After more than a decade of grassroots efforts from the part of civil society, labor unions, and religious groups—including KAIROS and network members—the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise (CORE) and the Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct Abroad (Advisory Board) in January 2018. According to the announcement, the office of the CORE would be independent and investigate allegations of human rights abuses connected to Canadian companies operating abroad; the Advisory Board’s purpose was to, among other things, advise the Government on corporate social responsibility and human rights.
In April 2019, the Government announced the appointment of the Ombudsperson and revealed that the CORE would have no investigatory powers, effectively breaking its promise. The Government’s backtracking and unwillingness to use the Inquiries Act to grant the CORE investigatory powers led to the mass resignation of all fourteen civil society and labor union representatives of the Advisory Board over the summer of 2019.
KAIROS continues to advocate and call for the Government of Canada to address corporate misconduct in the extractive sector through an independent Ombudsperson with the full powers to investigate allegations of human rights and environmental abuses overseas.
KAIROS is a member of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), which works tirelessly to ensure that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies respect human rights and the environment when working abroad. The CNCA advocates for policy and law reform, monitors government policy and provides advice to ensure that both government and business uphold Canada’s international human rights and environmental commitments.