Amnesty International Canada

Canada's Corporate Watchdog
has no teeth

The Ombudsperson needs powers to hold companies accountable. 

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Fill out the form below to add your name to the call to give the Canadian Ombudsperson real powers of oversight.

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Tell Minister Carr that Canada needs a corporate watchdog with teeth

On April 8, 2019 the Minister of International Trade Diversification, the Honorable Jim Carr, announced that Canada had appointed a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise to review allegations of human rights abuses committed overseas by Canadian companies.

But he broke several key promises to give the office the independence and investigatory powers needed to make a difference.

Environmental and Indigenous rights defenders have been threatened, attacked, displaced, criminalized and sometimes killed for speaking up to defend their rights in the face of unwanted resource extraction projects. Workers making clothes for the Canadian market have faced labour abuses, health harms and have even lost their lives. Whole communities have suffered.

Canadians campaigned for years for an Ombudsperson with powers to independently investigate complaints of human rights abuses committed overseas by Canadian companies and to make recommendations to government regarding sanctions, remedy and prevention of future harm.

Join us in calling for an Ombudsperson who can truly hold companies accountable.

We only have a few short weeks to act.

Minister Carr: we demand you keep your promise! 


Dear Minister Carr:

In January 2018, the government of Canada announced the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by Canadian companies operating overseas. But the post sat vacant for 15 months.

Now, you have appointed a watchdog without independence or investigatory powers and  with a narrow mandate.

I am deeply disappointed and worried about what this announcement means for people and communities harmed by Canadian extractives and garment industries.

I call on you to grant the CORE, under the Inquiries Act, the power to: undertake full and independent investigations of allegations of human rights abuse by Canadian extractives and garment companies, report publicly and make recommendations to remedy the harms caused by Canadian companies overseas. The CORE must have the power to compel documents and witnesses in order to be effective.

Anything less is a setback for corporate accountability in Canada and undermines respect for human rights.

We were promised a watchdog with powers to hold companies accountable. But without independence, the power to compel documents or testimony from those accused of human rights abuses or - except in rare circumstances – the ability to investigate abuses that happened before April 8, 2019, this announcement is a step backwards for corporate accountability in Canada.

Minister Carr should not turn Canada’s back on environmental and human rights defenders who are being jailed, exiled, threatened or killed for upholding their rights in the face of Canadian mining projects and defending their rights in factories where they make clothes for Canadian garment industries. 

What do we need in an Ombudsperson?

The Ombudsperson should be able to:


Remedy and prevent future harm.


Independently investigate complaints of human rights abuses by Canadian extractives companies.


Make recommendations to government regarding sanctions.



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