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;
2. 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