the Canadian government to stop abuses, provide remedy to victims or prevent future harm.
Nearly a decade has passed since industry and civil society leaders recommended the Canadian government create such an office. More than 100,000 Canadians and hundreds of civil society organizations from Canada and abroad have since added their voice to the call for an ombudsperson.
In 2015, the federal Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Green Party and Bloc Quebecois each committed to creating a human rights ombudsperson for the extractive sector.
We’ve now reached a critical moment: according to media reports, the government is expected to announce a plan for the creation of an ombudsperson by March 2017.
Now is the time for Canadians to speak up and insist the government
create an ombudsperson office that’s independent and effective.
The CNCA has developed model legislation showing exactly how that could be done. The Global Leadership in Business and Human Rights Act provides a blueprint for legislators, setting out the essential elements that should be included in any bill to create an ombudsperson to handle complaints of wrongdoing by Canadian extractive companies overseas.
Other essential reading
“Talk is Not Enough” – Why we need an ombudsperson, and how this office would compare to Canada’s two existing ineffective grievance mechanisms
Parliamentary report card
See which parties and MPs have demonstrated a commitment to creating an ombudsperson
Criteria for an effective ombudsperson:
Download the full infographic (PDF format)