Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR E-Bulletin - Issue 17 (2013)

Updates Related to the Government of Canada's CSR Strategy for the Extractive Sector: "Building the Canadian Advantage"

An Act to Amend Canada's Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) Receives Royal Assent

Proposed amendments to the CFPOA have been adopted and have received royal assent on June 19, 2013, thereby becoming law. The amendments include changes that would allow Canada to prosecute foreign bribery by Canadians or Canadian companies regardless of where the bribery takes place; eliminate facilitation payments (an amendment that will come into effect at a later date in order to allow Canadian firms to ensure that they are in compliance before it comes into force); provide the exclusive authority to the RCMP to lay charges under the CFPOA; clarify the definition of “business” under the CFPOA; increase the maximum penalty of imprisonment to 14 years; and create the addition of a “books and records” offence. The introduction of these amendments highlights and reinforces Canada’s commitment to, and leadership role in, fighting corruption and promoting good business practices at an international level.

Recently Completed CSR Activities and Events

Government of Canada CSR Event at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2013 International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange

On March 3, 2013, as part of the PDAC 2013 International Convention and Trade Show's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Series, the Government of Canada delivered a CSR event entitled “Extracting Corporate Value out of Responsible Business Conduct – A Four Pillar Approach.” The presentation highlighted efforts undertaken through the Government's CSR Strategy: Building the Canadian Advantage. The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, provided the keynote address. Other speakers included representatives from previously the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), now the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development; Natural Resources Canada (NRCan); the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor Marketa Evans; and the co-chairs from the Centre for Excellence in CSR. In addition, representatives from the Embassy of Canada to the Dominican Republic and to Senegal, and the High Commission of Canada to Guyana provided invaluable insights into the challenges of working in the extractive sector abroad, and the role Canadian posts abroad may play in overcoming these challenges. The session was well attended by over 230 people who contributed to a lively and interactive question and answer session following both panels. Overall, the event demonstrated a strong interest from industry and other stakeholders in the Government of Canada's efforts as they relate to CSR.

International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA) annual conference

Export Development Canada (EDC) organized a panel discussion at the annual conference of the International Association of Impact Assessment, held May 13-16, 2013, in Calgary. Deborah Berger, EDC’s Director of Environmental Advisory Services, two advisors from her team, along with Yolanda Banks, Senior Advisor, CSR, moderated and spoke on several panels covering a range of topics, including the environmental and social implications for the development of resources in Canada’s Northern and Arctic regions, application of the IFC Performance Standards, international financial institutions, evolving Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) practices and standards for addressing human rights, the evolution of sustainable finance, and export credit agency perspectives on social risks and human rights. The audience included corporate planners and managers, public interest advocates, government planners and administrators, private consultants and policy analysts, university and college teachers and their students. The sessions raised awareness of good practice for developing resources in Canada’s North, integrating human rights into impact assessment, as well as new trends in finance and sustainability. The IAIA is the leading global network on best practice in the use of impact assessment for informed decision making regarding policies, programs, plans and projects.

Launch of United Nations Global Compact Network in Canada

The United Nations Global Compact, the largest business-driven CSR initiative in the world, launched a Formal Network in Canada on June 13-14, 2013, in Toronto. The Global Compact, which was established in 2000, is a multi-sector framework for businesses to integrate principles of CSR into their operations. Representatives from CIDA (now the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development) attended the official launch conference on June 13. Over 110 participants attended from a broad range of industries and sectors including businesses, civil society organizations, multilateral institutions, journalists and students. Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact delivered the opening remarks at the conference. There were various panel-level discussions on the benefits of joining the Global Compact, and one on its intersection with existing CSR standards and guidelines. There are now over 80 Canadian signatories to the Global Compact. Following the initial launch conference, the Network opened the market at the Toronto Stock Exchange on June 14.

Other CSR Activities and Events

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Publishes Exploration and Mining Guide for Aboriginal Communities

The “Exploration and Mining Guide for Aboriginal Communities,” released in March 2013, updates and replaces the original “Mining Information Kit for Aboriginal Communities”published in 2006. The goal of this guide is to increase the ability of Aboriginal peoples to understand the mineral development cycle and participate in exploration and mining-related activities. The information is organized into four sections that match the main phases of the mineral development cycle: Mineral Exploration, Mine Development and Construction, Mine Operation, and Mine Closure and Reclamation. The sections can be presented together or used separately on a stand-alone basis. The Guide was a partnership project between the Minerals and Metals Sector of NRCan, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), the Mining Association of Canada, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, and the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association.  The Guide is available on the Natural Resources Canada: Exploration and Mining Guide for Aboriginal Communities website.

