2017 National Contact Point (NCP) Annual Report
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Contact Information
- 3. Institutional Arrangements
- 4. Information and Promotion
- 5. Policy Coherence
- 6. NCP Cases
- Annex: Key 2017 Promotional Activities
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 on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC). 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 approach to CSR and RBC more generally.
This 2017 report aligns with the required annual questionnaire that the Canadian NCP submitted to the OECD in January 2018 in fulfilment of Canada’s legal obligation. The information in this report was current as of 31 December, 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 preparing for the NCP peer review by the OECD which took place February 14-16, 2018. Canada’s NCP has also continued to support and actively engage with the OECD and the global Network of NCPs.
2. Contact Information
3. Institutional Arrangements
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, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and Finance Canada. Canada’s NCP has three 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, the Director General of the Policy and Economics Branch of the Lands and Minerals Sector, is the Vice-Chair. The NCP Secretariat is located in GAC and in 2017, added a full time staff member increasing the Secretariat’s staff from one to two full time staff members. Human and financial resources are made available by GAC to the NCP Secretariat in order to support the NCP mandate. NCP member departments provide in-kind support.
4. Information and Promotion
Promotion of the Guidelines, of the OECD due diligence guidance documents and of the NCP mechanism are key activities of the Canadian NCP achieved through a variety of tools and activities in different fora.
NCP Procedures and Website
During the year under review, the NCP updated its Procedures Guide to communicate with greater clarity, enhance the predictability of its process, and to improve clarity on the Government of Canada’s trade advocacy “sanction”. The revised procedures enhanced clarity on issues such as transparency, confidentiality and campaigning, follow up actions and expectations following the conclusion of specific instances. The NCP committed to publishing follow up statements on specific instances when warranted. A new flowchart explaining the NCP specific instance process was developed to better communicate the process to stakeholders. This flow chart was annexed to the NCP’s Procedure Guide as part of the update. The NCP’s Procedures Guide can be found online at: http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/ncp-pcn/procedures_guide_de_procedure.aspx?lang=eng
Canada’s NCP maintains a bilingual (English and French) publicly accessible website available at ncp-pcn.gc.ca. The website is an effective tool for ensuring and enhancing the accessibility of the NCP and for promoting the Guidelines and the NCP process. The website also serves as a point of reference for a growing number of Canadian and international organizations and businesses seeking information on responsible business conduct (RBC) and the NCP. Between May 2016 and May 2017, the main NCP Web page was accessed by over 2,700 different users. Over the same period, over 400 users viewed the NCP Procedures Guide and over 300 viewed the 2015 Annual Report.
The NCP upgraded its website in late 2017 with greater emphasis placed on user-friendliness and accessibility of information. Key improvements included the inclusion of the new process flow-chart, a new page with information on ongoing NCP cases, and improved access to NCP Statements. The new page provides information on the status of cases and is regularly updated at each stage of the process.
The website continues to offer an overview of the Guidelines, a link to the various thematic and sectoral OECD due diligence guidance documents, the NCP Procedures Guide, annual reports, Final Statements, summaries of NCP stakeholder sessions, and useful OECD and other links.
During the year under review, Canada’s NCP organized, co-organized and/or participated in a variety of RBC-related events with a view to raise awareness on the NCP and promote the Guidelines and due diligence guidance to businesses, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, and government officials in accordance with its core mandate. Some key events are outlined below. A detailed list of key 2017 events and presentations is available in the Annex. The NCP also developed a 2018 promotion plan.
The NCP met with its three social partners (the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Confédération des syndicats nationaux) in December 2017 to discuss the preparations for the NCP Peer Review, share new developments including the revision of the NCP’s Procedures Guide and website, and discuss opportunities for collaboration on promotion, learning and other outreach activities in 2018 through the proposed promotion plan.
