Canadian companies have been linked to allegations of killings, torture, forced labour, arbitrary detention and intimidation amongst other abuses, according to six new reports published this morning by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA).
The reports document allegations that Nygard International, Torex Gold Resources Inc., Feronia Inc., Barrick Gold Corporation, Goldcorp Canada Ltd., and corporate customers of medical glove-makers Top Glove and Supermax contributed to a range of human rights and environmental abuses. (See all the case studies for details.)
“These reports show that serious abuses linked to Canadian companies and their subsidiaries overseas are ongoing and widespread,” said the CNCA’s Policy Director, Emily Dwyer. “We need strong laws, such as corporate due-diligence legislation that empowers victims to seek remedy, including through access to Canadian courts.”
Over the past week, these concerns were raised with the Standing Committee on International Trade, whose members are studying the harmful impacts of Canadian mining companies abroad in the wake of a string of lawsuits alleging severe harms. CNCA member-organisations Oxfam Canada, MiningWatch Canada, KAIROS Canada and the United Steelworkers (USW) attested to reports of widespread human rights and environmental abuse.
“The best way to end abuse of people and the planet by Canadian mining corporations is to fix how we regulate Canadian corporations in general,” said Catherine Coumans, Research Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada. “These case studies show what you get with a decade of voluntary measures. Ultimately, corporations need to be held accountable.”
“Canadians don’t want our companies associated with or importing goods that were made with forced or child labour, or other abuse of human rights and the environment,” said Meg Gingrich of the United Steelworkers.
“Canada has a legal and ethical duty to uphold respect for human rights everywhere,” said Silvia Vasquez-Olguin, Global Partnership Coordinator at KAIROS Canada. “We need a strong law, such as Private Members bill C-262 on mandatory corporate due-diligence, that reins in abuse by Canadian-based multinationals.”