What We Heard
Feedback from Stakeholders on the CORE’s Draft Risk Assessment for Non-Review Country Visits
The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) thanks you for taking the time to review our draft Risk Assessment Process for Non-Review Country Visits and provide us with constructive feedback. The purpose of this document is to provide a summary of the main comments received from the public, private and plural stakeholders that the CORE consulted. The insights and opinions shared with us (and highlighted herein) are much appreciated and highly valued.
Risk Assessment for Non-Review Country Visits
The risk assessment process that the Office of the CORE will follow when planning, implementing and following up visits to countries where communities or individuals may be affected by the operations of Canadian companiesFootnote1 working in the garment, mining and/or oil and gas sectors. This risk assessment process will be used by the CORE to inform both in-person and virtual non-review country visits, i.e. visits to countries not subject to a complaint received through the CORE’s Human Rights Responsibility Mechanism (HRRM) or a CORE-initiated study.
Who we consulted
The CORE consulted a targeted number of key stakeholders as part of this consultation process. Those consulted include public, private and plural stakeholders, and represented all three of the sectors within the CORE’s mandate: garment, mining and oil/gas. Of the ten stakeholders consulted, eight provided feedback.
What we heard
The feedback provided on the draft document largely fell into the following categories:
- Clarify the purpose of non-review country visits and of the risk assessment process
- Change the title of the document
- Clarify how countries will be selected
- Recommendations on who should be consulted before, during and after visit
Purpose of non-review country visits
In compiling feedback, it became evident that the draft document did not provide sufficient clarity regarding the purpose of a non-review country visit. The revised document now clarifies that non-review country visits may serve several purposes including:
- To raise awareness about the CORE, our mandate and how to submit a complaint to the CORE’s Human Rights Responsibility Mechanism;
- To gather information about conditions, including human rights conditions;
- To protect and promote the human rights of impacted individuals, workers, communities and organizations at risk; and
- To meet with Canadian garment, mining and/or oil and gas companies to discuss responsible business conduct and share information about the CORE’s dispute resolution services
Title of the document
We received feedback suggesting that the title of the document be shortened and amended to emphasize not only risk assessment but also the management of risks identified. We have amended the title to the following: ‘Risk Management Process for Non-Review Country Visits’.
Country selection criteria
Stakeholders asked for greater clarity regarding what criteria will be used to select countries for a non-review country visit. The revised document now includes the following criteria for country selection:
- Significant presence of Canadian garment, mining and/or oil/gas companies (and/or sub/contractors)
- Canadian companies operating on or in close proximity to Indigenous land and territories
- Weak national oversight of foreign company operations
- Countries where human rights issues may exist in the garment, mining and/or oil/gas sectors, including in relation to natural resource extraction, labour issues and threats to human rights defenders
- Security context, that is the ability of the CORE to safely hold in-person meetings with industry, civil society and government representatives
- Potential risks posed to civil society as a result of meeting with the CORE, given the in-country context and potential human rights concerns associated with the sector
- Presence and ability of the Canadian embassy to provide the CORE with:
- Details regarding the number/names of Canadian companies present in the country by sector
- Country context including human rights context
- Risk assessment with regards to in-country travel in capital city and specific regions
- Logistical information regarding hiring local transport, interpretation, hotels, visa requirements, safety concern
Most stakeholders also asked for greater detail on which Canadian and local actors would be consulted prior to implementing a non-review-country visit. Some felt Canadian embassies, government departments, the OECD National Contact Point, Canadian civil society organizations and coalitions, as well as Canadian companies operating in the country should be given greater attention in the planning and implementation phases of such a visit. Stakeholders recommended that the CORE brief the Canadian Ambassador at the conclusion of a visit, which was always the CORE’s intention and is now explicitly referenced in the document.
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