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Minister Carr announces appointment of first Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise

April 8, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

Canadian businesses demonstrate leadership around the world when they engage in responsible business practices while ensuring that more people can benefit from the opportunities that flow from trade and investment.

The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, today announced the appointment of Sheri Meyerhoffer as Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), underscoring Canada’s continued commitment to advancing responsible business conduct abroad. The position is the first of its kind in the world.

Ms. Meyerhoffer is mandated to review allegations of human rights abuses arising from the operations of Canadian companies abroad. Recommendations made by the Ombudsperson will be reported publicly, and companies that do not cooperate could face trade measures, including the withdrawal of trade advocacy services and future Export Development Canada support. While serving in this role, the new Ombudsperson will focus on the mining, oil and gas, and garment sectors and is expected to expand to other sectors in the first year of operation.

This appointment underlines the importance of inclusive trade and respect for the fundamental rights of people abroad, as part of Canada’s trade diversification strategy, and reflects Canada’s commitment to responsible business around the world. Ms. Meyerhoffer has a strong background as an experienced Canadian lawyer in both the private and international development sectors. Her important work as a global governance and diversity expert assisting countries in transition will be invaluable in her new role as Ombudsperson.

The appointment of the CORE is the result of the new approach to Governor-in-Council appointments: an open, transparent and merit-based selection process developed to attract high-quality candidates while reflecting gender parity and Canada’s diversity.

Quotes

“The creation of our Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise sets a new standard in promoting responsible business conduct globally. Building on Canada’s expertise and leadership in corporate responsibility, the Ombudsperson will help to ensure Canadian companies are upholding Canadian values and ideals, wherever they operate.”

– Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification

“Canadian companies in the natural resource sectors are recognized for their social and environmentally responsible operations, and for their commitment to engaging local communities and partners. Our government welcomes the appointment of the first Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise to uphold the high standards many Canadian companies follow.”

– Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“Canadian industry is a key player in promoting Canadian values and expertise around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with them on our shared goal to advance responsible business practices abroad.”

– Sheri Meyerhoffer, Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise

Quick facts

  • In January 2018, the Government of Canada announced new elements for responsible business conduct abroad:
    • an Ombudsperson
    • a Multi-stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct
  • To date, the Advisory Body has held two meetings to help ensure that Canada’s related policies and Canadian business operations abroad can foster inclusive economic growth and respect for human rights.
  • The Ombudsperson will be guided by internationally respected norms, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
  • The roles of the new ombudsperson and the existing Canadian National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are complementary. The Ombudsperson may refer cases to the NCP, where appropriate, and where parties are in agreement.

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