A law for mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence
Around the world, other countries and jurisdictions are taking real action to end corporate impunity, with laws that require companies to take stock of how they may be contributing to human rights and environmental abuses, fix any problems they find, and do everything in their power to prevent future harm. If a company fails to do any of these things, people who have been negatively impacted by the company’s actions are empowered to seek justice in court. This is called human rights and environmental due diligence legislation.
Canada can pass this kind of legislation too. The CNCA’s model law, the Corporate Respect for Human Rights and the Environment Abroad Act, provides lawmakers with a blueprint for writing into Canadian law the corporate duty to respect human rights and the environment.
A law for a real watchdog on Canadian corporate abuse
In response to ongoing abuses of human rights and the environment by Canadian corporations and their subsidiaries around the world, Canada created a toothless Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), with no effective powers to investigate, no ability to do something meaningful if its investigations reveal wrongdoing, and no track record of moving quickly or being transparent despite a big budget and staff.
The CNCA’s model law, The Global Leadership in Business and Human Rights Act, would create a real corporate watchdog, with the power to compel the witnesses and documents it needs to undertake robust investigations, and the power to fine people and companies who obstruct or mislead investigations.