Retaliation risk assessment tool
What is retaliation?
Retaliation is any action or treatment that harms a person because they have done any of the following:
- contacted the CORE
- filed a complaint with the CORE
- helped someone else to file a complaint
- taken part in the complaint process
- acted as a witness or provided information about a possible human rights abuse
We take retaliation seriously. This includes the threat of retaliation.
More information – What is retaliation?
Individuals and communities
You may worry that if you file a complaint with us, you may put yourself or others in danger. You may worry about your job, your home, or your property. Finally, you may be afraid that those you name in your complaint may retaliate against you. We understand this. We want you to know that your safety is important to us.
More information – Information for individuals and communities
If you own, operate, or manage a Canadian company that operates outside Canada in the garment, mining, or oil and gas sector, then you must take steps to stop retaliation against anyone who files a complaint with us about either of these:
- your company’s activities
- the activities of any company your company controls
- What is a Canadian company?
- Information for Canadian companies
- What does the CORE do to help Canadian companies respect human rights?
How we assess the risk of retaliation
We use this tool, when a person or community wants to file a complaint with us, to find out how likely it is that someone will retaliate against them. These are the 4 steps we take:
We work with many groups who deal with human rights, including these:
- Canadian diplomatic offices
- human rights organizations from Canada and from other countries and regions
- local community groups that work with human rights and public rights organizations
- groups that act on behalf of human rights defenders
We gather information about retaliation at these times:
- before we contact people and communities that may face retaliation because of our work
- before we move ahead with a complaint
- throughout our contact with people and communities who are involved in our complaint process
The questions in this tool help us to do that.
We use information about retaliation to decide who we work with, how, where, when.
When we assess the risk of retaliation, we do NOT limit ourselves to the questions in this tool. We look first at what is going on with the people involved in our complaint process. Then we decide which questions to ask and when to ask them. We may ask the questions in this tool and other questions about retaliation.
These are all questions we may ask at any stage of our work.
This tool focuses on 2 things:
- the risk of retaliation for individuals and communities
- the role Canadian companies can play in stopping retaliation against those who work with us
We also know that Canadian companies can face retaliation. And that third parties, including state security or police forces, may have a role in retaliation.
1. What are the main risk factors in the person’s or community’s region and sector?
a) What is the human rights situation in the region that has come to our attention?
b) Are there any laws in the country or region that may be the source of human rights issues for some people or communities? What laws are these? Do people have enough legal protection?
c) Are there human rights issues that are a problem in one of these sectors?
__ oil & gas
Are these issues related to the complaint made to us?
d) Is there anything going on in the community or society in general that may affect our work? Tensions? Divisions?
e) How likely are attacks or other forms of violence in the region or community? If there has been violence, when did it happen, or how often does it happen?
f) Is retaliation or violence more common at certain times?
g) Is there anyone who might disagree with the events or abuses alleged in the complaint?
h) Are some people at a higher risk for human rights abuse?
__ women and girls
__ Indigenous groups
__ religious groups
__ ethnic minorities
__ migrant workers
__ elderly people
__ persons with disabilities
i) What problems do people face because they belong to one or more of these groups?
j) What is the situation for human rights defenders in the sector and region?
k) Are trade unions or community organizations strong in the sector or region?
l) What do the police and government security forces do when faced with a complaint of human rights abuse?
2. Who are the key people and groups?
a) Who might be a target of retaliation?
__ the person who contacted us
__ their family members
__ people in the community
__ co workers
Is there a history of retaliation against the person?
b) What forms could the retaliation take?
c) Who would likely begin or carry out the retaliation?
d) How are those retaliating connected to the Canadian company?
e) What have relations been like between these 2 groups?
__ the general population in the region
__ those working with us to solve a possible human rights abuse
Have relations been poor? Has there been conflict or tension between these groups?
f) Is the individual a member of a trade union?
3. What are the likely effects of retaliation, if it happens?
a) What harm would retaliation cause to these people or communities?
__ physical, emotional, or psychological harm
__ loss of income
__ property damage
b) How exposed is the individual or community to retaliation? Has someone retaliated against them in the past?
4. Can confidentiality be kept while the CORE works through the complaint process?
a) Has the individual asked about confidentiality?
b) Has the individual asked NOT to be named?
|c) Can our work go ahead without using the names of those concerned?|
d) Has the person contacted us before, or said they would do so?
e) Has the person or community already told someone about the issues in the complaint? Who?
f) Has the person or community talked with others about working with us or filing a complaint? Who knows that they have contacted us?
g) Is there a link between possible retaliation and a Canadian company? Why? Does the company know or suspect that the individual or community is talking with us? Is it possible that others are acting for the Canadian company?
5. What might make retaliation more likely?
a) Are the possible targets of retaliation at a higher risk? Do they face discrimination, as described in question 1h? If so, what might put them at a higher risk?
b) Does the person or community have someone to represent their interests? A lawyer? An advocate? A community group that works with human rights?
c) Does the person or community understand their rights in these places?
__ at work
__ in the sector where they work
__ in their community
d) Does the person have the support of their community to work with us or to file a complaint?
e) Has the person or community assessed their own risk?
f) Has the person or community found ways to protect themselves and others?
g) Is the person well known in their community? Are they well regarded?
h) Does the person or community have access to a safe computer or mobile phone? Do they know how to protect themselves from online spying?
i) Is the person or community located in a remote or isolated area?
j) Can the person or people in the community travel safely?
k) Can the person or community get money if they need it?
l) Are there groups like these in the area that can help?
__ Front Line Defenders
__Peace Brigades International
__UN Human Rights Office
__local community groups
6. What risks does the Canadian company pose?
a) Does the Canadian company have rules to protect people from retaliation? Do these rules extend to its contractors and subcontractors?
b) Has the Canadian company retaliated in the past? Have its contractors or subcontractors done so?
c) If yes, how did they retaliate?
d) Does the Canadian company know that the individual or community plans to talk with us and may want to file a complaint?
e) What is the Canadian company’s relationship with the government in the country where this is happening?
f) What is the Canadian company’s reputation in the local community?
g) How might our process harm the interests of the Canadian company?
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