March 3, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today highlighted Canada’s world-class extractive sector to a group of international delegates and mining industry executives at the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange in Toronto.
“Canada’s mining sector—which employs more than 300,000 Canadians—leads the world in responsible mining practices, and we are proud of the prosperity that this sector is creating here at home and in every corner of the globe,” said Minister Fast during a seminar entitled Extracting Corporate Value out of Responsible Business Conduct—A Four-Pillar Approach. “Through our government’s Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy, we want to help these companies remain world leaders and continue creating jobs and opportunities in Canada and abroad.”
In March 2009, the Harper government established the Office of the Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor and an independent Centre of Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR counsellor Marketa Evans, who was reappointed last fall for a two-year term, plays an important role in promoting responsible business practices in the extractive sector and offers a process for dialogue and constructive dispute resolution to help prevent and resolve social conflicts between Canadian extractive-sector companies overseas and host communities.
“Canadian mineral exploration and development companies are leaders in CSR programming,” said Ross Gallinger, Executive Director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. “Canadian companies operating in foreign environments have utilized programs such as our own e3 Plus, a framework for responsible exploration, toward building best practices abroad. The PDAC supports the Government of Canada’s CSR strategy and the commitment of CIDA [Canadian International Development Agency] to strengthen the governance capacity in developing countries through this important initiative.”
Canadian companies are world leaders in corporate social responsibility and are involved in projects around the world. Canadian extractive-sector companies have interests in more than 8,000 properties in 100 countries, representing 18.8 percent of Canada’s direct investment abroad and creating high-paying jobs back home in Canada.
“Our government is committed to working with our trading partners to pursue policies that support a responsible and sustainable investment environment in the best interests of both workers and businesses,” said Minister Fast. “Raising awareness of Canadian expertise and technology, and sharing our know-how and best practices with industry leaders, helps our companies succeed in today’s competitive global economy.”
For more information on Minister Fast’s participation at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange, please visit Highlighting Canada's World-Class Mining Sector at PDAC 2013.
- 30 -
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade
In March 2009, the Harper government launched Building the Canadian Advantage: Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector. The strategy was informed by consultations with a number of stakeholders, including the national round tables on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the Canadian extractive sector in developing countries, as well as recommendations of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The 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.
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.
The CSR strategy was founded on four pillars:
Canada’s network of diplomatic missions abroad actively promotes responsible business conduct through seminars, conferences, workshops and other activities involving companies, representatives of host governments and civil society. As well, Canada’s efforts to promote corporate social responsibility are advanced by including voluntary provisions for CSR in recent free trade agreements and foreign investment promotion and protection agreements.
Canada is the world’s foremost mining nation, with mining-related expertise and supplies, along with minerals, accounting for more than a quarter of all exports.
Reaching beyond Canada’s borders for economic opportunities that can expand the country’s trade and investment is key to the prosperity of every hard-working Canadian. 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 and in rural and remote communities—as well as abroad in communities where they operate.
Extractive sector (mining and oil and gas) exports generated $123.2 billion in 2012, accounting for 26.8 percent of total domestic exports.
The Canadian extractive sector creates jobs:
The minerals produced by Canadian firms, from nickel and boron to oil, copper, gold and titanium, are the engine of the economy and are found in today’s essential consumer products. These include everyday items ranging from computers to musical instruments and from sports equipment to vehicles.
In developing its tremendous natural resources, Canada is creating jobs and growth for the benefit of all Canadians while working to ensure world-class environmental protection at home. At the same time, Canada is helping to foster sustainable development and responsible business practices in countries where Canadian extractive sector companies operate.
The government’s pro-trade plan continues to get the fundamentals right—by reducing tariffs and red tape, easing trade barriers, lowering taxes and facilitating trade flows—to help world-class Canadian businesses expand, flourish and become more competitive in key high-growth priority markets around the world. This plan recognizes the importance of the extractive sector as a vital engine of economic growth and the significant role it plays in providing employment across Canada.