While Canadian companies have a responsibility to respect human rights, they can often avoid fulfilling that responsibility because binding rules do not exist, are not enforced, or because companies structure their global operations to avoid liability. Mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation would change that.
To date, Canada has relied almost exclusively on voluntary approaches to prevent, address and remedy serious harms. Voluntary approaches, in Canada and elsewhere, have proven on their own to be ineffective at curbing corporate abuse. Employment and Social Development Canada’s 2022 report Labour Exploitation in Global Supply Chains: What We Heard Report makes reference to several voluntary initiatives that are “relevant to tackling labour exploitation in global supply chains.”
None of the initiatives reduce the need for Canada to introduce comprehensive human rights and environmental due diligence legislation.