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Information for Canadian companies

If you are the owner, operator, or manager of a Canadian company that meets these criteria then this information is for you:


Note: When we say that your company controls another, we mean that it does so directly or indirectly. For us, that may mean your company plays a key role in controlling your contractors, subcontractors, and companies in your supply chains.

More informationWhat is a Canadian company?

You must take steps to stop retaliation against individuals, organizations, and communities that file a complaint with us about:

This is based on 2 documents:

If your company is suspected of abusing human rights, then you must co-operate, in good faith, in processes to address any harm caused. These processes include our compliance and dispute resolution processes.

IMPORTANT: If anyone connected to your company retaliates against anyone connected to a complaint to us about your company then we may consider that your company has NOT acted in good faith.

What is retaliation?

Retaliation is any action or treatment that harms a person because they have done any of the following:

We take retaliation seriously. This includes threats of retaliation.

If retaliation is connected to your company, then your company may be asked to fix the harm caused.

More information – What is retaliation?

Fear of retaliation is one of the main reasons that people do NOT file human rights complaints.

While CORE’s approach to retaliation focuses on individuals and communities, Canadian companies face risks when they do not prevent or stop retaliation.

There are 2 main things you need to know about retaliation:

Risks for Canadian companies

These are some of the kinds of risks that your company faces if it is involved in retaliation or looks like it is involved in retaliation:

What Canadian companies should do

Follow the same 4-step approach that we have developed for ourselves about the risk of retaliation:

More informationCore’s approach to retaliation


Think about your company, and all the companies you do business with:

These are all possible sources of retaliation.

Think about the ways that retaliation could begin. For example, you may not intend to play a role in retaliation. You may not tell someone to retaliate. However, you could unknowingly cause retaliation by telling business partners or others that a complaint to us could hurt your interests.

Think about the culture in your workplace and in the workplaces of companies you control. Are workers who are concerned about their human rights seen as troublemakers or disloyal? This kind of workplace culture may lead workers to fear retaliation if they speak up. You can NOT reduce or stop retaliation if you do NOT know about it.


It can be hard to reduce retaliation in operations outside Canada because supply chains are complex. It can be difficult to get information about what is really happening in other places. Still, you are responsible for reducing the risk of retaliation from your company and any companies your company controls. One way to do this is by making sure your business partners know what you expect of them.

These are some of the tools you can use to help to reduce or stop retaliation.






It can be hard to stop retaliation in operations outside Canada, particularly when it is done by supply chain partners. Here are some strategies to help you.

Better practicePractices to avoid
When you give us informationTell us about any concerns, risks, or other information linked to retaliation. This shows your good faith.Do NOT hold back information. If you are worried about sharing sensitive or confidential information, then talk to us. We will work with you to try to find a solution.
When you share information about a complaint or reviewCreate ways to protect information about a complaint or review. Include how to save sensitive information, and where and with whom to talk about the complaint. Apply the “need to know” principle.Avoid making statements that could cause others to retaliate. This includes suggesting that bad things could happen if a complaint or human rights issue link to your company should become public.
Tell workers, contractors and business partners what you expectMake a clear, public statement of “zero tolerance” for retaliation. Let everyone know that your definition of retaliation includes threats.Be careful NOT to retaliate indirectly. Do NOT get others to retaliate for you. Do NOT hint that bad things will happen if others do NOT take steps to protect your interests.
Monitor what is happeningSet up ways to watch for and respond to the risk of retaliation in your company. Give those you do business with a reason to do the same. If we get a complaint, we may work with you to set these up.Do NOT ignore or downplay risks. This includes silencing or punishing those who speak up in your company or supply chain. Act quickly to reduce retaliation risks when you find them.
Respond and follow upSet up ways to respond, report, and follow up quickly and regularly. When there is a complaint, work with us to take specific actions, and report, and follow up on them. Think about contacting the local police if the retaliation may be criminal.Avoid taking a “wait and see” approach. Do NOT assume that the police or other authorities know what is happening.
Continue to work with usWork with us to stop retaliation even if you think the allegations in a complaint are NOT true.Continue to work with us to prevent retaliation even if you are angry about the complaint, or upset because the complaint is NOT moving forward.

When we work with retaliation, we work with local and international groups to do 2 things:

We may consult with these groups to help us to decide what measure to take, including formal diplomatic measures or working with the OHCHR – the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights .

More informationWhat does the CORE do to help Canadian companies respect human rights?


We report publicly on what we find when we discover any retaliation. This includes these:

In our report, we make recommendations to the Minister of International Trade. These are some of the measures we can recommend:

If it looks like the retaliation may be a crime, we can ask the Minister to refer the matter to the police.

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