2016 National Contact Point (NCP) Annual Report
Table of Contents
As an adherent to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises, Canada has a National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNE). The NCP works to promote awareness of the Guidelines among stakeholders and assist in furthering the implementation of the Guidelines by companies, including through preventing and minimizing negative impacts of their activities on the societies in which they operate. The NCP is also the primary mechanism for dispute resolution under Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the extractive sector and Canada’s CSR approach more generally.
This 2016 report aligns with the required annual questionnaire that the Canadian NCP submitted to the OECD in January 2017. During the year under review, the NCP’s activities focussed on specific instances (i.e. cases involving companies regarding their implementation of the OECD Guidelines); on outreach; and, on engaging with the OECD and the global network of NCPs. The NCP continued to offer a forum for information on the Guidelines and assisted businesses, employee organisations, civil society organizations and other parties in the resolution of practical issues that arose relating to the implementation of the Guidelines in specific instances through voluntary dialogue-facilitation.
Canada’s NCP is an interdepartmental committee composed of officials from seven Federal departments: Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Environment and Climate Change Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and Finance Canada. Canada’s NCP also has three official non-government Social Partners, namely the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Labour Congress, and the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (Québec).
Each of the seven member departments that comprise the NCP brings specific expertise related to their mandated areas of responsibility. Each department is thus able to provide informed advice on some of the broad range of issues covered by the Guidelines while at the same time maintaining the required level of responsiveness to Canada’s domestic legal, regulatory, and administrative requirements.
The NCP is chaired by a senior representative of GAC, the Director General of Trade Commissioner Service- Operations. A senior representative of NRCan is the Vice-Chair. The NCP Secretariat is located in GAC and in 2016, it had one full time staff and one part time staff. The Secretariat’s staff has subsequently been increased by one full time staff member. Human and financial resources are made available by GAC to the NCP Secretariat in order to support the NCP mandate.
Information, Promotion and Policy Coherence
Canada’s NCP website is publicly accessible at ncp-pcn.gc.ca in English and in French. The website offers a variety of information, including on:
- the OECD Guidelines (with a link to the full text)
- the NCP and its mandate (terms of reference)
- the NCP procedures guide
- NCP annual reports
- annual NCP stakeholder sessions
- NCP Final Statements on NCP specific instances (cases)
- how to file a request with the NCP for review, and,
- how to access the NCP.
During the year under review, Canada’s NCP organized, co-organized and/or participated in a variety of CSR related events with a view to raise awareness on the NCP and promote the Guidelines to businesses, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, and government officials’ in accordance with its core mandate. A list of key 2016 events and presentations is available in Annex.
The NCP met with its 3 Social Partners on 6 April, 2016 to provide an update on the activities of the NCP and the OECD Proactive Agenda projects and to benefit from stakeholders’ views on the NCP and ways to enrich the collaboration. One of the NCP Social Partners, the Canadian Labour Congress, held an event in December 2016 with some of their member unions and civil society organizations on decent work in global supply chains; the NCP presented on the Guidelines and the NCP at this event. Also in December 2016, the NCP organized its annual stakeholders meeting on the Guidelines, focusing on due diligence in global supply chains. Over 50 participants from civil society, industry associations, companies, non-governmental organisations, federal government and academia attended the event. A front runner company in the garment sector presented on their due diligence processes. Participants then engaged in discussions on the importance of responsible business conduct (RBC) due diligence to identify and mitigate potentially adverse human rights, labour and environmental impacts, and on how to apply RBC principles at all points in the global supply chain.
Canada’s NCP also participated in peer learning activities with other NCPs to exchange knowledge on best practices and share lessons learned on effective management of NCP cases, on communication and promotion activities and on specific challenges facing NCPs in the fulfilment of their mandate. Key events attended included the peer learning event hosted by the Israeli NCP on 20-22 March, 2016 in Jerusalem; the 2nd Budapest Conference on RBC and the OECD Guidelines on 17 November, and the Hungarian NCP peer learning on 18 November, 2016.
Canada promotes, on an ongoing basis, the use of the OECD MNE Guidelines by Canadian companies in their international business operations through the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which interacts heavily with Canada’s broad network of embassies, high commissions and other offices. As part of their outreach to companies operating abroad, and regular interactions with other stakeholder groups, Trade Commissioners and other embassy officials actively promote key Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards including the OECD Guidelines, as well as the use of dialogue facilitation mechanisms, including local NCPs and Canada’s NCP.
Through the Global Affairs Canada’s dedicated CSR Fund of CAD250,000 per annum, 45 initiatives were lead or supported in 2016 by 31 Canadian missions in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Forty of these in-market initiatives, comprising workshops, seminars, roundtables, and information products, promoted Canada’s CSR Strategy and international guidelines and best practices, including the OECD MNE Guidelines and related guidance documents.
Canada supports several multilateral and multi-stakeholder initiatives that are aimed at promoting governance and CSR. An example is Canada’s ongoing support, through NRCan, to the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development, a multi-stakeholder initiative to advance policy change in areas such as international standards and best practices in mining management and governance. Through its membership, the NCP also maintains regular contacts with international organizations such as the UN Global Compact and its Canadian Network, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, the Global Reporting Initiative, ISO 26000, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and the Kimberley Process.
