April 2nd, 2014

New Democrats move to make extraction companies more socially responsible

MP Ève Péclet (La Pointe-de-L’Île) has introduced a bill to strengthen corporate social responsibility (CSR) among Canadian extracting companies operating in developing countries.

Seventy-five percent of international mining companies are registered in Canada, and most operate in countries where workers’ rights, human rights and environmental protections are inadequate.

“Extraction companies are often subsidized by the Canadian government and must be held accountable when operating abroad. These Canadian companies need to reflect our values and respect human and workers’ rights, along with the environment. The NDP is taking this issue seriously by sending them a clear message,” said Péclet.

The bill would modify the current Office of the CSR Counsellor, replacing its mandate and objectives. An ombudsman’s office would be created to ensure that CSR is respected through Canadian extraction companies’ activities in developing nations. This bill is based on recommendations from the National Roundtables on CSR and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries, which brought together companies and NGOs.

“Instead of creating an ombudsman, the Conservatives created the Office of the CSR Counsellor. Unfortunately, this body has no real power and produces few results. My bill aims to correct that,” said Péclet.

This new ombudsman would have powers to investigate complaints and to make its findings publicly available. It would also be able to recommend legislative provisions and propose sanctions to be issued by the Government of Canada.