Protocol

The Office of the Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor for the Extractive Sector
And
National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Table of Contents

1. Purpose

This Protocol outlines the administrative relationship that governs the procedures and communication between the Counsellor and the NCP.

2. Background

2.1 CSR Counsellor for the Extractive Sector

As one of the pillars of the Government of Canada's CSR policy announced in March, 2009, (Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector), the Government created a new office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor ("Counsellor").

As outlined in the Order-in-Council of March 25, 2009, which created the position of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor for the Extractive Sector, the mandate of the Counsellor is:

  • (a) to review the corporate social responsibility practices of Canadian extractive sector companies operating outside Canada; and
  • (b) to advise stakeholders on the implementation of the performance guidelines. The performance guidelines are defined in the OIC as the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human

Rights, the Global Reporting Initiative and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, all of which deal with corporate social responsibility and are endorsed by the Government of Canada.

2.2 NCP

Canada has been a signatory to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises ("Guidelines") since its inception in 1976. The Guidelines are a comprehensive set of corporate social responsibility standards which are endorsed by governments and recommended to corporations.

Countries that adhere to the Guidelines are required to establish and maintain a National Contact Point ("NCP").

The Canadian NCP's institutional structure is an interdepartmental committee. The members of the interdepartmental committee include representatives from Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Environment Canada, Finance Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Industry Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and Natural Resources Canada. The Secretariat is provided by DFAIT. The NCP committee is chaired by DFAIT at the Director General level.

The primary documents that outline the role and responsibilities of the NCPs are the "Procedural Guidance" chapter of the Guidelines, as well as the "Commentary on the Implementation Procedures of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises". According to the Procedural Guidance chapter of the Guidelines, the role of the NCP is "to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines". The responsibilities of the NCP consist of:

  • 1) making the Guidelines known and available;
  • 2) raising awareness of the Guidelines;
  • 3) responding to enquiries about the Guidelines;
  • 4) contributing to the resolution of issues that arise relating to the implementation of the Guidelines in specific instances, and;
  • 5) reporting annually to the OECD Investment Committee.

3. OIC Provisions Regarding the Responsibilities of the Counsellor and NCP

Section five (5) of the OIC provides:

    • 5.(2) The National Contact Point shall remain the primary authority concerning the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
    • 5.(3) If a request for review is received by the Counsellor that relates only to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the Counsellor shall refer the request to the National Contact Point
    • 5.(4) If a request for review is received by the Counsellor or the National Contact Point that relates to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and any other performance guidelines, the Counsellor shall lead the review and shall consult with the National Contact Point on issues relating to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

4. Communications and Procedures

4.1. For purposes of efficient and effective management of case files and ensuring that files are dealt with by the appropriate office, the Counsellor and the NCP agree to communicate as follows:

      • (a) When the Counsellor or the NCP receive a request for review, they shall inform each other in writing (i.e. by email or mail) within a week (seven calendar days) of receipt. The notice shall contain the names of the parties named in the submission (i.e. notifier(s) and the company(ies)), as well as a summary of the submission (what issues are raised and which sections of which standards are referenced).
      • (b) If a question should arise as to which office would be the most appropriate one to deal with a request for review, the Counsellor and the NCP shall communicate with a view to resolving the matter.
      • (c) In cases identified in OIC subsection 5.(4) where the Counsellor has the lead on the review of a case involving the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and any other performance guideline, the Counsellor shall consult with the NCP by sharing the request for review and subsequent materials received from both parties with the NCP. Then the Counsellor will request in writing the NCP's views with respect to the elements of the request for review that deal with the OECD Guidelines. The NCP will respond in writing in a timely fashion taking into consideration the timelines of the respective offices' procedures. The NCP shall provide the corresponding assistance as it considers appropriate with respect to the OECD Guidelines portion of the review.
      • (d) In cases identified in OIC subsection 5.(4) where the Counsellor has the lead on the review of a case involving the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and any other performance guideline, the Counsellor shall keep the NCP informed of material developments in the review of the case, and further consult when warranted by new information or developments as appropriate.
      • (e) In cases identified in OIC subsection 5.(4) where the Counsellor has the lead on the review of a case involving the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and any other performance guideline, the Counsellor shall keep the NCP informed of any decision the Counsellor should make with respect to the review process and procedures or substantive issues in the review of any case involving the OECD Guidelines within three days of making the decision or informing the parties (whichever is earlier).
      • (f) In cases identified in OIC subsection 5.(4) where the Counsellor has the lead on the review of a case involving the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and any other performance guideline, the Counsellor shall inform the NCP of the results of any review involving the OECD Guidelines and consult with the NCP regarding the wording prior to informing the parties (OIC 6.(7)).
      • (g) In cases identified in OIC subsection 5.(4) where the Counsellor has the lead on the review of a case involving the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and any other performance guideline, the Counsellor shall consult with the NCP prior to issuing any written public statement following the conclusion of a review of the activities of a Canadian extractive sector company operating outside Canada that involves the OECD Guidelines (OIC 6.(8)).
      • (h) The Counsellor shall advise the NCP regarding the provisions in any report, including annual reports, that refer to the OECD Guidelines and/or the NCP (OIC 7.(3)). Similarly, the NCP shall advise the Counsellor regarding provisions in any report, including annual reports, which refers to the Counsellor .

5. Other Matters and Circumstances Not Specifically Identified

From time to time, the need may arise for the Counsellor and the NCP to discuss issues that arise which are not foreseen and not specifically addressed elsewhere in this Protocol. In these instances, the Counsellor and the NCP shall communicate with a view to resolving the matter.