Proceed Quickly on New Ombudsperson, Steelworkers Urge Feds

OTTAWA – The United Steelworkers (USW) is calling for quick implementation of a new Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), announced today by the federal Minister of International Trade.

“The Minister is to be commended for seeing the need for an ombudsperson and for recognizing the positive contribution it can make in encouraging respect for human rights, improving the international reputation of Canadian companies and making Canada’s international mining sector stronger,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

“Now we need focused and swift action by the government to establish the new ombudsperson’s office and to implement measures entrenching the independence and investigatory powers of the office,” Neumann said.

“It has been evident for well over a decade that workers and communities too often had nowhere to turn when they saw their rights violated by Canadian companies in their global operations. Today, with the announcement of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, there is hope that in the coming months they will have an effective mechanism to make their case and seek remedies,” he added.

“We needed an independent ombudsperson up and running yesterday to investigate when there are credible allegations that Canadian mining companies do not respect basic workers’ rights and host countries fail to fairly regulate labour relations. At the Media Luna mine in Mexico, Canada’s Torex Gold continues to frustrate workers’ demand to exercise their right to join the union of their own choice. Likewise, allegations of rights violations by Excellon Resources at the La Platosa mine have never been resolved and the harm to local landholders and terminated workers continues.

“Today’s announcement is a credit to the determined effort of a very broad-based coalition of civil society groups that kept up the pressure for over a decade. The USW is a proud member of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability and we thank all of the coalition members for standing together.”

The USW also welcomes the announcement of the creation of a multi-stakeholder advisory body to advise government on issues of human rights and business internationally.

The USW is Canada’s leading mining union, representing thousands of workers across the country.


For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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