The Review Process

The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor provides a new option for constructive resolution of disputes between Canadian mining, oil and gas companies and project-affected stakeholders outside of Canada. Our problem-solving mechanism, called the Review Process, focuses on dialogue and constructive problem-solving. It is about people with different views and interests working together to find mutually acceptable solutions to resolve disputes or issues.

Meeting with Requestors, Mexico 2011

What is the Review Process?

The Review Process is one way for affected individuals, groups and communities to try and resolve disputes relating to Canadian extractive sector projects outside of Canada. The process provides a safe space for dialogue and creative problem solving. It is designed to generate options for collaborative agreement and solutions.

Canadian mining, oil and gas companies that believe they are the subject of unfounded allegations about their overseas activities may also bring requests to the CSR Counsellor.

The CSR Counsellor invites joint requests in situations where a company and project-affected stakeholders expect to benefit from the involvement of a neutral third party (such as the CSR Counsellor). This means that, together, a company and project-affected people can request the assistance of the CSR Counsellor to resolve disputes or issues. More information is available in our Guidance Note #3: Joint requests for review in the Review Process of the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor.

The process is voluntary for all sides. Participating in this process does not prevent parties from pursuing other ways to seek redress.

The Review Process applies for any Canadian mining, oil or gas company – public or private – in any operations outside of Canada.

How does the Review Process work?

The Review Process is a dispute resolution mechanism – the objective is to foster dialogue and to create constructive paths forward for all parties. There is a high degree of flexibility in the process for parties to seek ways to resolve their dispute constructively.

The process works best when parties freely enter into it and work in good faith with one another.

The CSR Counsellor uses a well-established methodology called interest-based dispute resolution. This means that the CSR Counsellor works with the parties in uncovering what is important to the participants in reaching a solution (i.e. their “interests”). Examples of interests are: Concerns, hopes, expectations, assumptions, priorities, beliefs, fears, values. The CSR Counsellor then helps the parties find mutually agreeable solutions that meet their interests.

The steps in the Review Process are as follows:

Steps of the Request for Review Process

Step 1: A request for review is submitted to the CSR Counsellor.

Step 2: The CSR Counsellor notifies the other party within 24 hours and provides them with a copy of the request. Within 5 business days, the CSR Counsellor acknowledges receipt of the request to the author.

Step 3: The CSR Counsellor carries out an intake screening. This intake screening determines if the request meets the criteria as set out in the CSR Counsellor’s legal mandate. The intake screening is not a judgment on the merits of the request or an assessment of the information contained in the request. The intake screening is completed within 40 business days.

Step 4: The CSR Counsellor works with the participants in facilitating communications and building trust. Typically, the CSR Counsellor carries out a situational assessment that involves a visit to the project site. This step lasts up to about 6 months and may be extended on agreement of the parties.

Step 5: The CSR Counsellor and the parties engage in a structured dialogue. This step lasts up to about 6 months and may be extended on agreement of the parties.

Optional: The parties may also agree to work with a formal mediator to resolve their dispute.

Learn more about submitting a request to the CSR Counsellor.