Corporate Accountability in Canada - A MiningWatch Archive

The Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability (CNCA) has also published an archive of selected media pieces, publications, position statements, and briefs released between 2006 and 2010. To see that archive, visit http://cnca-rcrce.ca/

Contents:

1. Key Documents: 2005-2010

2. Presentations before Committee: 2005-2010

3. Letters of Support & Position Statements: 2010

4. Analysis


2005

  • June – Fourteenth report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT). 38th Parliament, 1st Session.

The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International (SCFAIT) tables a landmark report on Mining in Developing Countries - Corporate Social Responsibility.The SCFAIT report recognizes three key realities with respect to the activities of Canadian companies operating overseas: 1) the need to protect human rights; 2) the need for legal reform in Canada to allow for sanction and remedy; 3) the need for regulation to make “…Canadian government support – such as, export and project financing and services offered by Canadian missions abroad – conditional on companies meeting clearly defined corporate social responsibility and human rights standards….”

For a full copy of the report and its recommendations, click here

For an account of MiningWatch's involvement in this process , click here

  • October – Government response to June SCFAIT report (Mining in Developing Countries – Corporate Social Responsibility

The (Liberal) Government of the day does not support the recommendations of the SCFAIT report but agrees to host a series of CSR Roundtables on the issues identified in the SCFAIT report. Elections lead to a Conservative government that agrees to move forward with the proposed CSR Roundtables.

For a full copy of the government's response to SCFAIT's report, click here

For MiningWatch's response, click here

For civil society's response, click here

  • June to November - National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries

The National Roundtables are led by a Steering Committee of eight government departments headed by Foreign Affairs Canada. An Advisory Group made up of members of civil society and industry is formed. MiningWatch Canada’s Catherine Coumans is nominated by civil society organizations to participate on this Advisory Group.

The “Roundtables” cross the country from Vancouver to Toronto to Calgary to Montreal and in each city, members of the public (including representatives from mining-affected communities in developing countries), are given the opportunity to make presentations. MiningWatch helped bring in partners from Peru, Chile, Colombia, Ghana, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Caledonia and Australia as “invited experts” or as public participants.

Not surprisingly, a large number of formal presentations made during this process, speak strongly of the need for the federal government to more effectively hold Canadian companies to high environmental and human rights standards when they operate abroad.

2007

  • March - The Advisory Group's final report on the National Roundtables on CSR and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing countries is published

A consensus report prepared by industry and civil society representatives of the Advisory Group between January and March of 2007 is presented to the federal government.

The report reflects both compromises and gains made by civil society. Industry participants were adamantly opposed to legal reform and to any form of regulation. It also proved difficult to get comprehensive human rights norms included in the CSR standards set put forward. As this became a deal breaker for non-industry members of the Advisory Group, comprehensive human rights provisions were ultimately included. In order to reach consensus, non-industry members of the Advisory Group relinquished the objectives of legal reform and regulation. These compromises were not made lightly! In return, non-industry Advisory Group members pushed for a compelling “accountability mechanism” in the form of an Ombudsman and a Compliance Review Committee. The final CSR package at the core of the 2007 Advisory Group report included comprehensive human rights norms in the standards set, and the possibility of sanction (but not remedy) in the form of withholding of government financial and political support for companies found by the Ombudsman and Compliance Review Committee not to be living up to the adopted standards.

For a full copy of the final report, click here

For MiningWatch's response to the report, click here

2007-2009

Despite joint promotion of the Advisory Group report by civil society organizations and some industry actors during the ensuring months, the government does not respond within that calendar year...nor throughout 2008. Some individual mining companies, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, and the Chamber of Commerce engage in a lobbying campaign to water down the government's forthcoming response to the Advisory group's report

2009

  • February - Bill C-300, "An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries" is tabled by Liberal MP John McKay

Liberal Member of Parliament John McKay presents to the House of Commons a private member' bill, Bill C-300. Bill C-300 would have codified into law many of the core recommendations of the Advisory Group report of 2007 and reflects key recommendations of the 2005 SCFAIT report. Bill C-300 includes comprehensive human rights norms in its standard set, provides a credible complaints mechanism that can be accessed by affected community members from outside of Canada and includes the possibility of sanction for non-compliance with the proposed standards in the form of withdrawal of government financial and political support. Bill C-300 was regulatory in nature as envisioned in the unanimously endorsed 2005 SCFAIT report.

