Today the federal government announced a budget increase for the office of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) but failed to deliver on its now years’ old promise to give the office teeth. The CORE remains powerless and will be ineffective in meeting the needs of impacted communities around the world seeking access to effective remedy.
Unless accompanied with the power to investigate, more money will NOT:
- fix the fact that the CORE does not have the necessary powers to do its job
- ensure that the office does not put people who have been harmed by Canadian companies in a worse situation than before
- hide the fact that the government bowed to industry pressure and gutted this office of the critical powers that were promised, and that are needed for it to be effective
- address the serious power imbalance between vulnerable communities and big business
- make up for the fact that impacted communities and individuals have once again been left without access to effective remedy when seeking to defend their rights against powerful Canadian corporations who are linked to allegations of serious abuses around the world.
Only the promised powers of independent investigation, including the power to compel documents and testimony can make the office effective and help impacted individuals and communities to access remedy.
Canada must live up to its international human rights obligations and give the CORE the promised – and needed – powers today.