Most notably during 2017, the NCP and Global Affairs Canada entered into a partnership with the Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC) to collaborate and promote the Guidelines and the due diligence guidance documents, primarily among Canadian businesses. The partnership includes the development of a manual to serve as a handy reference tool to facilitate greater understanding and implementation of the recommendations set out in the Guidelines and the sector-specific guidance documents by Canadian businesses and relevant stakeholders; the manual is slated for release in 2018. As part of this partnership, GCNC hosted two workshops and webinars on due diligence in November 2017 in Toronto, with the participation of two officials from the OECD Secretariat, and one representative from the Canadian NCP. These workshops addressed the due diligence in Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractive Industries guidance documents and served a strategic opportunity for the launch of the OECD Guide on RBC for Institutional Investors. Both events were attended by over 50 participants.
On the margins of the 2017 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Conference (March 2017 in Toronto), information on the NCP and the due diligence guidance documents was delivered to over 50 participants, primarily mining and prospecting companies through training and workshops organised by GAC.
The NCP Secretariat and Chair made several specific interventions and presentations in various fora, including universities such as at the McGill Law School seminar on business and human rights and Ryerson University’s CSR Speaker Series. The NCP Chair gave a testimony at Canada’s House of Commons’ Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Material was disseminated by email to stakeholders and the NCP addressed several information requests on the Guidelines and the NCP by phone or by email. The NCP also engaged in outreach to its stakeholders in the NGOs, labour and business communities as part of the preparations for its peer review scheduled for February 15-16, 2018, with a view to facilitate and maximize the participation of stakeholders in the peer review process.
Through a GAC dedicated CSR Fund of CAD 250,000 per year, 59 initiatives were led or supported in 2017 by 37 Canadian missions in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Fifty (50) of these in-market initiatives, comprising workshops, seminars, roundtables, and information products, promoted both Canada’s CSR Strategy and international guidelines and best practices, including the OECD Guidelines and related guidance documents. This fund has been operating since 2009 and has been used by numerous initiatives around the world to promote CSR, the OECD Guidelines and the NCP.
Support to the global Network of NCPs
Canada’s NCP participated in peer learning activities with other NCPs to exchange knowledge on best practices, share lessons learned on effective case management, communication and promotion, and on the challenges facing NCPs in the fulfilment of their mandate. The NCP participated in the peer review of the French NCP in April 2017. In addition to the two annual meetings of the Network of NCPs and the two meetings of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct, Canada attended the OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains (May 2017); the OECD Global Forum on RBC (June 2017), the US NCP hosted Mediation Academy (September 2017) and the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva (November 2017). For the second consecutive year, Canada provided significant financial support to the OECD to advance the Action Plan aimed at strengthening the Network of NCPs.
5. Policy Coherence
The Government of Canada deems policy coherence on RBC as essential across the government. The NCP Secretariat engaged with various divisions at GAC on cross cutting issues such as business and human rights, governance, international diplomacy, trade, and international development to promote synergies, complementarity and consistency in the Canada’s approach to RBC and in promoting the Guidelines and the NCP.
The Government of Canada’s CSR Strategy for the Extractive Sector, which includes references to both the OECD Guidelines and the NCP, was included in Canada’s new Guidelines on Recognizing and Supporting Human Rights Defenders.
During the year under review, the NCP Secretariat participated in GAC training on the OECD Guidelines and the NCP to trade commissioners and diplomats prior to their deployment abroad, and to other personnel within the department. The NCP, as part of its ongoing outreach activities, promotes the use of the OECD Guidelines by Canadian companies in their international business operations through the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), which interacts heavily with Canada’s 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 CSR standards including the OECD Guidelines, as well as the use of dialogue facilitation mechanisms, including local NCPs (especially in Latin America) and Canada’s NCP. Other NCP member departments also promote CSR, the OECD Guidelines and the NCP when dealing with companies and other stakeholders or through presentations at conferences and trade shows.
