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Who we are
How we work
The extractive sector CSR counsellor is appointed through an Order-in-Council by the Government of Canada as a special advisor to the Minister of International Trade. The CSR Counsellor receives direction from, and reports to, the Minister. The organizational profile of the Office can be found on the website of Governor in Council Appointments.
Governor-in-Council appointees are required to perform their duties in the public interest. Their personal and professional conduct must be beyond reproach. The Government of Canada has established clear conflict of interest and post-employment rules for public office holders, in the Conflict of Interest Act, which explain the steps to be taken to avoid real or apparent conflicts between their private interests and public responsibilities. The conflict of interest and ethics commissioner is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act. Appointees discuss their circumstances in confidence with officials in the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
Governor-in-Council appointees are also subject to the Ethical Guidelines for Public Office Holders and the Guidelines for the Political Activities of Public Office Holders.
The CSR counsellor is also a designated public office holder. Such public office holders have certain responsibilities under the Lobbying Act.
Upon assuming a Governor in Council position, the appointee must ensure that all obligations under the Lobbying Act and its regulations are met. The commissioner of lobbying is responsible for ensuring compliance with this Act. Appointees may discuss their circumstances in confidence with officials in the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying.
All of the staff of the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor are public servants of the Government of Canada and are subject to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service.
History of the Office
The position of the extractive sector CSR counsellor was established in 2009 as part of the Government of Canada’s first CSR strategy for the Canadian extractive (mining, oil and gas) sector: Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector. The strategy was designed to enhance the ability of Canadian extractive companies working outside Canada to manage social and environmental risks, to contribute to their success abroad, and to reflect Canadian values and leadership in responsible business practice.
In November 2014, the government launched an updated CSR strategy, Doing Business the Canadian Way: A Strategy to Advance Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad. The updated strategy outlined the Government of Canada’s expectation that Canadian companies operating abroad respect human rights and all applicable local and international laws, and meet or exceed widely-recognized international standards for responsible business conduct.
The update also refocused the role of the CSR counsellor and strengthened the Office’s mandate to:
- Promote CSR guidelines to the extractive sector;
- Advise companies on incorporating these guidelines into their operations;
- Prevent, detect and resolve disputes in their early stages;
- Work closely with Canada’s National Contact Point for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on responsible business conduct; and
- Provide support to Canada’s embassies, trade commissioners and other Government of Canada officials promoting CSR to Canadian extractive companies operating internationally.
The 2014 CSR strategy also established the withdrawal of Government of Canada support in foreign markets as a penalty for companies that do not embody CSR best practices and who refuse to participate in the CSR Counsellor’s Office dialogue facilitation processes.
Jeffrey Davidson was appointed as the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor in March 2015, and took up office in May 2015. He is the second person appointed as the CSR counsellor; Dr. Marketa Evans served as the first CSR counsellor between October 2009 and October 2013.
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