On January 17, 2018, the federal government announced two new initiatives relating to the oversight of Canadian companies doing business abroad.

The first initiative is the creation of an independent Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). The mandate of the CORE will be to investigate allegations of human rights abuses linked to Canadian corporate activity abroad. The Ombudsperson will undertake independent and/or collaborative fact-finding, make recommendations, and monitor the implementation of its recommendations. It will also report on its activities to the public throughout this process. The Ombudsperson will have the power to initiate investigations, compel witnesses and documents, and recommend sanctions.

The CORE will initially focus on the mining, oil and gas, and garment sectors. However, it is expected to expand to other business sectors within a year of the Ombudsperson taking office.

The second initiative announced is a multi-stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct to advise the federal government on the development and implementation of its laws, policies and practices in relation to oversight of Canadian companies operating abroad. The Advisory Body will also provide advice on the operating procedures adopted by the CORE.

Additional information about the CORE and Advisory Body can be found on the Global Affairs Canada website.

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