Blog Entry

Take Action – Canada’s Promised Human Rights Ombudsperson Has Gone Missing

Catherine Coumans

Ph.D. Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator

Communities harmed by the overseas operations of Canadian extractive-sector companies are waiting for justice.

Canada is home to half of the world’s mining and mineral exploration companies. Our partners call on us to respond to the grave injustices they face—environmental degradation, extrajudicial killings, incarceration, militarization, and intimidation of community leaders opposed to government policy. MiningWatch Canada, as a member of the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability, was greatly encouraged by the Minister of International Trade’s announcement exactly one year ago, on January 17, 2018, regarding the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise ("CORE").

One year later, there is still no Ombudsperson in place. Communities negatively affected by Canadian mining companies around the world are still waiting for access to justice.

The fate of the Ombuds is on the Prime Minister’s desk this week. There has been intense lobbying by industry representatives against the ombudsperson having the power to compel documents and testimony. We must match that effort with our passion for justice.

Take Action

Don’t let us lose the Ombuds at the last minute. Urge your Member of Parliament to call the Prime Minister’s Office today!

Due to the urgency, rather than a letter or email, please call your Member of Parliament's constituency office and ask them to call the Prime Minister’s office now and:

Urge the government to keep its promise:

  • Give the Ombudsperson the power to compel the truth
  • Give the Ombudsperson independence from government
  • Do it now! It is already a year since the office was announced!

Model script for MP calls:

Hello, I am calling about the Government of Canada’s promise to create a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). 

The Government promised on January 17, 2018 that 

  • it would create the office of the Ombudsperson, 
  • the ombudsperson would be fully independent, and
  • the ombudsperson would have the powers needed to investigate – including the power to compel documents and testimony. 

It has been a full year since that ground-breaking announcement. There is still no ombudsperson in place. This is really urgent. 

As my member of parliament, I need you to CALL the Prime Minister’s office today to tell him that the government must keep its promise, to give the ombudsperson the power to compel the truth, to give the Ombudsperson full independence, and to do it now (it has already been a year since the office was announced!)

Can I count on you to make the call today? I will be calling back every day until an ombudsperson has been named.  


  • If your MP needs more information, a representative of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability would be happy to meet with/call your MP and/or send supplementary information
  • You will often first speak with your MP's assistant before being able to speak directly with your MP. Do not despair – be polite, be firm, and keep calling back until you get through. You can practice your script with the assistant! (It is best to wait until you are actually speaking with your MP before you make the ask to call the prime minister’s office).

Social media action

Use the following texts to craft a social media message about the delayed ombudsperson.

  • Communities negatively affected by Canadian mining companies around the world have been waiting one year since an #Ombuds with #power2investigate was announced. When will Canada be #open4justice?
  • It’s been one year since the #Ombuds announcement. When will we have an effective Ombuds to conduct independent investigations for communities affected by Canadian mining projects? #power2investigate
  • In January 2018, we were promised an effective #Ombuds to conduct independent investigations for communities affected by Canadian mining projects. When will we have an #Ombuds with #power2investigate?

On Twitter, tag Prime Minister Trudeau (@CanadianPM) and Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr (@jimcarr_wpg).

On Facebook, tag Justin Trudeau (@JustinPJTrudeau) and Jim Carr (@JimCarrWSC). Use the hashtags #open4justice, #ombuds, #power2investigate.

Feel free to use the images available for download here.

Lastly – share this action alert on your social media networks. Use the hashtags #open4justice, #ombuds, #power2investigate.

For more information, contact:

  • Catherine Coumans, Research Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada (613) 569-3439, [email protected]