Canada Creates Human Rights Watchdog For Overseas Operations of Canadian Companies

OTTAWA, January 17, 2018 – Friends of the Earth is encouraged by the Government of Canada’s announcement today regarding the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise.

Canada’s Minister of International Trade, François-Philippe Champagne announced the long awaited office. The human rights ombudsperson will independently investigate complaints concerning the overseas operations of Canadian companies and will issue public findings regarding allegations of harm. The office will make recommendations for redress, regarding corporate eligibility for government services and regarding policy and law reform.

“The credibility of this new office depends on its freedom from political interference, transparency in its work and its power to access relevant information,” says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada. “The ombudsperson office must be equipped with the tools needed to compel corporate disclosure and with sufficient funding to deliver on its mandate.”

Friends of the Earth is a member of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability which will continue to work with the government to ensure that the new human rights ombudsperson has the powers and independence necessary to secure its credibility with all stakeholders, including the overseas communities impacted by Canadian companies. An effective ombudsperson office will help position Canada as a global leader in business and human rights.


Friends of the Earth Canada ( is the Canadian member of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network campaigning in 75 countries on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues.

The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability(CNCA) works to ensure that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies respect human rights and the environment overseas. Formed in 2005, the CNCA brings together 34 Canadian environmental, human rights, faith-based, labor and solidarity groups.  


For more information, contact:

Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada

Cell: (613) 724 8690


Emily Dwyer, Coordinator, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability

Cell: (819) 592-6657

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