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New Canadian human rights project launches today

Above Ground seeks to hold Canadian multinationals to account

(Ottawa – July 15, 2015) New human rights project Above Ground launches today with a mandate to hold Canadian multinational companies to account.

Canadian companies, particularly those in the extractive sector, are often associated with human rights and environmental harms. Above Ground encourages Canadian companies to respect human rights and the environment when working overseas.

Above Ground calls on the Canadian government to protect against human rights abuse committed by Canadian companies that operate abroad. The project promotes access to justice in Canada for those who are harmed by Canadian companies.

“Victims face an uphill battle when they seek justice in Canadian courts,” says Karyn Keenan, Director of Above Ground. “The current policy framework in Canada must change to prevent human rights abuse and provide remedy to those who suffer harm.”

Eight claims containing allegations of human rights abuse related to the overseas operations of Canadian extractive companies have been filed in Canadian courts. To date, no foreign plaintiff has been successful in a claim against a Canadian company in Canada.

Above Ground raises awareness about public programming in Canada that supports the overseas operations of Canadian companies through financing, insurance, political backing and public relations support. The project promotes enhanced transparency and accountability regarding these programs.

“We seek to prevent abusive practice by holding Canadian multinationals to account in Canada” says Karen Hamilton, Program Officer at Above Ground. “This includes effective human rights due diligence in public programs that support Canadian companies.”

Above Ground is a project on Tides Canada’s shared platform. It is an active member of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) and supports the network’s Open for Justice campaign.

For more information, please contact:

Karyn Keenan, Director

Karen Hamilton, Program Officer
khamilton@aboveground.ngo or 438-992-5163

Above Ground encourages companies to respect human rights. We promote access to Canadian courts for those who are harmed by Canadian companies overseas. Moreover, we encourage the Canadian government to fulfill its legal duty to protect against human rights abuse by the private sector.

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