The United Steelworkers Dismisses Government Announcement and Renews Calls for Independent Ombudsperson

TORONTO – The United Steelworkers (USW) reacted angrily to today’s announcement by International Trade Diversification Minister Carr that a powerless special advisor has been appointed to address long-standing human rights concerns related to the Canadian corporate behaviour overseas.

“It has been evident for years that an independent, effective human rights ombudsperson is desperately needed to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by Canadian companies operating overseas. Unfortunately, today’s announcement by the Liberal Government failed to act on this need, betraying the Liberal promise made in the last federal election, and reneging on their announcement of January 2018,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada. 

“The government has had 4 years to make good on their campaign promise.  A year ago, it appeared that they were going to do so.  With today’s announcement by Minister Carr of the appointment of a special advisor, without the powers of an effective ombudsperson, this government has again disappointed thousands of Canadians who were expecting serious action on human rights,” said Neumann.

“We can’t help but wonder if today’s announcement is an example of back-room pressure by well connected corporate lobbyists.  How else can today’s announcement of the need for yet more study be explained?” asked Neumann.

The United Steelworkers are calling on this government to immediately appoint a human rights ombudsperson under the Inquires Act, with the power to compel evidence from Canadians and Canadian companies.

The United Steelworkers endorses the statement of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability issued today. 



For further information:

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


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