In April 2019 then minister of international trade Jim Carr commissioned an external legal review to advise him on “how best to equip the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) with sufficient tools to engage in credible and effective investigations of alleged human rights abuse and to ensure that she has the powers to compel witnesses and documents.”
For a year and a half the government buried the results of the “time-bound” external legal review and failed to give the CORE the powers that were promised, and that the review confirms are needed.
Today, the report has finally been made public: not by the government, but by civil society.
Key observations from the McIsaac report:
- “While the best way to ensure that the CORE has the necessary powers to compel witnesses and the production of documents would be to enact legislation to establish the CORE, appointing the CORE as a commissioner under Part I of the Inquiries Act could also achieve that objective, while, at the same time, retaining the overall mandate currently envisaged for the CORE.” (emphasis added)
- “If the CORE is structured as an ombudsperson appointed as a Ministerial Advisor, as is currently the case, its effectiveness will be dependent on the cooperation of the complainant and the entity being investigated.” (emphasis added)
- “…it is fair to say that without a way to compel the cooperation of the entities against which a complaint is made or others who may hold relevant information, the CORE’s effectiveness may be compromised.” (emphasis added)