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If human rights ombudsman is created, learn from experience

By Pierre Gratton      

A joint fact-finding process is a dispute-resolution tool that works.

John Ruggie, pictured in 2009, has said Canada is the only country that imposes a penalty on mining companies that decline to participate in dispute resolution processes. UN photograph by Jean-Marc Ferré

OTTAWA—In a recent op-ed in this newspaper, several professors call for the creation of a mining ombudsman, but dismiss the Mining Association of Canada’s recommendation that it employ a joint fact-finding process. The authors wrongfully conclude that such a process would be ineffective on the basis that companies would not opt to participate, ignoring recent changes to Canada’s recently strengthened corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy that compel companies to participate with serious consequences if they don’t. The authors also demonstrate a lack of understanding of how joint fact-finding works and an ignorance of its proven track record as a dispute-resolution tool.

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