Canada's National Contact Point for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Canada's National Contact Point (NCP) is a committee formed by seven member departments and chaired by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), with Natural Resources Canada as the vice-chair. The role of the NCP is to promote awareness of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines (OECD) for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) (updated in 2011) as they relate to the social, economic and environmental impacts of enterprises’ activities on the societies in which they work. The NCP also offers a forum for discussion and assists the business community, employee organisations and other concerned parties, to contribute to the resolution of issues that arise relating to the implementation of the Guidelines in specific instances through dialogue-facilitation.

About the guidelines

Through international direct investment, MNEs bring substantial benefits to home and host countries in the form of productive capital, managerial and technological know-how, job creation and tax revenues. At the same time, public concerns exist about the social, economic and environmental impacts of their activities on the societies in which they operate.

The OECD Guidelines for MNEs address these concerns by providing recommendations on voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct, consistent with domestic and international laws. The Guidelines represent the only multilaterally-endorsed comprehensive code of conduct that 48 countries including Canada, have committed to promote. The Guidelines address public concerns about the social, economic and environmental impacts of businesses activities on the societies in which they work (including and beyond OECD area) and provide an important framework for business in advancing Responsible Business Conduct (RBC).

Although endorsed by adhering Governments, the Guidelines are voluntary and are not intended to override local laws and legislation. The Guidelines are not intended to introduce differences of treatment between MNEs and domestic enterprises – they reflect good practice for all business of all sizes, wherever they operate. The Guidelines are an integral part of the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises

The Canadian NCP is actively supporting the OECD in developing Due Diligence Guidance to help businesses implement the Guidelines in various sectors such as conflict minerals, stakeholder engagement in the extractive sector, agricultural supply chains, garment and footwear and institutional investment.

Dialogue facilitation, NCP procedures and how to file a request for review

National contact points are a voluntary, non-judicial grievance mechanism based on dialogue facilitation or mediation. The Canadian NCP can offer a forum for constructive dialogue between parties, aimed at helping them discuss concerns and work towards reaching a mutual agreement for the resolution of the specific issues that have been brought forward.

Any individual, organisation, or community (stakeholders) that believes an enterprise’s actions or activities are not consistent with the Guidelines may lodge a formal request for review regarding a specific instance with the NCP of the relevant country. Stakeholders who wish to lodge a formal request with Canada’s NCP may consult the page How to file a Request for Review with the Canadian NCP.

The Procedures guide for Canada's NCP for the OECD Guidelines outlines the process that Canada’s National Contact Point has to follow when it receives a request for review of a specific instance under the OECD Guidelines.

The NCP process flowchart gives an overview of the NCP process.

The company or companies named in the request for review can make a submission to the NCP in response to the notifier’s allegations. The NCP will conduct an initial assessment of the request for review submitted by a notifier about a company’s activities in relation to the guidelines. In doing so, and in determining whether to offer a facilitated dialogue or mediation to the notifier and the company in question, the NCP takes into account several factors outlined in the NCP Procedures Guide.

Transparency and confidentiality

The NCP is expected to carry out its role in a transparent manner. However, there are circumstances where confidentiality is important. In order to facilitate the resolution of the issues raised, the NCP will take appropriate steps to protect sensitive business and other information as appropriate, such as the identity of individuals. While the case is ongoing, confidentiality of the proceedings will be maintained. The NCP will generally share all relevant information it receives from one party with the other party or parties unless it receives appropriate justification that some information cannot be shared for confidential reasons.

Engagement in good faith in the NCP process and possible consequences

While participation in the NCP mechanism remains voluntary, actions or decisions by either party that do not reflect participation in good faith in an NCP dispute resolution process will be made public in the NCP Final Statement and will have consequences.

The NCP expects all parties to a case, be it the company or the notifier filing the case, to participate in good faith in the proceedings. Good faith behaviour in this context includes responding in a timely fashion, maintaining confidentiality, not misrepresenting the process, not threatening or taking reprisals against parties involved in the procedure, and genuinely engaging in the procedures with a view to finding a solution to the issues raised. Behaviours such as breaching confidentiality or issuing threats, on the part of either party, will lead to the NCP putting an end to the process and will be mentioned in the NCP Final Statement. Undertaking public campaigns related to a case during the proceedings or divulging NCP documents such as NCP initial assessments and draft versions of the NCP Final Statements are not considered good faith behaviour and could constitute a confidentiality breach.

There are consequences if Canadian companies do not participate, or do not engage in good faith and constructively, in the NCP dispute resolution process. Consequences are withdrawal of Government of Canada trade advocacy support abroad.  Further, non-participation or the lack of good faith participation will also be taken into account in the Corporate Social Responsibility-related evaluation and due diligence conducted by the Government of Canada’s financing crown corporation, Export Development Canada, in its consideration of the availability of financing or other support.

Annual reports

In addition, the OECD publishes Annual Reports on the OECD Guidelines for MNEs.

NCP specific instances

Since 2000, the Canadian NCP has received requests for review from interested parties regarding specific corporate conduct under the OECD Guidelines. The NCP has a mandate to be transparent and publish information on its specific instances. Since the 2011 update of the OECD Guidelines, the NCP is required to publish a Final Statement for all specific instances at the end of the proceedings, regardless of whether facilitated dialogue or mediation was offered or not. The Specific Instances listed on this site are those for which the Canadian NCP was the lead NCP. The Canadian NCP has also been a supporting NCP for several cases led by other NCPs.

Stakeholder engagement

Canada’s NCP is responsible for promoting awareness of the OECD Guidelines through stakeholder engagement and outreach activities. The NCP typically hosts an annual information session on the OECD Guidelines bringing together a variety of stakeholders such as industry, civil society, industry associations and Government of Canada representatives. Other promotion activities are also taking place on an ongoing basis, such as presentations at events, webinars, training of Government of Canada’s Trade Commissioners abroad and dissemination of material.

Canadian NCP social partners for the OECD Guidelines for MNEs

Canadian Social Partners for the OECD Guidelines for MNEs (Business and Labour)

Canada’s NCP Social Partners are the Canadian links to two of the OECD Social Partners, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) and the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC). These advisory bodies contribute to most areas of OECD work through policy dialogue and consultations.

NCP structure and terms of reference

Canada's NCP is an interdepartmental committee chaired by GAC. For more information on its structure, please see the terms of reference.

Contact

Canada's NCP can be reached at:

E-mail: ncp.pcn@international.gc.ca 
Tel: 343-203-2341
Fax: 613-992-8935

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