Program

Please note that this program is subject to change.

Day 1

 

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Registration & Breakfast

9:00 am – 9:15 am

Welcome & Opening

Poonam Puri, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School and Mary Condon, Dean (Interim), Osgoode Hall Law School

9:15 am – 9:45 am

Keynote Remarks

The Honourable Louis LeBel
Former Judge, Supreme Court of Canada

9:45 am – 11:00 am

Case Study: Araya v Nevsun Resources

IIn November 2014, three individuals from Eritrea filed a lawsuit against Nevsun Resources in Vancouver, British Columbia, alleging that Nevsun was complicit in the use of forced labour by its local subcontractor to construct and develop its Bisha gold mine in Eritrea. Nevsun denied the allegations and attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed on grounds of forum non conveniens, customary international law, and the act of state doctrine, but was unsuccessful at the trial and appellate level. Nevsun’s application remains to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. This panel will canvass the legal issues of the case and discuss the broader human rights and governance situation in Eritrea, the practical challenges of mounting a case, and the potential and limits of home state litigation.

CHAIR AND MODERATOR:

  • Audrey Macklin, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

PANELISTS:

  • Sara Ghebremusse, Assistant Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • Felix Horne, Senior Ethiopia and Eritrea Researcher, Human Rights Watch
  • Cory Wanless, Counsel for the Plaintiff Angelina Choc, Choc v Hudbay Minerals, Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation
  • James Yap, Counsel for the Plaintiffs Gize Yebeyo Araya, Kesete Tekle Fshazion, and Mihretab Yemane Tekle
11:00 am – 11:15 am

Break

11:15 am – 12:45 pm

Panel: Democratic Engagement & Corporate Accountability

This panel will explore how democratic initiatives and institutions may be utilized to challenge corporate misbehaviour and impact governmental policies in order to create movement towards wider systemic change. The panel will discuss how democratic initiatives and institutions, such as the media, professional organizations, and social movements, can contribute to challenging current power inequalities and complicities in order to overcome the current emphasis on “demand-side” solutions and instead to further corporate accountability structures in both developing and developed democracies.

CHAIR AND MODERATOR:

  • Alexandra Orlova, Associate Dean of Arts, Research and Graduate Studies & Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, Ryerson University

PANELISTS:

  • John Beebe, Senior Advisor on Democratic Engagement, Faculty of Arts, Ryerson University
  • Robert Cribb, Foreign Affairs and Investigative Reporter, Toronto Star
  • Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director, Journalists for Human Rights
  • Kyela de Weerdt , Program Coordinator, Mining Shared Value, Engineers Without Borders Canada
12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

Lunch

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm

Panel: Domestic Legal Remedies

Victims of human rights and environmental abuses face serious obstacles in obtaining a legal remedy, both in the jurisdiction where the harm occurred as well as where the multinational corporation is headquartered. Often, cases brought forward in the host state are resisted on jurisdictional arguments such as the forum non conveniens doctrine. In the home state, high evidentiary burdens and corporate diligence defences often bar plaintiffs’ claims. Non-judicial remedial mechanisms that occur outside of the courts can be a viable means by which victims receive justice. This panel will discuss the availability, effectiveness and viability of judicial and non-judicial remedies, such as the Canadian Ombudsman, company-level and industry-level initiatives.

CHAIR AND MODERATOR:

  • Gil Lan, Associate Professor, Department of Law and Business, Ryerson University

PANELISTS:

  • Antony Crockett, Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
  • Claudia Feldkamp, Counsel, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
  • Shin Imai, Professor Emeritus, Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Karyn Keenan, Director,  Above Ground
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm

Break

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Panel: Public International Law & Corporate Accountability

States have binding international obligations to protect the human rights of individuals subject to their jurisdiction from the acts of private parties, including corporations, that may violate such rights. They also have certain obligations under international environmental law. However, states may be unable or unwilling to regulate the conduct of multinational corporations, even if their inaction violates international law. Further, several international soft law principles, frameworks, and initiatives exist to regulate transnational corporate behaviour. This panel will consider existing and emerging international hard and soft law standards, frameworks, and principles, and explore the promise of an “international” solution to holding multinational corporations accountable.

