Canada’s World-Class Mining Sector Creates Jobs and Growth and Shows the Benefits of Trade, Says International Trade Minister

Minister Ed Fast attends Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto to highlight Canadian mining expertise at work in Canada and abroad

March 5, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today highlighted the important contribution Canadian mining, oil and gas companies make in creating jobs and growth in every region of Canada and around the world.

“Canada’s world-class mining companies are recognized as overwhelmingly positive corporate citizens that create jobs and prosperity for hardworking Canadians and our trading partners alike,” said Minister Fast during a tour of PDAC 2012, this year’s edition of the annual trade convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in Toronto. “The Canadian mining sector and its related industries contributed more than $35 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product in 2010. These Canadian companies provide high-value jobs to thousands of workers around the world and in Canada.”

Accounting for almost half the mining activities in the world, Canadian companies in the extractive sector have interests in more than 8,000 properties in 100 countries—representing approximately 12 percent of Canada’s direct investment abroad. These companies create economic development and growth in the countries where they operate, including Canada. The extractive sector employs more than 300,000 Canadians across the country. The sector also accounts for 17.5 percent of Canada’s total domestic exports.

“The Government of Canada plays an important role in the global extractive industry,” said Scott Jobin-Bevans, PDAC’s president. “For example, last month PDAC welcomed the conclusion of negotiations toward the foreign investment promotion and protection agreement between Canada and China. This was just one of the many ways the Government of Canada works with our industry to help us succeed abroad.”

In 2009, the government announced Building the Canadian Advantage: a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector to help guide the performance of Canadian companies abroad. Through the CSR strategy, the Government of Canada is working closely with all stakeholders, including PDAC and the Mining Association of Canada, to advance CSR initiatives and practices around the world.

In October 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development. This initiative will build on Canada’s leadership in the mining sector to support and build natural resource management capacity in developing countries.

“These commitments are further proof of how deepened trade is a win-win situation for Canada and our trading partners,” said Minister Fast. “Canadian workers and families benefit from the jobs and prosperity that are generated when our businesses expand and succeed abroad. Our trading partners, developing countries in particular, also benefit, from increased economic opportunities and from our knowledge, skills and experience, which can help them better manage their resources, leading to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.”

Many Canadian companies are engaged in CSR projects, developed in close collaboration with local communities and governments. The projects include, among others, donating agricultural equipment in Argentina, supporting a reforestation project in Chile, supporting a mechanized potable water system in Ghana, providing medical services and medical supplies in Mexico, and investing in skills development in Peru.

On the margins of PDAC 2012, Minister Fast met with senior mining executives and representatives of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum and the Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export during a luncheon sponsored by the Mining Association of Canada. He also held bilateral meetings with ministerial counterparts from Chile, Colombia, Honduras and Peru, among other countries where Canadian mining operations are active. 

For more information on Canada’s CSR policies, please visit Corporate Social Responsibility.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000

Backgrounder - Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

In March 2009, the Government of Canada announced Building the Canadian Advantage: a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector. The CSR strategy builds on the government’s long-standing commitment to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and THE OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which include the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and the Global Reporting Initiative. The strategy is founded on the following four pillars:

  • The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor assists in resolving social and environmental issues relating to Canadian companies operating abroad in this field.
  • The Centre of Excellence provides information for companies, non-governmental organizations and others.
  • The Canadian International Development Agency and Natural Resources Canada provide continuing assistance for foreign governments to develop their capacity to manage natural resource development in a sustainable and responsible manner.
  • The CSR strategy promotes internationally recognized CSR performance and reporting guidelines.

Furthermore, in October 2011, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development. The new institute 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 between the Government of Canada, Canada’s private sector and Canadian civil-society organizations.

Other continuing policies include the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Equator Principles.

The Government of Canada defines CSR as comprising the voluntary activities undertaken by a company to operate in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. The CSR practices of Canadian companies operating abroad are of increasing importance to the companies themselves, the various stakeholders and the overall image of Canada.