In the news

Below is a selection of news articles on issues related to the work of the CNCA. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the network.


Blog post: Canada is moving towards effective corporate oversight with new human rights watchdog

30 January, 2018

Canada’s new ombudsperson will be tasked with investigating complaints from around the world and will be founded on the principles of “advancing human rights and assisting Canada in fulfilling its international human rights obligations”. The ombudsperson will be mandated to investigate; make public findings on allegations of harm; issue recommendations to remedy -and prevent- harm; and monitor the implementation of those recommendations.

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Minister of International Trade poised to announce an ombudsperson early in 2018

12 December, 2017

The Minister of International Trade – for the first time – publicly declares that an ombudsperson will be created.

“Ottawa plans early next year to create an independent office to oversee Canadian mining, oil and gas companies’ activities abroad. The office would have both an “advisory and robust investigative mandate.

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Op Ed: Mining group tells government to stand on wrong end of elephant

14 June, 2017

In cases where dispute resolution is not appropriate—where, for example, the interests of the parties do not overlap or where the complainants fear retaliation—the necessary tool is an objective, independent investigation of compliance with the relevant standards. In such cases, the subject of that investigation never participates in investigating itself.

In order to begin to level the playing field, Canada needs an independent, well-resourced, robust non-judicial grievance mechanism with all of the necessary tools at its disposal, including independent investigation and a process to promote implementation of recommendations.


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Op-ed: Don’t confuse dialogue with accountability in ombudsman debate

12 June, 2017

Opinion piece by CNCA member Above Ground’s director Karyn Keenan, published in The Hill Times

UN experts, having just completed a mission to Canada, are urging the Canadian government to take a tougher line on business-related human rights violations.

Among other recommendations, the UN is calling for the creation of an extractive industries human rights ombudsperson that is independent and well resourced, with the power to investigate allegations, conduct fact-finding, and enforce its orders.


For years, the Canadian government has spoken of its “expectation” that Canadian companies will meet the “highest ethical standards” when operating abroad. It’s time to create a mechanism capable of finding out if this expectation is in fact being met, in a sector where significant risk of human rights abuse is well documented.

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Honduran activist wants Trudeau to pressure Canadian mining companies on human rights abuses (The Toronto Star)

16 August, 2016

(16 August 2016) “[Honduran priest and activist Father] Melo wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Honduras. The priest wrote a letter to Trudeau this May, on behalf of more than 200 human rights and environmental groups, asking him to ensure mining companies operating outside Canada comply with international environmental and human rights standards and not displace local communities without prior consultation.”

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Canada lent billions to oil, gas and mining companies. Then it made a profit (National Observer)

16 June, 2016

(16 June 2016) “Keenan’s organization however, has also examined a range of mining projects supported by EDC [Export Development Canada] and questions whether the federal organization does the right type of screening to avoid the wrong types of projects.

“For 20 years, we’ve been questioning their policies,” she says. “We think they’re inadequate… we don’t think they are nearly robust enough.””

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