Advisors quit, accusing Trudeau government of dithering on corporate watchdog


Emily Dwyer, coordinator of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, attends a news conference in Ottawa on Jan. 17, 2018, about the new federal corporate watchdog. File photo by Alex Tétreault

All the civil society and labour union representatives on a panel appointed by the Trudeau government to provide advice about corporate accountability have resigned, leaving only industry representatives and the government at the table with a lone academic.

The seven members and their alternatives, representing labour unions and other civil society groups, publicly quit their advisory roles on Thursday, complaining that the government had failed to give the newly appointed watchdog the teeth needed to investigate allegations of overseas human rights abuses against Canadian corporate citizens.

The members who resigned included representatives from Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, the United Steelworkers Union, and World Vision Canada.

They said that the government had betrayed them by backtracking on a promise to make the watchdog, the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (or CORE), an independent investigator armed with the legal authority to compel witnesses and documents. MORE