CHAIR AND MODERATOR:

  • Michael K. Addo, Professor, Director of the Notre Dame London Law Program, University of Notre Dame

PANELISTS:

  • Douglass Cassel, Professor Emeritus of Law & Notre Dame Presidential Fellow, University of Notre Dame
  • Nicola Jägers, Professor, Department of European and International Public Law, Tilburg Law School
  • Usha Natarajan, Associate Professor, Department of Law & Associate Director of the Centre for Migration and Refugee Studies,  American University in Cairo
5:00 pm

Closing Remarks

6:00 pm

Dinner

Day 2

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Breakfast

9:00 am – 9:15 am

Welcome

Poonam Puri, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School and Sara Slinn, Associat Dean (Research), Osgoode Hall Law School

 

9:15 am – 10:45 am

Panel on Corporate Accountability & Land Rights

As governments continue to invest in mining, oil, and gas companies, tensions between government decision-making as it pertains to land rights and the rights of the Indigenous peoples increase. Further, industry views on Indigenous rights and environmental impacts continue to clash with Indigenous world views and values. This panel will explore a number of tensions between corporate accountability, extractive industries, and their impact on Indigenous land rights in Canada and other countries across the globe.

CHAIR AND MODERATOR:

  • Karen Drake, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School & Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission

PANELISTS:

  • Janice Makokis, Indigenous Relations and Policy Advisor for the Yellowhead Tribal Council & Instructor, Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta
  • Benedict Nchalla, Former Dean, Faculty of Law, Tumaini University Makumira & SJD Candidate at the James E Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona
  • David Szablowski, Associate Professor, Department of Social Science, York University
  • Estair van Wagner, Assistant Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
10:45 am – 11:00 am

Coffee Break

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Panel on Corporate Accountability, Environment & Climate Justice

Environmental harm is often a consequence of industrial activities, with its impact felt by individuals and communities around the globe. There are also serious impacts on biodiversity, and global consequences like climate change. This panel will consider the quest for corporate accountability in relation to environmental and climate harms. Examples that will be considered include the cleanup of toxic substances and hazardous wastes, remedy for climate harms, and remedies for violations of environmental rights.

CHAIR AND MODERATOR:

  • Sara Seck, Associate Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University

PANELISTS:

  • David Estrin, Counsel at Gowling WLG & Distinguished Adjunct Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Alan J. Lenczner, QC, Founding Partner, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP
  • Keith MacMaster, PhD Candidate in Law, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
  • Dayna Nadine Scott, Associate Professor & York Research Chair in Environmental Law and Justice in the Green Economy, Osgoode Hall Law School
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Lunch

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Keynote Remarks

Justice Ian Binnie, QC
Former Judge, Supreme Court of Canada

 

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Panel: Corporate Accountability, Gender & Resource Extraction

In the context of resource, extraction women are a vulnerable population, often placed in the most precarious circumstances. Private security personnel hired by extractive companies may engage in acts of gender-based violence, discrimination, and oppression against women. Women working within or ancillary to the extractive industry face discrimination, sexual harassment, and violence. While women’s rights are recognized in international human rights treaties, declarations and various guidelines, as well as principles and domestic laws, these violations continue to be an everyday reality for many women. By failing to hold corporations accountable, international and domestic law become part of the problem. This panel will discuss ongoing regulatory developments aimed at addressing gendered violence within and associated with extractive activity and how such violations may be addressed in the larger international legal system.

CHAIR AND MODERATOR:

  • Penelope Simons, Professor, Faculty of Law & Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa

PANELISTS:

  • Doris E. Buss, Professor, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University
  • Gabriela Jiménez, Coordinator, Latin America Partnerships, KAIROS Canada
  • Valerie Oosterveld, Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies), Faculty of Law, Western University
  • Rachel Warden, Program Coordinator, Gender Justice and Women of Courage and Latin American Partnerships, KAIROS Canada
3:30 pm – 3:45 pm

Coffee Break

3:45 pm – 5:15 pm

Case Study: Das v George Weston Limited

On July 5, 2017, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a proposed class action brought in Ontario by plaintiffs suing Loblaws for the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The collapse resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries. The Ontario Superior Court found no duty of care for putative class members and found that Loblaws could not be held liable for its subsidiary’s actions. Among other topics, this panel will explore discussions related to corporate social responsibility policies, procedures, and liability.

CHAIR AND MODERATOR:

  • Craig Scott, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School

PANELISTS:

  • Karin Buhmann, Professor, Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School
  • Maureen Kilgour, Associate Professor, Department of Business and Administration, University of Winnipeg
  • Joel Rochon, Founding and Managing Partner, Rochon Genova LLP
5:15 pm

Closing Remarks & Reception