Business and Human Rights as Law

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Business and Human Rights as Law

A growing number of states are enacting BHR laws and regulations. This is one way that states are fulfilling their international human rights law obligations to protect human rights, including protecting against human rights abuses by business enterprises. The state duty to protect human rights constitutes the first pillar of the UNGPs.

Since 2018, Canada has seen Private Member’s Bills on BHR introduced in the House of Commons and Senate, and two rounds of government consultations on further regulation.

Canadian lawyers must become familiar with foreign BHR laws and regulations for two reasons:

  • Canadian businesses operate in jurisdictions with BHR laws, e.g., the UK and Australia, and may be subject to them.
  • Canadian clients may have to adhere to foreign BHR laws because of who they do business with. For example, Canadian clients doing business with an Australian entity may need to demonstrate or certify that they comply with Australia’s Modern Slavery Act.

This part discusses BHR laws and regulations that have been enacted and recently considered.