Harper Government Launches Cross-Country Extractive-Sector Consultations

September 18, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today launched a series of consultations that will help guide the Government of Canada as it looks at ways to continue to support the extractive sector and better help it succeed in priority markets around the world. Minister Fast made the announcement at a round-table meeting with representatives of many of Canada’s world-leading extractive-sector companies.

“As a key driver of the Canadian economy, Canada’s world-leading extractive sector is creating jobs and prosperity here at home and in every corner of the globe, and our government is proud of its success,” said Minister Fast. “To help Canadian companies continue to thrive in priority global markets, our government is undertaking cross-country consultations with the extractive sector over the next few weeks. The feedback we receive will help guide the policies we pursue and the support we provide as part of our efforts to maximize the extractive sector’s success abroad.”

Extractive-sector (mining and oil and gas) exports generated $124 billion in 2012, accounting for over 28 percent of total domestic exports. With interests in more than 8,000 properties in more than 100 countries, Canadian extractive-sector companies account for almost half the mining and exploration activity in the world. Their international efforts support thousands of high-paying jobs across Canada—in cities as well as in rural and remote communities—and in communities where Canadian companies operate abroad. Nearly 3,200 suppliers provide expertise to the industry, including hundreds of engineering, environmental, legal, financial and equipment companies. Canada has the world’s second-largest mining supply sector.

“As our government continues to focus on the real priorities of Canadian workers and their families—jobs, growth and long-term prosperity—ensuring that key sectors of our economy succeed is essential,” said Minister Fast. “I look forward to hearing how we can better help our world-class extractive-sector companies expand and take advantage of opportunities in large, dynamic and fast-growing markets around the world, which we know supports job creation and prosperity here at home.”

Canadian extractive-sector companies operate projects in the United States, South America, Africa, Europe and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information, please visit Cross-Country Extractive Sector Consultations.

A backgrounder follows.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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Backgrounder - Canada’s Global Leadership in the Extractive Sector

Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

In March 2009, the Harper government launched Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector.

The strategy builds on the government’s long-standing commitment to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Canada’s CSR strategy is founded on four pillars:

  • continuation of the government’s assistance to foreign governments to develop their capacity to manage natural resource development in a sustainable and responsible manner;
  • promotion of internationally recognized CSR performance and reporting guidelines, including the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and the Global Reporting Initiative;
  • establishment of the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor, which assists stakeholders in reviewing CSR practices and resolving social and environmental issues related to Canadian companies operating abroad in this sector, and advises them on the implementation of those international CSR performance standards endorsed by Canada’s CSR strategy; and
  • establishment of the Centre for Excellence in CSR, which provides companies, non-governmental organizations and others with information on CSR practices and approaches.

Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development

In October 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development. This announcement delivered on the Government of Canada’s commitment to support initiatives in developing countries that promote sustainable economic growth, create jobs and reduce long-term poverty.

This initiative will benefit partner countries by enhancing their capacity to manage their natural resources, including minerals, oil and gas.

It will undertake policy research to identify best practices in extractive-sector management for individual countries and arrange technical assistance for governments and communities in developing countries through a partnership among the federal government, Canada’s private sector and Canadian civil-society organizations. The Institute will draw on lessons learned in Canada on extractive-sector management.

Transparency and Accountability in the Canadian Extractive Sector

In June 2013, the Harper government announced that Canada will establish new mandatory reporting standards for Canadian extractive companies with a view to enhancing transparency on the payments they make to governments.

The new reporting regime will be established with a view to improving transparency, ensuring that Canada’s framework is consistent with existing international standards and aligned with the regimes of other G-8 countries, ensuring a level playing field for companies operating domestically and abroad, enhancing investment certainty, helping reinforce the integrity of Canadian extractive companies and helping to ensure that citizens around the world benefit from the natural resources in their country.

Canada’s commitment to transparency in the extractives sector is evidenced by:

  • support to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI);
  • establishment of the new Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development, based at the University of British Columbia;
  • support to the African Mineral Development Centre;
  • continued implementation of Canada’s CSR Strategy; and
  • numerous initiatives in resource-rich partner countries.

Partnerships with Peru and Tanzania to Further Strengthen Transparency in Their Extractive Industries

Canada will take a leadership role within the G-8, working with Peru and Tanzania, to increase transparency and strengthen governance in their oil, gas and mining sectors and to help ensure that their citizens derive the maximum benefit from their natural resources.

The responsible and transparent management of natural resources is an important driver of sustainable economic growth in developing countries. Through these new partnerships, Canada will work with Peru and Tanzania to strengthen the tools they need to effectively manage their natural-resource industries, thus ensuring that their citizens benefit fully from these precious assets.

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

In October 2012, the Harper government announced $20 million over four years in new support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Extractive Industries Technical Advisory Facility (EITAF). These initiatives support the Government of Canada’s CSR Strategy and are in keeping with a recommendation put forward at the 12th Francophonie Summit in the City of Québec in 2008 that the EITI become an international standard for transparency.