The Government of Canada brings leadership to responsible business conduct abroad

News Release

January 17, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring Canadians everywhere can have confidence in our world-class companies and trust that international trade and investment is working for all.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, today announced two new initiatives to strengthen Canada’s approach to responsible business conduct for Canadian companies doing business and operating abroad.

The first is the creation of an independent Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), the first of its kind in the world. The CORE will be mandated to investigate allegations of human rights abuses linked to Canadian corporate activity abroad. The CORE will seek to assist wherever possible in collaboratively resolving disputes or conflicts between impacted communities and Canadian companies. It will be empowered to independently investigate, report, recommend remedy and monitor its implementation. The CORE’s scope will be multi-sectoral, initially focussing on the mining, oil and gas, and garment sectors, with the expectation to expand within a year of the Ombudsperson taking office to other business sectors. The creation of the CORE sets a new global benchmark to ensure responsible business conduct globally.

The second is the creation of a multi-stakeholder Advisory Body to advise the Government and the CORE on responsible business conduct abroad.

Progressive trade only succeeds when it works for everyone, including those most directly affected and least able to defend themselves. Building on Canada’s existing expertise and leadership in corporate social responsibility (CSR), these measures will be “best in class,” reinforcing Canada’s approach to inclusive economic growth, and helping keep Canadian companies at the forefront of responsible business conduct abroad, a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. This announcement also initiates a new era of cooperation between government, business and non-governmental organizations to ensure greater respect for human rights. 


Quotes

“Canada’s leadership in strengthening responsible business conduct abroad reflects the values supported by Canada’s progressive trade agenda where all parties should benefit from economic development, and contributes to Canada’s reputation as an international business partner of choice.”

- François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade

“Canadian companies are recognized globally for their leadership in ethical, social, and environmental practices. We will continue to support sustainable natural resource development – at home and abroad – that respects human rights and promotes community-level partnerships. ”

- Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy supports inclusive governance and growth that works for everyone. Well-governed, responsibly-managed Canadian businesses are an important source of jobs, socio-economic development opportunities and government revenues in developing countries.”

- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

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