Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Legislation in Canada

Canadian companies are implicated in human rights abuses and environmental damage around the globe and our government is failing to act. Canada has failed to establish rules that require Canadian companies to respect human rights and the environment overseas. Instead, Canada relies on a suite of voluntary measures to curb corporate abuse. Yet, decades of experience shows that voluntary measures do not work.

To end corporate impunity, several countries have enacted, or are in the process of developing, laws that require companies to review all their business activities, identify actual and potential risks to people and the planet, take steps to mitigate and address these risks, and ensure remedy for those harmed. This is called human rights and environmental due diligence.

Building on this global momentum, our newly released draft model legislation provides lawmakers with a blueprint for writing into Canadian law the corporate duty to respect human rights and the environment.


The draft model law, if adopted, would require Canadian companies to prevent human rights and environmental harm throughout their global operations and supply chains. If a company causes harm or fails to do its due diligence, it could be subject to legal action in Canada.

Over 150 organizations and unions that work with people impacted by the activities of Canadian companies in 32 countries around the world have endorsed the CNCA’s proposed law.

If adopted the CNCA’s model Corporate Respect for Human Rights and the Environment Abroad Act would:

  • Establish a corporate duty on companies linked to Canada to prevent human rights abuse and environmental harms.
  • Require companies to conduct due diligence and publicly report on the steps taken to prevent human rights and environmental harms.
  • Include significant consequences for companies that cause harm and/or fail to conduct due diligence.

Read and share this full infographic on the proposed Corporate Respect for Human Rights and the Environment Abroad Act.

Our model legislation would help prevent human rights abuse and environmental damage in the global operations and supply chains of companies linked to Canada, hold these companies accountable for their actions, and provide access to remedy for impacted communities.