Americas Policy Group

APG brings together approximately 40 Canadian NGOs focused on development and social justice issues in the Americas.

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Americas Policy Group

The Americas Policy Group (APG) is a Canadian civil society policy group focused on development and social justice issues in the Americas. It brings together approximately 40 international development and humanitarian NGOs, human rights groups, labour unions, research institutions, church and solidarity groups. The APG is financially supported by its member organizations, CCIC, and the Canadian Partnership Program of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

APG 2016

Select one of the categories on the left, or visit our Archives section for past documentation.

Introduction to the Americas Policy Group (APG)

Working Group Value-Added Statement (PDF)

Click here for APG Action Plan 2016-2017 (PDF)


Open Letter to Minister Freeland - Concerning political prisoners being held in maximum-security prison in Honduras - 28 March 2018

Report - Canada-Mexico Human Rights Dialogue 2018 - Summary of Recommendations
7 February 2018 | Ottawa

On February 7th, 2018, Global Affairs Canada convened a consultation session with the Americas Policy Group (APG), a regional working group of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), in preparation for the second Canada-Mexico Bilateral Dialogue on Human Rights. 

Members of the Americas Policy Group identified priority human rights issues for Canada’s engagement with Mexico and recommendations for both the Canada-Mexico Bilateral Dialogue on Human Rights and Canada’s ongoing relationship with Mexico. Read the full report here.

Press Release - Americas Policy Group Welcomes Boost in Funding to the Inter-American Human Rights System
July 21, 2017 | Ottawa

The Americas Policy Group (APG) welcomes the resolution adopted by the Organization of American States (OAS) to increase the annual budget of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Read the full release here.

Open Letter to Minister Freeland - Concerning Financing of the Inter-American Human Rights System - May 16, 2017

Breakfast on the Hill for Peace in Colombia
December 1, 2016 | Ottawa 
On December 1, the Americas Policy Group, in collaboration with KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, organized a breakfast on Parliament Hill with guest speaker Isabel Caicedo Polanco from the Organización Feminina Popular (OFP), an NGO that promotes women’s rights and works tirelessly for peace in Colombia. Members of Parliament who attended the meeting were touched by Isabel's testimony. This event was an important opportunity to raise parliamentarian’s awareness on the fragile peace process in this South American country and the importance of providing long-term support to grassroots local organizations. Also guest speaker MP Robert Nault, Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, shared remarks on the Committee’s recent travels to the region and its recent report Supporting peace and development in Guatemala and Colombia for the long-term.  This type of event also provides a space where APG members and Members of Parliament can build relationships and strengthen means of collaboration.

Parliamentary Strategy Workshop for members of the Americas Policy Group
November 22, 2016 | Ottawa 
On November 22, 37 members of CCIC’s Regional Working Groups gathered at the offices of WUSC in Ottawa to learn more on how to build successful relationships with Members of Parliament and advocate effectively for their issues. Both newcomers and experienced members expressed their satisfaction with the analysis of the current political context provided by Velma McColl, Managing Principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group and by Shaughn McArthur, Advocacy and Government Relations Advisor at CARE Canada. They also appreciated the hands-on tips provided by political staffer Tom Allen, Assistant to MP Cheryl Hardcastle. And the highlight of the workshop was the candid discussion with special guest Anita Vandenbeld, Member of Parliament for Ottawa West — Nepean. The workshop ended with separate strategy sessions for each region: The Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Engaged Americas Policy Group Meeting in Ottawa
October 3-4, 2016 | Ottawa 
The Americas Policy Group (APG) held its bi-annual meeting on October 3 and 4, 2016 at the offices of CUPW in Ottawa, where 26 members from 23 organizations attended and enjoyed great presentations from partners in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico. In terms of highlights, participants noted that this was the first APG meeting held in three languages (English, French and Spanish), as well as participation in the Solidarity Rally for the Migrant Workers' Caravan. In addition, APG members had a first meeting with MP Karina Gould, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of International Development and La Francophonie to discuss her trip to Guatemala and Honduras in July 2016. The APG-Mesoamerica and APG-Colombia subgroups also had their meetings. View pictures from the event here on CCIC’s Flickr.


Letter to Minister Freeland - Concerns of the Americas Policy Group (APG) with regard to the Fifth Annual Report Pursuant to the Agreement concerning Annual Reports on Human Rights and Free Trade between Canada and the Republic of Colombia - October 19, 2016

Letter to Minister Dion - Americas Policy Group deeply concerned by violence against land and environment defenders in the Americas - October 11, 2016 (PDF)

APG monitors new peace accord in Colombia
September 2016
The Americas Policy Group is watching closely the events in Colombia after the government and the FARC signed a peace agreement. This historic deal is generating hope among Colombians who dream of a better future. APG members have been working for decades to promote respect for human rights and union rights, and for the end of the conflict. Their ties with local organizations have allowed them to forge solid bonds with local populations. The next APG meeting, on October 3 and 4 in Ottawa, will happen right after the Colombian plebiscite, and it will be an opportunity to look at this important agreement and discuss the role of Canada. ¡Viva Colombia!

