10. Access to Remedies – Summary

Key Message

The government and Baffinland must provide access to remedies for employees and community members whose human rights have been harmed by the Mary River Mine. There are many different mechanisms for individuals and groups to raise their concerns, but the best ones should operate at the mine site and community level and resolve issues through dialogue or mediation.

In Brief

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The government and Baffinland must provide access to remedies for employees and community members whose human rights have been harmed by the Mary River Mine. There are many different mechanisms for individuals and groups to raise their concerns, but the best ones should operate at the mine site and community level and resolve issues through dialogue or mediation.

The government and Baffinland must provide access to remedies for employees and community members whose human rights have been harmed by the Mary River Mine. There are many different mechanisms for individuals and groups to raise their concerns, but the best ones should operate at the mine site and community level and resolve issues through dialogue or mediation.

Access to remedies is a key component of the international framework for business and human rights. States have an obligation to provide judicial and non-judicial channels for the harms done by companies to human rights. While the rule of law is strong Canada, access to courts and human rights institutions in Nunavut is very difficult due to the barriers of distance, costs and cultural traditions. In a recent report to the legislature in Nunavut, the absence of a human rights commission was highlighted as an important gap in the protection of Nunavummiut.

The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement provides a framework for access to remedies for Inuit, including through the enforcement of the project certificate by the NIRB and the enforcement of the IIBA by the QIA. These mechanisms are best suited for addressing collective issues. Specific concerns of individuals will likely need to be channeled through formal representatives and monitoring groups.

Companies are encouraged to establish operational-level grievance mechanisms in order to respect human rights. These should have credible, effective and culturally appropriate channels for employees and community members to raise concerns and have them taken seriously. This does not mean that every complaint is correct, but there should be a fair, transparent and independent process to investigate and decide upon the issues raised. These mechanisms should support continuous learning and help companies address patterns of complaints.

ArcellorMittal has committed to establishing operational grievance mechanisms for stakeholders in its Human Rights Policy. Baffinland has also committed to establishing a concerns procedure for employees in its Human Resources Plan. These procedures should be established and formalized at the earliest possible stage of the development of the Mary River Mine so that they can begin to address concerns proactively and before they escalate into more serious or formal complaints.
 

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