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Final report: Alternative dispute resolution for a complaint filed by a coalition of 28 organizations about the activities of
Hugo Boss Canada Inc.

Country: China
File Number: 220846
Complaint filed: June 21, 2022
Date of publication: April 2024

Table of contents

About the CORE

The Canada Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) is a business and human rights grievance mechanism established by the Government of Canada. People can file complaints with the CORE about possible human rights abuses arising from the operations of Canadian garment, mining, and oil and gas companies outside of Canada.

What is the purpose of this report?

The CORE is reporting on the termination of the complaint filed by a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations on June 21, 2022, about the activities of Hugo Boss Canada Inc.

The information in this report has no adverse effect on any person including the parties to the complaint and, as such, Section 16 of the CORE's Order in Council (OIC), is not applicable to the publication of this report.

Who are the parties to the complaint?

The Complainants are a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations listed in Appendix I.

The Respondent, Hugo Boss Canada Inc. is a Canadian garment company. It was incorporated under the Ontario Business Act on June 19, 1991, under the corporation number 946585.

What is the complaint about?

Part 1 - Background

Summary of the complaint process to date

  1. On July 20, 2022, based on the information provided by the Complainants, the Ombud decided that the complaint was admissible pursuant to Section 6.1 of the Operating Procedures (OP). This means that the Ombud decided there was sufficient information in the complaint to form a reasonable belief that each of the 3 admissibility criteria was met. The complaint then moved to the initial assessment stage of the complaint process.
  2. On May 31, 2023, a draft version of the Initial assessment report was sent to the parties for comments. Following receipt of the parties' comments, the Ombud decided to launch an investigation using independent fact finding and the final Initial assessment report was published on August 21, 2023.
  3. Following publication of the Initial Assessment report, Hugo Boss Canada requested to meet with the CORE to discuss the terms of reference for the review, the application of the CORE’s operating procedures to the review, and Hugo Boss Canada’s proposed role in the review. On November 2, 2023, the CORE met with representatives of Hugo Boss Canada.

Part 2 - Meeting between the CORE and Hugo Boss Canada

  1. At the meeting of November 2, 2023, Hugo Boss Canada sought clarification regarding the CORE’s investigation process and inquired about the CORE’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options. The Ombud explained the CORE’s investigation process as well as other stages of the complaint process and emphasized that informal mediation services remain available to parties throughout the complaint process. The CORE advised Hugo Boss Canada that it would proceed with its investigation of Hugo Boss Canada unless parties agreed otherwise.
  2. On November 8, 2023. Hugo Boss Canada informed the CORE of its willingness to discuss and resolve the complaint with the Complainants through the CORE’s informal mediation services.
  3. On November 16, 2023, the Complainants indicated willingness to engage with Hugo Boss Canada.
  4. On November 16, 2023, with the agreement of the parties, the CORE delayed the proposed investigation of Hugo Boss Canada to facilitate discussion between the parties.

Part 3 - Summary of direct discussion between the Complainant and Hugo Boss Canada

  1. Between November 16, 2023, and March 4, 2024, the parties executed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and engaged in direct discussions.
  2. On March 4, 2024, the Complainants informed the CORE that Hugo Boss Canada had “provided a satisfactory response or remedy” to the allegations in the complaint and wanted to withdraw the complaint against Hugo Boss Canada.
  3. On March 7, 2024, based on the Complainant’s request to withdraw the complaint against the Respondent, the CORE notified the parties of its decision to:
    1. terminate the complaint against Hugo Boss Canada pursuant to Section 14.1.6 of the Operating Procedures; and
    2. reserve the right to publish a final report pursuant to Section 14(2) of the Order in Council.

Part 4 - Conclusion

  1. As provided in section 14.1.6 of the CORE’s Operating Procedures, the Ombud has the discretion to terminate a review of a complaint if the parties have come to an agreement during the informal mediation process.
  2. Based on the outcome of the direct discussions between the Complainants and Hugo Boss Canada, the CORE has formally terminated the review of the complaint against Hugo Boss Canada Inc., effective March 7, 2024.
  3. The CORE supports the initiative to seek an amicable settlement of the complaint through ADR and was informed that Hugo Boss Canada had the opportunity to address the Complainant’s allegations, and both parties made reasonable efforts to engage in problem-solving through dialogue and sharing of documents and information.

Part 5 - Recommendations to Hugo Boss Canada

  1. In accordance with Section 11(1) of the CORE’s Order in Council, the Ombud recommends that Hugo Boss Canada continues to maintain a comprehensive approach to fulfil its responsibility to respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) (PDF) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Conduct.

Appendix I: Coalition of 28 civil society organizations

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