CCIC's Regional Working Groups are now on social media!
September 2016
Building on a number of existing initiatives, the RWGs have a new communication outreach strategy, with the goal of improving communications amongst members to help them share and network, enhance publicity for their events and campaigns, get their issues on decision makers’ radars and improve their outreach to the public. The RWGs plan to do this through a new shareable calendar and social media engagement. The RWGs will now tweet and share through CCIC’s social media presence, using personalized hashtags for each region (#CCICAmericas, #CCCIAmériques, #CCICAfrica, #CCCIAfrique, #CCICAsiaPacific, #CCCIAsiePacifique).

CCIC and APG its members at The World Social Forum
August 2016 | Montreal
With 35 000 participants from 120 countries, the 12th edition of the World Social Forum in Montreal offered, once again, a unique space for debates and discussions, in order to build a better world. Many CCIC members and members of CCIC's Regional Working Groups were actively involved and organized numerous workshops. For example, CUPE, USW and other unions coordinated activities on labour rights; Oxfam offered activities for and by the youth; Inter Pares held several workshops on equality and social justice; Mining Watch and Kairos held presentations by southern partners on the battle for accountability in the extractive sector and tax justice, among others. CCIC, in collaboration with Voices and CPDE, organized debates on the state of civil society around the world, and also co-organized a workshop on accountability around the SDGs, with AQOCI.


APG participates in the International Assistance Review consultations
June 27, 2016 | Ottawa
On June 27th, members of the APG participated in a dialogue with Global Affairs Canada. The objective of this meeting was to discuss Canadian priorities in the region and to make recommendations to the government for the purposes of the review of its international aid policy. Members of the APG made recommendations to the government to rethink its policies and its international aid programs in order to make them more innovative, efficient and relevant. Click here to see full recommendation by APG.

Whose rights are we protecting? Public forum on Trade, Investments and Human Rights
June 7, 2016 | Ottawa
On June 7th, the three CCIC regional working groups organized a public forum on trade and investment agreements and their impact on human rights and the environment. Sanya Reid-Smith, legal advisor at Third World Network, Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians and the lawyer Steven Shrybman all participated in the debate. The event, which took place in a room filled to capacity, helped to raise awareness about the negative impact of these agreements and to propose alternatives.  The report Whose rights are we protecting? is available in both English and French. This forum was the culmination of the collective work of the Americas Policy Group, the Africa-Canada Forum and the Asia Pacific Working Group.   The regional working groups are inviting the public to get involved by visiting this website:

Letter to Minister Dion - Americas Policy Group expresses its deep concern regarding the situation in Colombia - June 3, 2016 (PDF)

Annual Meeting of the Americas Policy Group
April 2016 | Montreal
The Americas Policy Group held its first annual meeting in Montreal on April 4 and 5th. The members present over teleconference or in person contributed to the quality of the programing with hot topics sessions on Colombia, Honduras and North American Leader’s Summit. Everyone effectively contributed to the APG strategic planning for this year, a crucial year in terms of policy recommendations for the new government.


Recent Publications

Submission to Global Affairs Canada – International Assistance Review (July 14, 2016) - (PDF)

Canada's Role in the Americas 

Sixth Summit of the Americas in Colombia, April 14-15, 2012

Canada Should Seek a Greater Role beyond Trade in the Americas
- Article by Jim Hodgson and Tara Ward in Development Unplugged blog, Huffington Post Canada (April 29, 2015)

Canada's regional Americas strategy at a crossroads - Op Ed by By Beatriz Gonzalez, Rachel Warden,Julia Sánchez (April 2012)

Briefing Note: Democratic Governance
(April 12, 2012) (433 kb)

Briefing Note: Mining (April 12, 2012) (443 kb)

Briefing Note: Security (April 12, 2012) (351 kb)

Briefing Note: Trade (April 12, 2012) (434 kb)


Statement of the Americas Policy Group – What Role for Canada in the Americas? (April 15, 2009) (PDF 80 Kb)

The 5th Summit of the Americas: Time for a Grand Gesture? – Op-ed by Gerry Barr (April 8, 2009 – Embassy)


Human Rights and Democratic Development

The Colombia Working Group Welcomes Steps Towards Peace Agreement in Colombia (October 1, 2015)

Letter to Minister Nicholson on renewal of mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala
(April 21, 2015)

Letter to Senator MacDonald on Colombia
(February 3, 2015)

Three Amigos summit delay a missed opportunity (January 28, 2015)
Op Ed in Embassy

Letter to Minister Baird on 43 disappeared students in Mexico.
(December 17, 2014)

Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement: Another example of our country’s poor record on trade and human rights.
Open letter published in Embassy (July 9, 2014)

Letter to Ambassador Savage Regarding Threats to Human Rights Accompaniers in Guatemala, Canadian Ambassador in Guatemala (June 24, 2014)

Canada must call for dialogue amid unrest in Venezuela. Open letter published in Embassy (March 26, 2014)

Guatemala: Canada must break its silence. Open letter published in Embassy (January 10, 2014). Long version of the letter here. Version espanol disponible aqui.

