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Backgrounder: Responsible Business Conduct Strategy for Canadian companies abroad

Your responses, comments, and suggestions on the issue paper will support the development of the renewed Strategy on Responsible Business Conduct for Canadian companies abroad and help frame the Government of Canada’s approach. The online consultation will begin on September 18, 2020, and will end on October 26, 2020. 

Background on Responsible Business Conduct Strategy

Since 2009, the federal government has prioritized strengthening the Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) of Canadian companies active around the world through the release of two strategies: Building the Canadian Advantage: Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector(2009) and Doing Business the Canadian Way: A Strategy to Advance Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada’s Extractive Sector (2014). Global Affairs Canada is now undertaking stakeholder engagement for a renewed strategy to guide the Responsible Business Conduct of Canadian companies active abroad for the next five years. The renewal is an opportunity to spark a dialogue and explore ideas and measures to position Canada, and Canadian companies active abroad, as leaders in Responsible Business Conduct.

Responsible Business Conduct is at the nexus of many priorities for Canada such as the respect for human rights, fighting climate change, inclusive trade, and respecting the rights of Indigenous communities. Through multiple governments departments, more than 50 policies and initiatives address and promote one form or another of Responsible Businesses Conduct and corporate sustainability. The Government of Canada sees the private sector as playing an important role in advancing these priorities.

Managing risks in complex markets is key to business success and businesses can use numerous tools, and approaches. By incorporating Responsible Business Conduct into their operations, companies are better equipped to manage social, environmental, reputational and economic risks. Responsible Business Conduct supports companies in identifying issues proactively, helps them resolve problems before they escalate and allows them to adapt their operations and safeguard long-term success.

The Government of Canada believes that wherever Canadian companies are operating, local communities, including women, youth, and Indigenous people, must be meaningfully engaged. The impact of the operations of a Canadian company abroad should be positive on the local environment.  The Responsible Business Conduct strategy renewal is an opportunity for dialogue around how the Government of Canada can best work with host country governments, civil society partners, the private sector, and local stakeholders to advance leadership in Responsible Business Conduct.

Please refer to Global Affairs Canada’s Responsible Business Conduct abroad website for further details on the Responsible Business Conduct Strategy.

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