As people of faith we affirmed that we live with respect in creation, that “we cherish and respect the diversity of life and celebrate the beauty of the Earth. For us as members of one family, love and caring are the basis of our relationships with one another and with nature.” (One Earth Community, 1992).

Canada is home to half of the world’s mining and mineral exploration companies. United Church partners call us to respond to the grave injustices they face—environmental degradation, extrajudicial killings, incarceration, militarization, and intimidation of community leaders opposed to government policy. The United Church, as a member of the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability, was greatly encouraged by the Minister of International Trade’s announcement in January 2018 regarding the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise, the first of its kind in the world.

Ten months later, there is still no ombudsperson in place. Communities negatively affected by Canadian mining companies around the world are still waiting for access to justice.

We’re almost there. Call on Canada to continue to show global leadership and fulfill its promise.

Take Action

  1. Write to Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification and/or your member of Parliament. Express your support for the promised credible and effective ombudsperson with independent and strong investigative powers. Reiterate that Canada urgently needs an ombudsperson to offer access to justice for communities negatively affected by Canadian mining projects overseas. You can find your member of Parliament by entering your postal code on the Parliament of Canada website.
  2. Use the following texts to craft a social media message about the delayed ombudsperson.

    Sample social media posts:

    • Communities negatively affected by Canadian mining companies around the world have been waiting 10 months since the #ombuds with #power2investigate was announced. When will Canada be #open4justice?
    • It’s been 10 months since the ombuds announcement. When will we have an effective #ombuds to conduct independent investigations for communities affected by Canadian mining projects? #power2investigate
    • In January, we were promised an effective #ombuds to conduct independent investigations for communities affected by Canadian mining projects. When will we have an #ombuds with #power2investigate?
  3. Share this Take Action on your social media networks. Use the hashtags #UCCan, #open4justice, #ombuds, #power2investigate.

Background

Since 2015, United Church people across the country have been calling on the Canadian government to protect the dignity of human life and the sacredness of creation by creating an independent human rights ombudsperson with the power to hold Canadian mining companies responsible for their overseas operations. They have met with, called, and written to their members of Parliament and the minister of trade. They have done this in response to United Church partners who have also clearly called for the creation of the ombudsperson.

A United Church partner in the Philippines, writing to Prime Minister Trudeau, stated: “The creation of the new ombudsperson office is important not only for our organization, but for indigenous peoples and other communities affected by Canadian mining projects in the country, in bringing the human—and indigenous peoples’—rights violations committed to the attention of the Canadian government.”

Nearly a decade has passed since industry and civil society leaders recommended [PDF on pdac.ca] the Canadian government create such an office. More than 600,000 Canadians and hundreds of civil society organizations from Canada and abroad have since added their voice to the call for an ombudsperson.

In 2015, the federal Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Green Party and Bloc Quebecois each committed [PDF on cnca-rcrce.ca] to creating a human rights ombudsperson for the extractive sector. People and organizations around the world are calling on Canada to hold our companies to account; do your part to make Canada Open for Justice.

In early 2018, United Church partner The Christian Council of Zambia wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau “to appeal to [his] good office to strongly encourage and support the government of Canada to affirm the creation of the office of Human Rights Ombudsperson, being fully aware of the presence and influence of Canadian mining companies operating around the world and in particular in Africa.”

For more information, see Mining and Resource Extraction.

Send your letters and e-mails to:

Hon. Jim Carr
Minister of International Trade Diversification
jim.carr [at] parl.gc.ca

Dean Allison
Conservative Party of Canada
dean.allison [at] parl.gc.ca

Tracey Ramsey
New Democratic Party
tracey.ramsey [at] parl.gc.ca

Xavier Barsalou-Duval
Bloc Québécois
xavier.barsalou-duval.a1 [at] parl.gc.ca

Elizabeth May
Green Party of Canada
elizabeth.may [at] parl.gc.ca

Send copies of your letters and e-mails to:

cneufeldt [at] united-church.ca

For more information, contact:

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