Support for Canadian mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation

As civil society organizations, trade unions, investors and/or subject-matter experts from around the world committed to upholding human rights (including Indigenous Peoples’ rights), environmental protection, climate-change action, and fostering equitable and sustainable economic development, we call on the Government of Canada to adopt legislation requiring Canadian companies[1] to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence throughout their global operations and supply chains.

The draft model legislation the Corporate Respect for Human Rights and Environment Abroad Act (May 31, 2021) proposed by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) acknowledges that all human rights are worthy of protection, moves beyond the limitations of voluntary initiatives and reporting-only approaches, provides insight on important human rights and environmental considerations, and lays the groundwork for more robust and comprehensive human rights and environmental due diligence legislation in Canada.

The CNCA’s proposed new law will:

  1. establish a corporate duty to prevent human rights abuses and environmental damage;
  2. create a corporate obligation to undertake comprehensive human rights due diligence; and
  3. establish a right of action in Canadian courts (civil lawsuit) if Canadian companies, their subsidiaries, suppliers or subcontractors cause human rights abuse or environmental damage abroad. It would also establish a right of action if companies don’t develop, implement or report on adequate human rights and environmental due diligence procedures.

Adopting legislation such as the Corporate Respect for Human Rights and Environment Abroad Act (May 31, 2021) will incentivize Canadian companies to proactively prevent harms to human rights and environment, recognize the right to remedy for negatively impacted peoples, and help the Canadian government fulfill its international human rights responsibilities as set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

[1]Canadian companies includes those that are domiciled in Canada and those who sell goods or services in Canada if they also have a physical connection to Canada.

LIST OF SIGNATORIES | LISTE DES SIGNATAIRES

  1. Above Ground
  2. Americas Policy Group
  3. Æquo, Services d’engagement actionnarial
  4. Amnesty International Canada
  5. Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI)
  6. Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network (ARSN)
  7. Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)
  8. Canadian Jesuits International
  9. Canadian Labour Congress
  10. Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR)
  11. Centre Oblat • A Voice for Justice
  12. Centre international de solidarité ouvrière (CISO)
  13. Climate Action Network
  14. CoDevelopment Canada (CoDev)
  15. Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL)
  16. Council of Canadians – Le Conseil Des Canadiens
  17. Development and Peace: Caritas Canada
  18. Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (CSN)
  19. Friends of the Earth Canada
  20. Grandmothers Advocacy Network
  21. Inter Pares
  22. KAIROS : Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
  23. Le Regroupement pour la Responsabilité Sociale des Entreprises (RRSE)
  24. Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL)
  25. Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network
  26. Maquila Solidarity Network
  27. Mennonite Central Committee
  28. MiningWatch Canada
  29. Office for Systemic Justice, Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada
  30. Oil Change International
  31. Oxfam Canada
  32. Oxfam Québec
  33. Projet Accompagnement Québec-Guatemala (PAQG)
  34. Public Service Alliance of Canada – Alliance de la Fonction publique du Canada
  35. Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE)
  36. UFCW Canada
  37. UNIFOR
  38. The United Church of Canada
  39. United Steelworkers
  40. World Vision

International*

  1. Accountability Counsel
  2. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
  3. Corporate Justice Coalition (UK)
  4. Due Process of Law Foundation
  5. European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ)
  6. International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (US)
  7. Investors Alliance for Human Rights
  8. Project HEARD (Netherlands)
  9. Project Demokratie Cafe Reutlingen (Germany)
  10. Gaia Amazonas (Colombia)

*See also letter from 150+ groups working with directly- impacted communities in 32 countries / Voir  également la lettre de 150+ groupes travaillant avec des personnes directement touchées en 32 pays: https://bit.ly/3Fy4KoA