During 2016, the NCP also used the abovementioned platforms and other opportunities to promote and support the advancement of the OECD Proactive agenda and the dissemination and implementation of due diligence guides, namely the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractive Sector, and the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains. Canada, through GAC, continues to engage in the OECD programme on conflict minerals. In addition, the NCP participated in the OECD advisory groups set up to steer the development of the Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear sector and the report on RBC for Institutional Investors.
Policy coherence between the OECD MNE Guidelines and the trade and investment related services by the Government of Canada are essential. The NCP regularly liaises with the Trade Commissioner Service, the GAC division involved in trade negotiations, and with Export Development Canada (EDC), the export credit agency of Canada. Access to trade advocacy and economic support in foreign markets is contingent on Canadian companies operating responsibly and engaging in good faith with the Canadian NCP or the Office of the CSR Counsellor for the Extractive Sector. If an issue is raised involving a Canadian company who chooses not to engage with the NCP, or do not engage in good faith with the NCP, the company will be denied access to/suffer withdrawal of Government of Canada trade advocacy and economic support in foreign markets. Withdrawal of service becomes part of the public record and will be communicated across Canadian foreign missions and other government departments. Companies are also required to sign an Integrity Declaration which refers to the OECD MNE Guidelines and engaging constructively with the NCP in order to qualify for trade advocacy support. Non-participation, or the lack of good faith participation with the NCP is also taken into account in the CSR-related evaluation and due diligence conducted by EDC in its consideration of the availability of financing or other support.
The Canadian NCP’s procedures for dealing with specific instances can be found online at Procedures Guide for Canada's National Contact Point for the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
In 2016, the NCP continued to process a case received in May 2015 from a representative of a mining union in Mali, regarding the activities of Endeavour Mining, a Canadian company operating in Mali. More specifically the request alleged that the company had improperly dismissed employees and did not have adequate health and safety systems in place to protect some employees from exposure to lead. The NCP finalised its initial assessment in November 2015 and offered its good offices for dialogue facilitation to both parties who accepted and have been positively engaged with the NCP. The NCP itself has been facilitating the dialogue. The proceedings were still ongoing at the end of 2016.
In 2016, the Canadian NCP received four new requests for review:
- January 2016: a request for review was filed by the Bruno Manser Fund, an NGO based in Switzerland, about several Canadian companies in the real estate sector, including Sakto Corporation, as well as several companies in seven foreign jurisdictions, regarding the disclosure provisions under the OECD Guidelines. The NCP initial assessment phase was still ongoing at the end of 2016.
- February 2016: a request for review was filed by a group of ex-employees about the Banro Corporation’s operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The request alleged that the company should pay severance packages as well as provide other social benefits to ex-employees of a subsidiary company, now in liquidation. The NCP initial assessment phase was still ongoing at the end of 2016 (the NCP Final Statement was published on 25 May, 2017).
- December 2016: a request for review was filed by an NGO regarding the activities of a Canadian mining company in Canada with respect to the general policies chapter of the Guidelines and the disclosure, human rights and environment provisions under the Guidelines.
- December 2016: another case was submitted by an NGO regarding the activities of a Canadian mining company in Canada, in relation to the general policies, the human rights and the environment provisions under the Guidelines.
Annex: Key 2016 Promotional Activities on the OECD Guidelines, the NCP and CSR
- West Regional meeting of Trade Commissioners on CSR including role of Canada’s NCP – videoconference, Dakar, Senegal – 29/01/2016
- CSR Speaker Series at PDAC Convention, Toronto, Canada – 09/03/2016
- Roundtable at PDAC Convention, Toronto, Canada – 09/03/2016
- NCP Participation in the Israeli NCP peer learning event, Jerusalem - 20-22/03/2016
- Training of Trade Commissioners on Promoting CSR including role of Canada’s NCP – videoconference,– Caracas, Venezuela – 05/05/2016
- Training of Trade Commissioners on Promoting CSR including role of Canada’s NCP – videoconference – Bogota, Colombia – 12/05/2016
- Global Affairs Canada CSR Speaker Series, Ottawa, Canada – 29/05/2016
- NCP presentation in Trade Commissioners CSR Training Session, Gatineau, Canada – 29/06/2016
- NCP Participation and Presentation at the Responsible Sourcing Initiative event, Ottawa, Canada – 12/09/2016
- Presentation at “CSR - Mitigating the risks”, course for Trade Commissioners, Gatineau, Canada – 29/09/2016
- NCP participation and presentation at the 2nd Budapest Conference on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) and the OECD Guidelines and Hungarian NCP peer learning event, Hungary – 17-18/11/2016
- Presentation on the Guidelines and the NCP at the Canadian Labour Congress event on Decent Work in Global Supply Chains, Ottawa, Canada – 07/12/2016
- Training on Canada’s CSR approach for Trade Commissioners in Central American and the Caribbean, Costa-Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala - videoconference – 07/12/2016
- NCP Stakeholder session on the OECD Guidelines including Due Diligence in Global Supply Chains, Ottawa, Canada – 12/12/2016
- Forty (40) RBC/CSR in-market promotional initiatives through Canadian foreign missions in various regions (GAC CSR Fund) – 2016
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