April 29th, 2019
Supporters from Canada and the Global South Call on the Federal Government to Vote in Favour of Bill C-331
OTTAWA - More than 50 organizations, representing over a million Canadians, are endorsing Bill C-331. The first hour of debate at second reading on C-331 will take place on Monday, April 29th. A number of those organizations have sent an open letter to the PM calling on the government of Canada to vote in favour of C-331.
“It is our belief that Canada must promote values of respect, social justice, environmental protection and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, labour, environmental and human rights abroad. It is time for the Canadian government to show leadership in facilitating access to Canadian courts for the foreign victims of corporate abuses,” the letter states.
Bill C-331 would create the necessary legal framework for corporate accountability by amending the Federal Courts Act to permit foreign nationals to bring forward tort claims in Canada that take place abroad. In addition to giving the Federal Court original jurisdiction in these cases, it would set out the manner in which the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal can exercise their jurisdiction to hear and decide these tort claims.
C-331 was drafted back in 2006 by MP Julian working closely with Nick Milanovic, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Law at Carleton University, labour lawyer, an arbitrator, and a union member, and Mark Rowlinson, labour lawyer and Assistant to Steelworkers' Canadian National Director, Ken Neumann.
“Stronger laws are urgently needed in Canada to address international violations of human and environmental rights and related corporate practices. Getting there requires leadership from our elected representatives,” said Rowlinson.
Milanovic stated that “until you and I care enough to demand Canadian businesses respect basic rights operating overseas nothing will get better. We can become a beacon for real reform if we insist that our businesses respect human, labour and environmental rights; that is why supporting Bill C-331 is so important.”
“Support of this bill is crucial in the development of binding legal enforcement mechanisms that deal with the atrocious violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and international labour, environmental and human rights violations taking place with impunity,” stressed MP Julian.
This Bill comes at a critical moment in Canada’s history. With the upcoming federal election later this year, these organizations are urging all MPs to vote in favour of this legislation before the end of this parliamentary session.