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Harper Government Highlights Canadian Mining Companies’ Leadership in Creating Jobs and Prosperity at Home and Abroad

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.

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Backgrounders follow.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
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

Backgrounder - Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

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:

  • continuing the government’s assistance to foreign governments to develop their capacity to manage natural resource development in a sustainable and responsible manner;
  • the promotion of internationally recognized CSR performance and reporting guidelines, including the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and the Global Reporting Initiative;
  • the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor, which assists stakeholders in reviewing CSR practices and resolving social and environmental issues related to Canadian companies operating abroad in this sector, and advises them on the implementation of those international CSR performance standards endorsed by Canada’s CSR strategy; and
  • the Centre for Excellence in CSR, which provides companies, non-governmental organizations and others with information on CSR practices and approaches.

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.

Backgrounder - Value of Canada’s Extractive Sector Pivotal for Job Creation, Economic Growth and Long-Term Prosperity

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.

Economic Impact

Extractive sector (mining and oil and gas) exports generated $123.2 billion in 2012, accounting for 26.8 percent of total domestic exports.

  • Canada is the leading centre for mining finance with close to 60 percent of the world’s publicly listed mining companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange or the TSX Venture Exchange.
  • Mining and processing companies paid some $7.1 billion in corporate taxes and royalties, which contributed to a higher standard of living for Canadians, through benefits ranging from the construction of roads and bridges to improved education and health care.
  • Canada was the intended destination for 16 percent of all worldwide exploration budgets in 2012—the highest investment in the world.

The Canadian extractive sector creates jobs:

  • With more than 200 active mines in Canada, the mining sector employs more than 300,000 Canadians in urban, rural and remote communities.
  • Average weekly wages in the mining sector are nearly 60 percent higher than the Canadian average.
  • A quarter of mining specialists are highly educated professionals, including engineers, geologists, geophysicists and geochemists.
  • Canadian mining and oil and gas companies are active in more than 8,000 projects in 100 countries worldwide. They employ thousands of people abroad and create economic growth and development in countries where they operate. 

From Minerals to High-Value Consumer Goods

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.

Part of the Government’s Pro-Trade Plan

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.