The Office of the Canadian Ombudsperson For Responsible Enterprise (“CORE’) is open for business. Established by Order in Council and not legislation, CORE has no enforcement powers nor can it compel witnesses to appear or even cooperate. This has disappointed many advocates. CORE can conduct reviews “concerning an alleged human rights abuse” arising from a Canadian company’s operations abroad. “Canadian company” for these purposes is defined as an entity incorporated in Canada that operates abroad in the garment, mining or oil and gas sectors. Notably, this definition will include an entity that the Canadian company controls, directly or indirectly, thereby possibly embracing foreign suppliers and contractors. Human rights abuses would include the full range of human rights recognized and protected in numerous universal declarations and covenants to which Canada is a Party. Reviews by CORE will result in reports and/or recommendations to the Government which could result in further action including withdrawal of trade financing support. It should be anticipated that the attention by CORE on foreign operations will raise reputational risk for Canadian companies. And so it should.
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Barry Campbell: email@example.com