Nearly a decade has passed since industry and civil society leaders recommended that the Canadian government create an ombudsperson to handle the grievances of people affected by Canadian oil, gas and mining companies abroad. The Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability (CNCA), a broad coalition of organizations committed to mining justice, has been working tirelessly since then with the goal of ensuring that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies respect human rights and the environment when working abroad.
In 2013, during the Voice for Justice campaign, more than 80,000 Development and Peace supporters sent action cards to the Prime Minister calling for an ombudsperson that would allow communities negatively affected by the activities of Canadian mining companies to seek justice. Hundreds of civil society organizations from Canada and abroad have added their voices to the call for an ombudsperson.
In 2015 during the federal election campaign, the Liberal Party committed to creating a human rights ombudsperson for the extractive sector. The Liberal government has still not fulfilled this promise, and patience is wearing thin.
As part of the Month for Mining Justice this May, Canadians mobilized across the country by meeting with their MPs, attending demonstrations, and sending messages to Prime Minister Trudeau, and Minister Champagne, the minister responsible for International Trade. Public actions were held in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Also in May, the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights toured Canada to hear from civil society, the private sector, and from government to determine whether Canada and its businesses are fulfilling their obligations as outlined in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. A report about how Canada is doing will be published by the UN Working Group in June.
To learn more:
- Development and Peace Advocacy Guide – Everything you need to know to bring your concerns about mining justice to your Member of Parliament.
- A thematic analysis: Women at the Heart of Change – The first section of this new Development and Peace publication explores the impact of mining on women and their communities, and how women are demanding that their rights and their environment be respected.
- “Talk is Not Enough”, CNCA – Why Canada needs an ombudsperson, and how this office would compare to Canada’s two existing ineffective grievance mechanisms.
- Parliamentary report card, CNCA – See which parties and MPs have demonstrated a commitment to creating an ombudsperson.