New office will soon take complaints about Canadian firms acting badly abroad – by Jolson Lim ( – November 3, 2020)


A new office formed by the Trudeau government to handle complaints of human-rights abuses perpetrated by Canadian companies operating overseas is set to go operational this month — but without the power to compel firms to hand over evidence.

The Canada Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), which was first announced in January 2018, is close to finalizing its operating procedures, and expects to launch its complaints mechanism at the end of November.

The office was created to respond to concerns there’s been little oversight of the conduct of Canadian companies — specially those in mining, oil, gas, and clothing manufacturing — that operate in poorer countries.

As it was first envisioned, CORE would independently investigate, report on, and recommend remedies for complaints of bad conduct abroad. In April 2019, the government announced that lawyer Sheri Meyerhoffer would be CORE’s ombudsperson.

However, the office’s launch has been delayed while industry and civil-society organizations strongly disagree over whether to give CORE the teeth to compel corporations to hand over documents and witness testimony.

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