For MiningWatch's summary of the would-be implications of Bill C-300, click here.

For the full text of Bill C-300, click here.

For MiningWatch's position statement on Bill C-300, click here. We also developed a quick reference Fact Sheet.

  • March - Canadian government responds to the March 2007 Advisory Group Report of the CSR Roundtables

The Government of Canada finally releases its official response to the 2007 Advisory Group report on March 26, 2009. The government’s response reflects two years of intensive lobbying by industry and the Chamber of Commerce. The government’s response does not contain comprehensive human rights provisions in the standard set and provides no possibility of sanction by the Government of Canada, thereby abdicating government accountability to Canadians. The provisions of the government’s response are insufficient to assure corporate accountability and protection of human rights and environments.

For a full text of the “Building the Canadian Advantage Plan” see http://www.international.gc.ca/

For MiningWatch's response to the Building the Canadian Advantage Plan, click here

  • October – Bill C-300 is defeated on its third vote in the House of Commons

The House of Commons defeated Bill C-300 by a narrow margin of 140-134 votes on October 27th, 2010. The ruling Conservative party whipped its MPs to oppose the Bill. And while the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois had expressed solid support for the Bill from the start, it was clear that McKay’s own fellow MPs were not united behind the Bill. In the months before the final vote Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff went on the record expressing concern with unspecified aspects of the Bill. The day of the vote, thirteen of 76 Liberal MPs did not vote, 4 members of the NDP did not vote and 6 members of the Bloc did not vote (one independent voted against the Bill and one did not vote). All other MPs from the three opposition parties voted in favour of Bill C-300.

For MiningWatch's response to the defeat of the bill, click here

For MiningWatch's analysis of the vote, click here


2. Presentations and Submissions to Committee: 2005-2010

2005 - Presentations before SCFAIT (a non-comprehensive list):

March 23rd, 2005 - MiningWatch partners from the Philippines

May 18th, 2005 - TVI Pacific, President and CEO Clifford James

June 1st, 2005 - Craig Forcese, Law Professor at the University of Ottawa

2009-2010 - Presentations before SCFAID, In support of Bill C-300 (A non-comprehensive list):

October 8th, 2009 - MiningWatch (Catherine Coumans)

October 8th, 2009 - Richard Janda (Professor, McGill University; CNCA)

October 20th, 2009 - Rights and Democracy (Remy Beauregard)

October 20th, 2009 - Tyler Giannini, Harvard Law School

October 20th, 2009 - Sarah Knuckey, New York University School of Law

October 22nd, 2009 - Halifax Initiative (Karyn Keenan)

October 27th, 2009 - Amnesty International (Alex Neve)

October 27th, 2009 - Development and Peace (Michael Casey)

December 3rd, 2009 - Corporate Knights Forum (Toby A.A. Heaps)

May 25th, 2010 – Amnesty International (Shanta Martin)

June 3rd, 2010 - Human Rights Watch (Chris Albin-Lackey)

June 3rd, 2010 - Penelope Simons, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law

November 19th, 2010 - United Steelworkers (Stephen Hunt)

2009-2010 - Presentations before SCFAID, Against Bill C-300 (A non-comprehensive list):

October 8th, 2009 - Mining Association of Canada (Gordon Peeling)

2009 - Barrick Gold, Goldcorp, Kinross Gold - Joint Submission to SCFAID

October 20th, 2009 - Department of Natural Resources (Stephen Lucas)

October 27th, 2009 - Export Development Canada (Jim McArdle)

May 25th, 2010 - Canadian Chamber of Commerce - Submission , Presentation (Shrley-Ann George)

May 25th, 2010 - International Council on Mining and Metals (Tony Hodge)

June 8th, 2010 - Barrick Gold Submission to SCFAID


3. Letters of Support & Position Statements - Bill C-300

Civil Society:

October 2009 - Mennonite Central Committee - Position Statement

November 2009 - Kairos - Letter of Support

October 2010 - CNCA - Letter of Support

Fall 2010 - Development and Peace - Action Alert

2010 - The Social Justice Committee of Montreal - Action Alert

November 2010 - Civil Society Reaction Letter to Defeat of Bill C-300

Industry:

August 2009 - PDAC Position Statement

November 2009 - Barrick Position Statement


4. Analysis:

May/June 2010 - Canadian Mining - Still Unaccountable (Karyn Keenan, Halifax Initiative)