A Law to Make Companies Respect Human Rights Overseas

Canada claims to take international human rights seriously, yet has failed to enact a law requiring companies to respect human rights and the environment overseas.

This fall, Amnesty Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), is urging the Canadian government to adopt legislation that would a) require Canadian companies, as well as companies doing business in Canada, to prevent human rights abuses and environmental damage throughout their global operations and supply chains, and b) hold companies accountable when they cause harm. This is called “human rights and environmental due diligence.”

The CNCA has developed draft model legislation, the Corporate Respect for Human Rights and the Environment Abroad Act, to provide lawmakers with a blueprint for such a law. Similar laws have already been adopted by a number of countries.


You can help by gathering signatures on a parliamentary petition.

Print this petition and gather at least 25 signatures. Deliver the petition in person to your Member of Parliament (MP) at their local riding office. While you are at the office, encourage your MP to support mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence legislation.

Ask someone to take a photo of you delivering the petition and post it to social media, tagging your MP, @amnestynow and @open4justice and the hashtags #HREDD and #HoldBizAccountable.

If you would like us to provide you with some talking points (that you can use to speak about the issue if you have the opportunity to talk with your MP or their assistant), please email Tara at tscurr@amnesty.ca to request our list of talking points.

Please wait until after the federal election on September 20th to deliver the petition. If you are unable to deliver the petition in person, please let us know and we will try to find someone else in your riding who can.

While you are delivering the signed petition to your MP, it would be fantastic if you could also ask them to sign the “MP Pledge to end corporate human rights abuse and environmental damage abroad”. You can download the pledge here.

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If you have an opportunity to speak with your local candidates prior to the Sept 20th election, please consider using these questions to ask the candidates about how they plan to support international human rights and corporate accountability.

  • Voluntary measures for good corporate conduct have proven ineffective in preventing human rights abuse and environmental damage. If elected, will you support legislation that would require companies to prevent human rights abuse and environmental damage in their global operations and supply chains, and hold them accountable when they fail to do so?
  • The Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis continue to expose vulnerabilities in the global economy and supply chains. How will you work to ensure the rights of workers, human rights and environmental defenders, especially Indigenous peoples, women and other marginalized groups are protected?
  • Will you work to empower the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise to independently investigate allegations of corporate abuse overseas, including giving it the needed powers to compel documents and testimony?
  • Do you commit to working with all parties to pass concrete legislation that protects human rights and the environment?