Advice and early intervention

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The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor advises stakeholders on their alignment with the CSR performance standards and guidelines endorsed by the Government of Canada in its CSR Strategy for the extractive sector abroad.

We place a heavy emphasis on outreach activities, such as:

  • Meeting with:
    • senior and junior Canadian extractive (mining, oil and gas) exploration and operating companies working abroad
    • key stakeholder groups (communities, civil society organizations, government authorities, companies) in countries with high concentrations of Canadian extractive activity, or in high risk areas
    • professional associations, civil society organizations, academics and students and other interest groups in Canada and abroad
  • Supporting  the efforts of Canada’s embassies and trade commissioners  in promoting CSR to Canadian extractive companies operating internationally;
  • Serving as a sounding board for various stakeholders groups on CSR issues, initiatives and policies;
  • Contributing to discussions about strengthening national and international CSR performance standards and guidelines;
  • Promoting responsible business conduct and building awareness of the Office by participating in conferences and events;
  • Recommending the best available tools and resources for strengthening CSR practices and performance.

Meeting with stakeholders from the private and public sectors, both in Canada and abroad, helps us identify new issues and concerns, stay on top of current and ongoing situations, and understand the host country and local community socio-economic and political contexts in which Canadian extractive companies operate.

Early intervention service

As part of the advisory mandate, we may approach a company when a concern about its extractive operations abroad comes to the attention of the Office through its engagement with stakeholders. Similarly, a company may approach the Office to make the CSR Counsellor aware of, and/or seek the CSR Counsellor’s advice on, an emerging situation involving its extractive operations abroad. In both cases, the goal of the CSR Counsellor’s early intervention is to offer support, advice and a way for stakeholders to communicate and prevent concerns or disputes from becoming conflicts.

When a matter is brought to our attention, our Office will undertake preliminary screening of the facts in order to determine the next steps to be taken. If we become aware of a concern or an emerging situation, the CSR counsellor can immediately reach out to the company to raise the issue and to seek more details and background information as well as the company’s view.

Early intervention is not a structured or rigid process. It is an informal way for us to start a discussion with a company as soon as we become aware of a potential issue, and without requiring a formal request for the CSR Counsellor’s involvement.

If the matter was brought to the attention of our Office by a stakeholder or by a company, the CSR Counsellor can reach out to the other party, and through informal dialogue, can help the parties work together to address the concern before it escalates into a dispute or conflict. Our early intervention process offers another easy-to access way to address potential or developing situations; one that may be less intimidating, quicker and more effective for everyone involved.

Public reporting is not required at the conclusion of the CSR Counsellor’s early intervention; however a statement may be issued with the agreement of all parties. The CSR Counsellor may also discuss the Office’s early intervention activities in the Office’s Annual Report, as appropriate and giving consideration to concerns of both transparency and confidentiality.

Project-affected stakeholders or companies seeking a formal process for a facilitated dialogue, which requires a public statement at its conclusion, may wish to consider:

Stakeholders and companies can also contact the Office to discuss their options for pursuing resolution of an issue.

Did you know?

Canada’s CSR strategy for the extractive sector, Doing Business the Canadian Way: A Strategy to Advance Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad, establishes consequences for companies that do not embody CSR best practices and do not engage, or refuse to engage in good faith with the CSR Counsellor’s dialogue facilitation processes: Government of Canada support in foreign markets will be withdrawn. Learn more about loss of access to Government of Canada trade advocacy and economic support.