Today the Minister of Trade announced the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise. The Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell, Moderator of The United Church of Canada, said in response to the announcement, "Individuals and communities impacted by Canadian mining operations around the world are counting on the ombudsperson’s office to prevent and redress human rights abuse by Canadian companies."

The United Church, as a member of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, is encouraged by today’s government announcement. As the CNCA stated:

We are greatly encouraged by the Honourable Minister of International Trade’s announcement today regarding the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise. 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 with respect to policy and law reform.

For global partners of the United Church, mining justice is a matter of faith as well as life and death. Partners in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have shared with The United Church of Canada stories of lives lost by those who speak out against the human rights abuses of some mining companies.

In response to the calls from global partners, United Church people across the country have written, met with, and called their members of Parliament to ask for the creation of an effective ombudsperson’s office. The United Church, as a member of the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability, looks forward to working with the federal government to live into the promise of what the extractive sector ombudsperson—as an independent, credible, impartial, and independent oversight mechanism—will mean for communities seeking redress when negatively affected by Canadian mining companies.

For more information, please contact:

Christie NeufeldtProgram Coordinator, Public Witness416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078
cneufeldt [at] united-church.ca