Pressure building for human rights legislation for Canadian companies abroad

Momentum is growing around proposed federal legislation to prevent human rights abuses abroad by Canadian corporations.

Like many unions, PSAC has a Social Justice Fund to advance union values of solidarity and social justice in Canada and around the world. As part of these efforts, PSAC supports the work of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) to hold Canadian corporations to account.

Bill to protect people and the planet warrants bipartisan support 

Canadian companies often profit from overseas operations that harm both people and the planet. This harm isn’t trivial. It ranges from forced labour – tantamount to modern slavery – to permanent land and water contamination, and forcibly relocating or subduing populations to make room for Canadian mining operations. 

Thanks to CNCA’s work, NDP Member of Parliament Peter Julian tabled Bill C-262, The Corporate Responsibility to Protect Human Rights Act, on March 29. The legislation would require corporations to prevent, address and remedy adverse impacts on human rights occurring in relation to business activities conducted abroad. The bill would provide victims of human and environmental rights violations the mechanisms to take legal action in Canadian courts.

The bill would also require Canadian companies to review all their business activities, identify actual and potential risks to people and the planet, take steps to mitigate the risks and provide remedy to those that are harmed.

Building support and forging ahead

With the bill now tabled, CNCA is working to build on this initiative by raising awareness of the bill with all elected members of Parliament.

CNCA hosted a roundtable discussion on April 27 featuring a powerful panel of international human rights defenders speaking about the abuses of Canadian companies in the Global South.

The hope is to build support for the bill both in Parliament and across the country to hold Canadian companies operating abroad to account.

Learn more about the campaign here.


April 27, 2022