NRCan and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) Develop Interactive Map of Aboriginal Mining Agreements

Over the last few decades, Aboriginal-industry relationships and partnerships have evolved tremendously through the conclusion of various types of agreements related to mine development that have proven to be successful in securing benefits for many Aboriginal communities. The Interactive Map of Aboriginal Mining Agreements, developed in partnership with AANDC, shows where these agreements are taking place across the country and provides specific information on exploration projects and mines, Aboriginal communities, and the types of agreements signed between communities and mining companies. The Interactive Map of Aboriginal Mining Agreements can be accessed on the NRCan website.

Revised Version of Equator Principles Released

The Third Generation of the Equator Principles (EPs) – EPIII – was released on June 4, 2013. The EPs are a private code of conduct adopted by 80 financial institutions globally. The revised Principles increase the commitments of banks to CSR, including human rights, climate change and transparency. It also broadens their scope of application beyond the narrow confines of project finance structured loans to “project related” corporate loans of US $100 million or more (when certain conditions are satisfied). Significantly, the new EP III also recognizes the “responsibility to respect human rights by undertaking due diligence” in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. For more information, visit the Equator Principles website.

The Government of Canada's Promotional Engagment on Responsible Business Practice

Bangladesh - On January 29, 2013, the High Commission of Canada to Bangladesh organized a one-day training course entitled, “Corporate Social Responsibility as a Safe Factory,” for the Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce (CanCham) member companies. A CSR consulting firm provided training to 51 executives from various sectors. The training highlighted the importance of practicing CSR inside the factory gates and emphasised the importance of occupational safety and health and fire safety as CSR priorities. Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor of the Central bank, Bangladesh Bank, was a special guest at the end of the training, and he delivered a speech supporting CSR. The training event received good coverage in print and electronic media. The Canadian High Commission plans to host a follow-up training event at the end of the year.

Bangladesh - On June 1, 2013, the High Commission of Canada to Bangladesh organized a formal launching of a bilingual guide entitled, “International Standard Social Responsibility-implementing ISO 26000 in Bangladesh.” The book was developed and published by the Canadian High Commission, distributed by CanCham Bangladesh, and is published in English and Bangla. In the initial stage, 5,000 copies of the book were printed and almost 3,500 copies have already been distributed among the various business sectors in Bangladesh. The concept of CSR is beginning to gain greater prominence in Bangladesh, and this book may help to continue its implementation. Notably, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has requested to produce 3,000 copies of the book for all of its members. Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor of the Central bank, Bangladesh Bank, was a special guest during the formal launching of the book. The launch received good coverage in print and electronic media. The Canadian High Commission plans to host a follow-up training event at the end of the year in order to assess the impact of the book.

Cameroon - On January 30, 2013, the High Commission of Canada to Cameroon, in partnership with the World Bank, the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), and WWF organized a successful workshop to raise awareness of CSR in the mining sector in Yaoundé. The workshop was held as a prelude to the launch of the Sector Capacity Building Project, a World Bank technical assistance program in the mining sector, which took place the following day. This was the second event held in Cameroon to promote CSR, after the forum organized in 2011, by the Africa CSR Institute. In attendance were representatives from the public sector, regional and local authorities, local politicians, civil society, donors, universities, and private companies. The workshop's main objective was to raise awareness for all stakeholders in the consideration and implementation of CSR in the mining sector. Although the workshop was focused on awareness-raising, the stakeholders made a number of suggestions, including the need to develop a national CSR framework or strategy, to strengthen local capacity building, and to encourage companies to implement CSR measures.

Albania - On February 19, 2013, the Embassy of Canada to Italy (accredited to Albania) teamed up with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Presence in Albania to hold a half-day workshop on CSR in Tirana. Canada continues to have an opportunity and a responsibility to lead on CSR issues in Albania. According to Albanian authorities, Canada is the largest investor in Albania's nascent extractive sector, with investments in both oil and mining, and is among the largest overall investors in the country. In the two years since the last CSR seminar organized by the Embassy, major Canadian investors including Bankers Petroleum, Petromanas Energy, Stream Oil and Gas, and Tirex Resources have increased or are expected to increase production levels; therefore the timing of the event was opportune. The focus of the workshop was on analyzing progress, assessing "next level" challenges since the last event, and focusing on specific areas for improvement.

