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Blog Entry

Canada’s National Contact Point is Long Overdue for an Overhaul

Catherine Coumans

Ph.D. Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator

On October 7, 2020, MiningWatch submitted a brief to Global Affairs Canada with detailed recommendations for a complete overhaul of Canada’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines). This Canadian non-judicial body was set up to receive complaints filed by people from around the world who have been harmed by the activities of Canadian corporations that have breached the OECD Guidelines in their operations. The NCP's utter lack of effectiveness in handling these complaints has resulted in further deepening the harm suffered by those bringing the complaints.

MiningWatch previously has raised concerns about the shortcomings of the NCP in a publication in 2015 and in a detailed submission to a peer review of the NCP conducted by the OECD in 2018.  

MiningWatch is not alone in having repeatedly pointed out the failures of the Canadian NCP to live up to its mandate as set out under the OECD Guidelines.

In 2018, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights issued a report on its mission to Canada regarding human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprises. The UN Working Group noted that “it was highlighted to the Working Group that the lack of confidence of civil society in the National Contact Point was apparent, which might have limited the number of cases brought before it.” 

In 2019, the OECD released its peer review report regarding Canada’s National Contact Point. The peer review team found that “there is a lack of confidence and trust in the NCP amongst some civil society and trade union stakeholders. Rebuilding this trust and ensuring continued coherence on RBC across the government of Canada will be central to ensuring the effectiveness of the NCP going forward.”

At this point, a complete overhaul of the NCP's governance structures and operating procedures is called for to bring it in line with best practice among international NCPs as demonstrated by NCPs of, for example, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania and Australia. 

For more information contact: Catherine Coumans, [email protected]