Trade at the Expense of Human Rights?
Open letter published in iPolitics (November 6, 2013)

Why Is Canada Friendly with Repressive Honduran Regime? Op Ed published in Embassy Magazine (May 22, 2013)

Letter to Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy regarding security and human rights issues in Guatemala (12 October 2012)

Colectiva de Mujeres Hondureñas (CODEMUH) presentation to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development Hearing on Honduras - in Spanish only (March 9, 2011)

Honduran Centre for the Promotion of Community Development presentation to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development Hearing on Honduras (March 9, 2011)

Plataforma de Derechos Humanos Truth Commission presentation to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development Hearing on Honduras (March 9, 2011)

Amnesty International Canada’s submission to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development Hearing on Honduras, (March 9, 2011).

Read the Hansard Record of the March 9, 2011 Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development Hearing on Honduras

Honduras: Democracy Denied - Para la versión español de este documento entra aquí. (Spanish version)
The report takes a critical look at the coup in Honduras, key issues for democracy and human rights, and Canada’s role. Specifically, the report reviews Canadian diplomatic efforts during the crisis, as well as the role of Canadian investors and businesses operating in the country prior to and during the coup. The report also makes a number of recommendations to facilitate a return to a strengthened constitutional order, respecting the human rights and development needs of Honduran citizens. (April 2010) (PD 238 Kb) (Executive Summary, PDF 75 Kb)

Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the coup d'état in Honduras (July 22, 2009) (PDF 72 Kb) (Spanish version

Letter to Minister Peter Kent on the murder of Salvadoran human rights defender and community activist Marcelo Rivera (July 22,  2009) (PDF 81 Kb) (Spanish version)

Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper regarding the recent violence and human rights violations in the Amazonas Region of Peru (June 15, 2009) (PDF 54Kb)

Americas Policy Group Welcomes the Release of Colombian Hostages (July 4, 2008)

Letter to the Honourable Maxime Bernier on the recent attacks against NGOs, unions and human rights defenders in Colombia (April 10, 2008) (PDF 23 Kb)


Human rights and trade 

Colombia in the shadow of human rights abuses (July 2015)
A report from the Colombia Working Group

Fact Sheet 1: Repression and Human Rights Violations in Colombia (July 2015)

Fact Sheet 2: Labour Rights in Colombia: A Story of Violence (July 2015)

Fact Sheet 3: Land and Restitution (July 2015)

Canadian report on human rights and free trade with Colombia flawed from the get go
(June 16, 2014)

Honduran human rights leader to visit Ottawa and urge MPs to put human rights first (April 3, 2014)

Ottawa falling short on key provision of free-trade deal
- Article in the Globe and Mail (March 29, 2014)

Press release:
Canada/Colombia Free Trade Deal: Meaningless Consultation Process Sells Human Rights Short (March 24, 2014)

Another non-report on human rights and trade with Colombia
- Op Ed in Embassy (June 26, 2013)

Conservatives reneged on agreement to study impact of free trade on human rights in Colombia- Article in the Globe and Mail (June 2013)

Analysis of the Canadian Government’s First Human Rights Report on the Canada-Colmbia FTA - briefing note (May 2012)

First Colombian trade deal human rights report is a disappointment - Op-ed by Brittany Lambert and Raul Burbano (May 2012)

UN Human Rights Expert Puts Spotlight Back on Controversial Canada-Colombia FTA - media release (May 2012)

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Human Rights Impact Report - briefing note (May 2012).

Human rights accountability in trade with Colombia - Op-ed by Gauri Sreenivasan (August 2011 - Embassy)

CCIC Briefing Note: Key Benchmarks for a Human Rights Impact Assessment for the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (June 2009) (PDF 69 Kb)

Making a Bad Situation Worse: An Analysis of the Text of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement – While trade can support development and the realization of human rights, the authors find that neither the political conditions in Colombia, nor the terms of this FTA meet the criteria that would allow that to happen. (in Spanish)  (March 26, 2009) (PDF 934 Kb)

Conducting a Human Rights Impact Assessment of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement:  Key Issues (February 2009) (PDF 101 Kb)

Colombian Visitors Oppose Trade Deal With Canada – Canadian Press article (February 10, 2009 - Toronto Star) (PDF 29 Kb)

Signing Free Trade Pact With Colombia Presents Grave Human Rights Concerns
 – Joint Statement: AI and CCIC (November 24, 2008) (PDF 29 Kb)

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