In 2017, the NCP regularly liaised with the Trade Commissioner Service, the GAC divisions involved in trade negotiations and trade missions, Natural Resources Canada, Export Development Canada (EDC) and Public Services procurement Canada. The NCP also explored collaborative opportunities with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (a Crown Corporation) to promote the OECD Guidelines and ensure policy coherence. Collaboration with these agencies is particularly critical to the implementation and effectiveness of Canada’s trade advocacy related potential sanction whereby the government can withdraw or deny individualized trade advocacy services to a company who does not cooperate with the NCP. The NCP also supported the dissemination of information on GAC TCS’ Client Integrity Declaration. Companies who wish to receive trade advocacy services from the Government of Canada are required to sign an Integrity Declaration to be able to qualify for trade advocacy support. This declaration, among other things, includes a reference to the Guidelines, to the NCP and to the potential denial of individualized trade advocacy support to companies for lack of good faith cooperation with the NCP. As of December 2017, the TCS Client Integrity Declaration had been signed by over 550 companies/privates sector officials since November 18, 2016.
6. NCP Cases
In 2017, the NCP concluded four specific instances, three of which were received in 2016 and the other in 2015. The NCP also continued working on one ongoing specific instance received in late 2016, and received one new specific instance. Brief summaries are provided below.
Endeavour Mining Corporation and a Labour Union in Mali
- On 19 May 2015, the Canadian NCP received a request for review from a Labour Union in Mali alleging that a Canadian multinational enterprise, Endeavour Mining, had breached the Concepts and Principles, and General Policies chapters of the Guidelines. More specifically it is alleged that the company had improperly dismissed unionised employees, and did not have adequate health and safety systems in place to protect some employees from harmful exposure to metals.
- The NCP offered to facilitate dialogue between the parties. The dialogue occurred between September 2016 and March 2017. While the dialogue did not result in a mutually agreeable solution between both parties, the process generated concrete positive outcomes in the form of a series of actions and commitments by Endeavour Mining on both labour and health issues. Some of these actions were implemented proactively during the dialogue. In its Final Statement, published on October 24, 2017, the NCP made a series of recommendations to Endeavour and asked that the company report in writing to the Canadian NCP by July 2018 on any and all follow-up actions. The NCP intends to issue a follow-up statement to reflect the company’s actions and responses, as appropriate. See NCP final statement for details.
Banro Corporation and a group of Former Employees
- On February 26, 2016, the Canadian NCP received a request for review from a group of five former employees of the Société Minière et Industrielle du Kivu (SOMINKI) in liquidation, located in Kalima (South Kivu) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), alleging conduct in the DRC by Banro Corporation inconsistent with the Guidelines. The Notifiers claimed that Banro failed to settle the final accounts of 4,987 former employees of SOMINKI following the creation of SAKIMA SARL (93% Banro) in 1997 and the transfer of SOMINKI’s mining assets to another company.
- The NCP, after its initial assessment, concluded that the question of the liquidation of SOMINKI merited further examination, including the question of the payment of the final accounts of the ex-employees. The NCP also concluded that offering facilitated dialogue only between Banro and the Notifiers, without the presence of other key actors in the liquidation process (in particular the Government of DRC and the Liquidation Committee), would not facilitate the completion of the liquidation of SOMINKI. In its Final Statement, date dated May 25, 2017, the NCP requested that the company take action to reactivate the liquidation process and that it provide written updates to the NCP following a specified timetable. The NCP intends to issue a follow-up statement to reflect the company’s actions and responses, as appropriate. See NCP final statement for details.
