International Human Rights Compliance

Companies worldwide face rising pressure to comply with international labour and human rights standards both within their operations and in their supply chains. In addition to the harmful impact on workers, failing to address labour and human rights risks can result in serious brand damage and legal risk, with consequent financial implications for the business.

In recent years, Canadian courts have increasingly heard large civil claims against Canadian companies for alleged human rights violations in their foreign operations. As we have discussed previously, judges faced with these claims must determine whether the court’s jurisdictional reach extends to the company’s activities in its global supply chain, thus permitting foreign claimants to pursue their action in Canada.
Continue Reading Rana Plaza Class Action Blocked in Ontario & Nevsun Decision Challenged at Canada’s Highest Court

We have written over the past two years about a growing wave of significant lawsuits in Canada against corporations for alleged international labour and human rights violations in their overseas operations or supply chains. As we have reported, Canada’s judiciary is demonstrating a willingness to expand their jurisdictional reach to permit such claims to proceed. Canadian judges are keeping an open mind as to whether a novel duty of care exists between multinational companies and the upstream foreign supply chain workers or the local residents affected by their operations.
Continue Reading Door Still Open? Canada As Safe Harbour For Multinational Human Rights Litigation

A lawsuit brought by several Guatemalans for alleged damages suffered during a 2013 protest at the Escobal silver mine in San Rafael Las Flores has cleared a final hurdle and will now proceed to trial in British Columbia.
Continue Reading BC Trial on Alleged Human Rights Violations by Canadian Mining Company in Guatemala Can Proceed

Baker McKenzie is proud to have sponsored the Washington DC premiere of the film “I am Jane Doe” on February 7, 2017. The film is a highly anticipated documentary chronicling an ongoing battle against the trafficking of minors. The Washington premiere was part the McCain Institute’s 2nd Annual Human Trafficking Symposium. Baker McKenzie’s Peter

To ring in the New Year, we highlight the ten most significant developments in Canadian labour and employment law in 2016:
Continue Reading Top 10 Canadian Labour & Employment Law Developments of 2016

On October 6, 2016, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit by Eritrean miners, who allege they were forced to work in a mine owned by Nevsun Resources Ltd, a Canadian mining company, can proceed to trial. Vancouver-based Nevsun had argued that the case should be dismissed and that any suit should be properly heard in Eritrea. Justice Abrioux disagreed, stating that “there is sufficient cogent evidence from which I can conclude that there is a real risk that the plaintiffs could not be provided with justice in Eritrea,” thereby paving the way for an unprecedented trial in a Canadian court. Justice Abrioux stated that “claims of crimes against humanity, slavery, forced labour and torture can go forward against Nevsun.”
Continue Reading BC Case Against Canadian Mining Company for Overseas Human Rights Violations to Proceed to Trial

canadian-imports-web-0_jpg_size_custom_crop_850x572Hot off the press. A Report released late last week by World Vision Canada concludes that Canadian consumers are unwittingly buying goods made by child and forced labourers deep in the supply chains of Canadian companies. According to the Report, Canadian businesses regularly import goods from countries with high-rates of child and forced labour, particularly in the following sectors: clothing, retail, food, and electronics.

Continue Reading Supply Chain Transparency & Reporting Legislation: Coming Soon to Canada?

We recently discussed the rising number of claims against Canadian companies for alleged human rights violations in their overseas operations or supply chains. In that article we described the ongoing class action lawsuit against Loblaws and Joe Fresh launched by Bangladeshi garment workers in response to the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Click here for a link to the article.

We also commented on a general increase in litigation against Canadian multinational corporations, including the current case against Toronto-based, Hudbay Minerals Inc., which was brought by a group of indigenous Guatemalan Mayans for human rights violations related to a mining venture.

The reputational risks associated with these cases are serious, particularly in the age of online media and investor activism. On April 3, 2016, The New York Times published a front-page article on the Hudbay Minerals Inc. case entitled, ‘Outcry Echoes Up to Canada’.
Continue Reading Global Human Rights Compliance & Litigation Update: Hudbay Minerals Inc. Lawsuit Receives International Media Coverage

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has announced the upcoming launch of the Stop Slavery Award. The purpose of this award is to honour and recognize businesses that have excelled in their efforts to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains.
Continue Reading Thomson Reuters Foundation to Launch the Stop Slavery Award