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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:

We take retaliation seriously. This includes the threat of retaliation.

More informationWhat 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 informationInformation for individuals and communities

Canadian companies

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:

More information

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:

  1. Assess
  2. Reduce
  3. Respond
  4. Report

We work with many groups who deal with human rights, including these:

We gather information about retaliation at these times:

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:

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.

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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?

__ garment

__ mining

__ 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

__ LGBT+

__ other

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

__ drivers

__ others

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

__ other

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

__Protection International

__UN Human Rights Office

__Canadian consulate

__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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