"Sakto Group" and Bruno Manser Fund
- On 11 January 2016, a request for review was submitted to the Canadian NCP by the Bruno Manser Fund, an NGO based in Basel, Switzerland, alleging non-observance of the disclosure principles of the Guidelines by the Sakto Corporation. The NCP did not offer mediation to the parties and closed the case.Footnote 1
Seabridge Gold and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council>
- On 23 December 2016, the Canadian NCP received a request for review from the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), an NGO based in Juneau, Alaska, USA, alleging non-observance of the Disclosure, General Policies, Environmental and Human Rights chapters of the OECD Guidelines by Seabridge Gold in its Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell Project in British Colombia, Canada. Following its initial assessment, the NCP determined that an intervention from the NCP in the form of facilitated dialogue or mediation would not benefit the issues raised by the Notifier. The NCP recommended that the company and SEACC meet and discuss in good faith, independently of the NCP process, with the goal of resolving any misunderstanding and outstanding concerns. See NCP final statement for full details.
Ongoing Specific Instances
Imperial Metals Corporation and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council
- On 23 December 2016, the Canadian NCP received a request for review from the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, located in Juneau, Alaska, in the United States, alleging that Imperial Metals and its subsidiary Red Chris Development Company had not observed the General Policies Chapter of the Guidelines, and the Disclosure, Human Rights and Environment provisions of the Guidelines in its operations in Canada. As of 31 December, 2017, the NCP was in the final stage of its initial assessment.
New NCP Specific Instance Received in 2017
Banro Corporation and a Former Employee
- On 8 August 2017, a specific instance was submitted to the Canadian NCP by a former employee of Banro Corporation, alleging non-observance of the Guidelines by the company at its Twangiza Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Notifier alleged wrongful termination of his contract for taking company property for his private use without appropriate authorization and sought financial compensation for physical and emotional damages.
- As of 31 December, 2017, the NCP was in the initial assessment phase.
Annex: Key 2017 Promotional Activities
- February 13: NCP Secretariat presentation on the Guidelines and the NCP at McGill, Law School Seminar on business and human rights
- March 5: GAC CSR training for over 50 Canadian government Trade, Commissioners on the margins of the Prospectors and Developers of Canada Conference, Toronto, referencing the OECD Guidelines and the NCP
- March 8: GAC –PDAC- Association of Mining Exploration British Columbia, workshop on stakeholder engagement, Toronto, attended by 35 junior exploration companies
- June 9: NCP presentation (virtual) at Corporate Social Responsibility, (CSR) Forum organised by the Canadian-Colombian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian mission in Bogota, Colombia
- June 12: NCP presentation at Trade Commissioners’ Training session on CSR, Ottawa
- July 17: NCP Presentation at Global Affairs Canada (GAC/Global Compact, Network Canada (GCNC) webinar on due diligence guidance documents
- October 11: Ryerson University CSR Speaker Series - NCP Chair presentation on the OECD Guidelines and the NCP
- September 14: NCP participation in OECD Webinar for NCPs on Garment and Footwear, Due Diligence
- September 25-26: CAN NCP participation in US NCP Mediation Academy, Washington DC
- September 26: NCP Chair testimony on the NCP to Canada’s House of Commons’ Subcommittee on, International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
- September 29: NCP co-organised Hot Topic Session with SHIFT in Ottawa: “The Responsibility of Financial Institution to respect Human Rights”
- November 20: NCP presentation at Evolving ESG Due Diligence in the Mining Sector Workshop, co-organized by GAC- NCP- Global Compact Network Canada in Toronto. OECD Secretariat presentations on Due Diligence guidance for meaningful Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractive Sector and programme on Conflict Minerals
- November 21: NCP presentation at Evolving ESG Due Diligence in the Financial Sector Workshop, co-organized by GAC-NCP- GCNC in Toronto. Canadian launch of Guide RBC for Institutional Investors with OECD Secretariat
- November 23: NCP presentation to Special session of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on CSR on the OECD Guidelines and the NCP.
- November 25-27: Canada’s participation at UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, Geneva
- December 7: Canada’s participation in OECD workshop on non-financial disclosure
- December 19: NCP Meeting with Social Partners
The NCP published the Final Statement on its website on May 11, 2018.
- Date Modified: