51 Canadian organisations call on Canada to close the international accountability gap in the extractive sector

14 July 2016

Canadian Civil Society Statement: Closing the International Accountability Gap in the Extractive Sector

As organizations committed to upholding human rights, environmental protection, and fostering equitable and sustainable economic development, we recognize that there are significant challenges associated with resource extraction in developing countries. We call on the Government of Canada to ensure that people harmed by the overseas operations of Canadian mining, oil and gas companies are able to access justice in Canada.

Canada is home to more than half of the world’s mining companies, with active projects in more than 100 countries. Environmental damage and human rights violations, including forced displacement and failure to respect the right of Indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent, violation of women’s rights and violation of children’s rights, have been associated with many of these projects. Those who are harmed often have nowhere to seek effective redress.

Given the existing international accountability gap, we ask the Government of Canada to take the following measures to ensure that those who are negatively affected by these operations can seek remedy in Canada:

  1. Create a human rights Ombudsperson for the international extractive sector, which is independent, impartial and empowered to investigate (including using gender-based analysis), report publicly and make recommendations to companies and to the government;
  1. Facilitate access to Canadian courts for people who have been seriously harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies, especially marginalized groups such as Indigenous peoples and women, who tend to face greater barriers in accessing justice.

Instituting these measures will help ensure that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies live up to international human rights, labour and environmental standards, including those outlined in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Signed:

1.    Above Ground

2.    Africa-Canada Forum

3.    Alberta Council for Global Cooperation

4.    Americas Policy Group

5.    Amnesty International Canada

6.    Amnistie internationale Canada francophone

7.    L’Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale

8.    British Colombia Teachers’ Federation

9.    Canada Tibet Committee

10. Canadian Council for International Cooperation

11. Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)

12. Canadian Jesuits International

13. Canadian Labour Congress

14. Canadian Union of Postal Workers

15. Canadian Union of Public Employees

16. Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability

17. Centre d’étude et de coopération internationale

18. Citizens for Public Justice

19. CoDevelopment Canada

20. Common Frontiers

21. Committee for human rights in Latin America

22. Crossroads International

23. Development and Peace

24. David Suzuki Foundation

25. Friends of the Earth Canada

26. Justice and Corporate Accountability Project

27. Inter Pares

28. KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives

29. L’Entraide Missionnaire

30. Mennonite Central Committee Canada

31. Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network

32. Mining Injustice Solidarity Network

33. MiningWatch Canada

34. Pacific Peoples Partnership

35. Plan International Canada

36. Public Service Alliance of Canada

37. Publish What You Pay Canada

38. Oxfam Quebec

39. Oxfam Canada

40. Save the Children

41. Sierra Club of BC Foundation

42. Social Justice Connection

43. Solidarité Laurentides Amérique Centrale

44. Steelworkers Humanity Fund

45. Stop the Institute (UBC)

46. Unifor

47. United Church of Canada

48. United Steelworkers Union

49. World University Service of Canada

50. World Vision Canada

51. World Renew

 

For a pdf of the Canadian civil society statement, please click here.