MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – MSTA Canada (Mining Supplier Trade Association) lauds two new initiatives to strengthen Canada approach to responsible business conduct for Canadian companies operating abroad.
The two initiatives include the appointment of an independent Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) and a multi-stakeholder Advisory Body to advise the Government and the CORE. CORE will replace the current Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor.
The Ombudsperson will be guided by internationally respected norms, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The multi-stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct will include members from diverse backgrounds including from civil society and industry.
In making the announcement on Jan. 17,2018, Minister of International Trade Francois-Philippe Champagne said, “Canada’s leadership in strengthening responsible business conduct abroad reflects the values supported by Canada’s progressive trade agenda where all parties should benefit from economic development, and contributes to Canada’s reputation as an international business partner of choice.”
Ryan McEachern, MSTA managing director commented, “The mining industry in Canada is a leader in Corporate Social Responsibility practices including the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s e3Plus initiatives that were developed in 2004 and 2009, respectively and. We see this initiative as reinforcing to the world the Canada Brand of conducting responsible and respectful business practices at home and abroad and will be a competitive advantage for us.”
Although the focus will be on mining, oil and gas and textile industries, it is important to note that the initiatives will be applied to all Canadian businesses within a year.
Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada, said the role of a special advisory committee is based on recommendations from his association. He questioned, though, how an investigation by a Canadian ombudsperson might work in practice. The new office will likely face difficult situations abroad that may also involve investigations underway by local police or even allegations that involve local authorities.
“We have always had reservations about how, in practical terms, any kind of extraterritorial investigatory function would work, and we’ll continue to have those concerns,” said Gratton. “If that’s the direction they’re going in, we’ll have to see how it works, and if it works.”
Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr was said, “Canadian companies are recognized globally for their leadership in ethical, social, and environmental practices. We will continue to support sustainable natural resource development – at home and abroad – that respects human rights and promotes community level partnerships.”
Manufacturers and suppliers interested in serving the global mining industry should visit www.MSTACanada.ca or call 905-513-0046.