News Release

Washington, D.C. hearing to spotlight the Canadian Government’s failure to prevent harm and ensure justice for mining-affected communities abroad

(Ottawa) The Canadian Government has failed to respond to a decade’s worth of recommendations to prevent and provide effective recourse for harms related to Canadian mining operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a report by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability that will be presented in a public hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, October 28th.

MiningWatch Canada, Osgoode Hall’s Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) will make presentations at the hearing. The Commission has requested the presence of the State of Canada, but it is not clear if they will participate.

According to documented evidence, systematic abuses have been taking place against Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, workers and the environment involving Canadian companies operating in Latin America and the Caribbean with strong support from the Canadian government. The report calls on the Canadian government to take measures to help prevent further harm, including to stop directing overseas development aid and diplomatic services toward the promotion of large-scale mineral extraction overseas. Further, to enact legislation such that Crown corporations, particularly those that finance and hold equity in companies, comply with international Indigenous and human rights obligations. The report also underscores the need for legally binding standards and effective recourse to address the negative impacts that mining is having on communities, workers and the environment because voluntary standards and other existing measures fall short.

This hearing is part of the 153rd Period of Sessions of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The IACHR is a regional human rights body and an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States. It holds hearings twice a year, in the fall and in the spring.

In October 2013, the IACHR heard from the Working Group on Mining and Human Rights in Latin America about systematic Indigenous and human rights violations against mining-affected communities. The Working Group profiled 22 case studies involving Canadian companies with strong support from the Canadian state and observed a troubling pattern of abuses.

This hearing comes on the heels of the defeat of Ombudsman Bill (Bill C-584) in the Canadian House of Commons. Tabled by Quebec MP Ѐve Péclet, the bill called for the creation of an independent extractive sector ombudsman with power to investigate and make recommendations regarding the human rights impact of Canadian mining companies operating abroad. 

WHAT: IACHR Hearing: Impact of Canadian Mining Activities on Human Rights in Latin America

WHO: Representatives from MiningWatch Canada, Osgoode Hall’s Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) will make presentations. The Commission has requested the presence of the State of Canada, but it is not clear if they will participate.

WHEN & WHERE: Tuesday, October 28 from 10:45am to 11:45am in the Ruben Dario Room (Eighth Floor), Inter American Commission on Human Rights (1889 F St. N.W., Washington D.C.). The event will likely be videotaped and livestreamed for which available links will be provided prior to the hearing.

Contacts: 

  • Ian Thomson, Coordinator, Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability, ithomson(at)kairoscanada.org, tel. (613) 235-9956 ext. 222
  • Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, jen(at)miningwatch.ca, (613) 569-3439
  • Shin Imai, Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and a director of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP), simai(at)justice-project.org, (416) 736-5274