The OSCE had commissioned, in advance of the workshop, an independent report on the state of CSR in Albania, which fed into workshop preparations. Canadian CSR expert Mr. Louis Guay was the keynote speaker and facilitator of the working session. His presentations focused on what was termed “three families of stakeholders” – government, corporations, and local communities, placing an emphasis on all stakeholders acting responsibly in CSR. The discussion sessions allowed members of these different stakeholder groups to participate in dynamic exchanges, some together for the first time.

The workshop drew approximately 70 participants and was bolstered by high level participation from major Canadian investors. Albania's Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister, Labour Minister, and Environment Minister attended and demonstrated high-level support for CSR as a concept and for the workshop. The report on the status of CSR in Albania and areas for focus and improvement was subsequently published and distributed locally in Albania under the auspices of the Embassy of Canada and the OSCE, and is available electronically by writing to ital-td@international.gc.ca.

Panama - On February 27, 2013, the Embassy of Canada to Panama sponsored two presentations by Canadian consultant Jay Hartling. Ms. Hartling, a noted expert on consultation with indigenous populations, with experience in federal and provincial negotiation processes for resource development, addressed a group of resource companies in a workshop with the National Centre on Clean Technology, as well as a forum on innovations in the electrical energy market in Panama. Ms. Hartling emphasized the importance of consultation in arriving at consensual decisions regarding the development of natural resources, and highlighted the challenges and successes of a number of Canadian processes. Participants were engaged and asked numerous interesting questions, reflecting an appreciation of the growing importance of these issues in Panama across a number of sectors. 

Zambia - On March 6-7, 2013, The High Commission of Canada to Zambia, in Lusaka, hosted a Zambia-Canada CSR Forum at Moba Hotel in Kitwe. The Forum was jointly hosted with the Chamber of Mines of Zambia and was attended by approximately 100 delegates. David Simpson of Interpraxis, a Canadian firm based in Toronto, was a guest speaker and David Verbiwski, Senior Trade Commissioner, was also present. This was the first CSR forum for the mining sector in Zambia and the first forum to bring all stakeholders together, including representatives from the Government of Zambia, mining companies, civil society organizations, and communities from areas where mining activities take place. The first day of the Forum consisted of presentations, question and answer sessions, and testimonies from stakeholders. The second day consisted of visits to the Mopani Copper Mines and the Chibuluma Mines. Initial feedback from stakeholders indicates that the CSR Forum was successful and well-received. There was agreement among Zambian stakeholders to continue the dialogue and to develop a national policy guideline on CSR.

Singapore - On March 12, 2013, the High Commission of Canada to Singapore, in partnership with the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), held an ASEAN-Canada Seminar on CSR. The Singapore Compact for CSR and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce also contributed to the organization of the event. Vanu Menon, Deputy Secretary of the MFA, and Heather Grant, High Commissioner of Canada to Singapore, both delivered remarks, commenting on the strong bilateral relationship and growing collaboration between Canada and Singapore within ASEAN.  The seminar featured Signi Schneider, Vice President of CSR at Export Development Canada, and Thomas Thomas, Executive Director of the Singapore Compact for CSR as guest speakers. Ms. Schneider spoke about the need for financial institutions to sign on to the Equator Principles and to collaborate to ensure companies seeking financing are held to the highest standard of CSR, while Mr. Thomas spoke about the differences between diverse ASEAN member states in the adoption and implementation of CSR practices. The seminar also included a panel session that focused on ASEAN and Canadian business best practices in CSR.  More than 80 participants attended, including representatives of businesses, chambers of commerce, diplomatic missions, universities and civil society organizations. The seminar introduced CSR to a broad range of stakeholders and helped reinforce Canada’s position as a leader in this area.

Argentina - On May 30, 2013, the Embassy of Canada to Argentina, in Buenos Aires, organized a videoconference between representatives of the Devonshire Initiative and a group of Argentine NGOs, universities and mining companies to share the experiences and lessons learned by the Initiative. The session aimed to encourage companies and NGOs in Argentina to maintain their engagement with the multi-stakeholder dialogue initiative already underway in the country and thereby strengthen it. Ross Gallinger, Executive Director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and Co-Chair of the Devonshire Initiative Steering Committee, led the session in Toronto, accompanied by three industry representatives. In Buenos Aires, participants included representatives from six NGOs, two universities, five mining companies and the Argentine-Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The Devonshire Initiative is a Canadian forum focused on improving outcomes in on-the-ground community development relating to international mining. The forum allows leading international development NGOs and mining companies to collaborate on the emerging social agenda on community development and mining issues.