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Overview of cases brought to the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise

The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) was created by the Canadian government in 2019. It can receive complaints of human rights abuse involving Canadian companies that work outside Canada in the garment, mining, or oil and gas industries. It may respond to a complaint by offering mediation, making recommendations, and/or conducting an investigation, although it lacks robust investigative powers. Here we provide an overview of cases brought to the CORE to date.


Number of complaints submitted as of Mar. 31, 2024: 351

Number deemed admissible: 17

Number under investigation by the CORE: 7

Number of completed investigations: 1

Cases investigated

Dynasty Gold (“DYG”)

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation investigated by the CORE: “that DYG’s mining operations in northwest Xinjiang, China use or benefit from Uyghur forced labour.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date of investigation: July 11, 2023 to March 26, 2024
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE: Very limited. See details in Part 6, paragraph 85 of the final report.
  • Key findings: That Dynasty Gold “has contributed to the use of forced labour at the Hatu mine” by “having done nothing to identify, assess, and address or mitigate the risk” of forced labour being used. See all findings in the final report.
  • Recommendations: See details of the CORE’s recommendations in Part 8 of the final report.

Finalized cases

Hugo Boss Canada

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation: “that Hugo Boss Canada Inc. has a supply relationship with a Chinese company that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has identified in its report Uyghurs for Sale as using or benefiting from Uyghur forced labour.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date investigation announced: August 24, 2023
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE: Initially very limited. See details here in Part 4, paragraph 26. The company then became actively engaged after the investigation was announced.
  • Outcome: Hugo Boss requested direct discussion with the complainants under a non-disclosure agreement. Following these discussions between November 2023 and March 2024, the complainants withdrew their complaint. 
  • For details, see the CORE’s final report. published April 25, 2024.

GobiMin

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation: “that GobiMin has been implicated in Uyghur forced labour through exploration work carried out at its Sawayaerdun mine in Xinjiang, China.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date recommendations published: August 15, 2023
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE: Active. See details here in Part 7.
  • Outcome: The CORE decided not to launch an investigation and instead provided recommendations to GobiMin, which the complany then implemented, according to the CORE.
  • For details, see the CORE’s follow-up report published April 24, 2025

Cases under investigation

Ordered by date of initial assessment report

Nike Canada

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation under investigation: “that Nike Canada Corp. has supply relationships with several Chinese companies that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) identified as using or benefiting from Uyghur forced labour.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date investigation announced: July 11, 2023
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE as of July 11, 2023: Limited. See details here in Part 4, paragraph 27.
  • For details, see the CORE’s initial assessment report.

Ralph Lauren Canada (“RLCLP”)

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation under investigation: “that RLCLP has supply relationships with companies that use or benefit from Uyghur forced labour.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date investigation announced: August 15, 2023
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE as of August 15, 2023: Very limited. See details here in Part 4, paragraph 38.
  • For details, see the CORE’s initial assessment report.

Walmart Canada

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation under investigation: “that Walmart Canada has commercial relationships with Chinese companies identified as using Uyghur forced labour.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date investigation announced: August 24, 2023
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE as of August 24, 2023: Limited. See details here in Part 4, paragraph 28.
  • For details, see the CORE’s initial assessment report.

Diesel Canada

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation under investigation: “that Diesel Canada’s supply chain uses or benefits from Uyghur forced labour.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date investigation announced: August 24, 2023
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE as of August 24, 2023: Very limited. See details here in Part 4, paragraph 30.
  • For details, see the CORE’s initial assessment report.

Levi Strauss & Co. Canada

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation under investigation: “that Levi Strauss has commercial relationships with a Chinese company that is identified as using Uyghur forced labour — Jiangsu Guotai Guosheng.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date investigation announced: September 20, 2023
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE as of September 20, 2023: Very limited. See details here in Part 4, paragraph 33.
  • For details, see the CORE’s initial assessment report.

Zara Canada

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation under investigation: “that Zara has supply relationships with three Chinese companies … using or benefitting from Uyghur forced labour.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date investigation announced: November 6, 2023
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE as of November 6, 2023: Limited. See details here in Part 2, paragraphs 10-17.
  • For details, see the CORE’s initial assessment report.

Guess? Canada

  • Complainant(s): a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations2
  • Allegation under investigation: “that Guess? Canada has supply relationships with several Chinese companies identified as using or benefiting from Uyghur forced labour.”
  • Date complaint submitted: June 21, 2022
  • Date investigation announced: December 11, 2023
  • Company’s engagement with the CORE as of December 11, 2023: Active. See details here in Part 4, paragraph 34.
  • For details, see the CORE’s initial assessment report.

Other cases for which information is publicly known

Mark’s Work Wearhouse / Canadian Tire

  • Complainant(s): United Steelworkers (USW) and the Canadian Labour Congress
  • Allegation: that Mark’s, a subsidiary of Canadian Tire, has failed “to ensure workers in its supplier factories are paid living wages.” (Source: USW press release)
  • Date complaint submitted: November 22, 2022
  • Status: deemed admissible and under “initial assessment” as of December 31, 2022
  • For details including company response, see Globe & Mail coverage.

Reconnaissance Energy Africa Ltd. (ReconAfrica)

  • Complainant(s): Saving Okavango’s Unique Life and the International Human Rights Program of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law
  • Allegation: that ReconAfrica’s operations in Namibia have “led to violations of multiple international human rights, including the rights to health, water, food, and adequate housing” and Indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior, and informed consent. (Source: complainants’ press release)
  • Date complaint submitted: April 9, 2024
  • For details, see the complaint.

1. The office said that 26 complaints had been received to date in a quarterly report for the period ending March 31, 2023. Five new complaints were received between April 1 and June 30, two between July 1 and September 30, one between October 1 and December 31, 2023, and one between January 1 and March 31, 2024.

2. This coalition includes: Canadians in Support of Refugees in Dire Need (CSRDN); Alliance Canada Hong Kong; Anatolia Islamic Centre; Canada Tibet Committee; Canadians Against Oppression & Persecution; Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW); Canadian Council of Imams (CCI); Canada-Hong Kong Link; Doctors for Humanity; East Turkistan Association of Canada; End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC); Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa; Human Concern International (HCI); Islamic Circle of North America Canada (ICNA); Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); Justice for All; Lawyers for Humanity; Muslim Association Canada (MAC); National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM); Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights; Canadian Security Research Group; Share 2 Care (S2C); Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada; Toronto Association for Democracy in China; Union of Medical care and Relief Organizations-Canada (UOSSM); Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund; Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project; and Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement.