Government response on CSR and extractives: Fool’s Gold
For two years, parliamentarians, civil society, industry and the Canadian public have waited for the Government of Canada to issue a response to the ground-breaking consensus report from the National Roundtables on Extractive Industries (see IU March 2007). Against great odds, that process produced a consensus document, endorsed by industry and civil society, on a program of policy reform regarding the overseas operations of Canadian extractive companies that would make Canada a leader on the world stage.
Government Squanders Opportunity to Hold Extractive Companies to Account
(Ottawa- March 26, 2009) Today’s government announcement on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has squandered the important consensus reached by industry and civil society organizations on how to ensure that the overseas operations of Canadian extractive companies adhere to international environmental and human rights standards. Almost two years ago, the multi-stakeholder Advisory Group to the National Roundtables on CSR in the Extractive Sector submitted its consensus report to the Canadian government. Today’s long-awaited response ignores the report’s central recommendations.
The Export Development Act, which came into force in 1969, established Export Development Canada and continues to govern its operations. Section 25 of the statute mandates a review, every ten years, of the legislation’s provisions and its operation. No later than one year following the commencement of the review, the designated Minister must submit a report to Parliament, which is considered in committee.
This submission to the review, prepared by the Halifax Initiative, focuses on the environmental, social and human rights standards utilized by EDC when it assesses client proposals. The submission also examines the legislative provisions governing disclosure by the Crown corporation.
June 5, 2008
Ms. Karyn Keenan and Mr. Denis Tougas
c/o The Halifax Initiative
153 Chapel Street
Ottawa ON KIN 1H5
This refers to your letter of April 25 to Mr. Eric Siegel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Export Development Canada concerning the Tenke Fungurume project. We are pleased to have an opportunity to continue our dialogue with you including our earlier exchange of letters in 2007.
On May 29, Bill C-293 or the “better aid bill”, received royal assent, now legally requiring Canadian official development assistance (ODA) to contribute to poverty reduction, take into account the perspectives of the poor, and be consistent with international human rights standards. Finance Canada, among others, is in the process of developing plans on how to implement the Bill in practice. These comments are intended to help Finance Canada in its interpretation of the Bill for the various international financial institutions (IFIs) for which it is the lead agency.
Mr. Eric Siegel
President and Chief Executive Officer
151 O’Connor St.
Dear Mr. Siegel:
On March 20, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo publicly released the report of the Mining Contract Review Commission. The Commission is an inter-ministerial body mandated to review numerous contracts that were awarded to mining companies between 1996 and 2005 in the DRC. The Commission confirms that many of the contracts are highly irregular and that their terms are extremely unjust. The government body recommends that a significant number of these agreements be annulled and in some cases, renegotiated.
The Canadian Government, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund: A REPORT CARD on FINANCE CANADA’S 2007 ANNUAL REPORT to PARLIAMENT
Every year at the end of March, the Minister of Finance tables the “Report on Operations under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act”. The Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 established the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The annual report details Canadian priorities, commitments and interests over the past fiscal year at these institutions. The annual report to Parliament is an important tool for assessing the government’s actions within these institutions relative to its foreign policy and development objectives, and for informing Parliament and the Canadian public about Canadian priorities at these important multilateral fora. Canada is among a number of countries that report to Parliament on their activities at these institutions.
Government’s Response to Mining Report Still Underground
By Michelle Collins, Embassy Newspaper
It has been just over a year since a highly anticipated report recommending significant steps to ensure Canadian mining companies operating abroad adhere to socially responsible standards was submitted to the government.
Yet despite indications from Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the G8 leaders’ summit last June that Canada—which has the world’s largest number of extractive companies—was poised to take the lead, nothing more has emerged, and observers and critics say they have no idea what to expect, or when.