Canada’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises - Annual report 2018
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. 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 one of two mechanisms for dispute resolution under Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the extractive sector and Canada’s approach to responsible business conduct (RBC) more generally. On January 17, 2018, the creation of Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise was announced to complement the work of the NCP. The creation of the Ombudsperson will be further elaborated under section 5 of the Annual Report.
This 2018 report aligns with the required annual questionnaire that the Canadian NCP submitted to the OECD in January 2019 (based on the calendar year) in fulfilment of Canada’s legal obligation. The information in this report was current as of 31 December 2018. 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); and on promotion and outreach both within and outside of Canada. Canada’s NCP has also continued to support and actively engage with the OECD and the global Network of NCPs.
2. 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 which comprise the NCP brings specific expertise related to their mandated areas of responsibility. Representatives from the respective department are 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, Trade Portfolio Strategy & Coordination. A senior representative of NRCan, the Director General, Policy and Economics Branch, Lands and Minerals Sector, is the Vice-Chair. The NCP Secretariat is located in GAC and is operated by 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.
3. Peer review of Canada’s NCP
Canada’s NCP underwent its first peer review by the OECD on February 15 -16, 2018 in Ottawa, Canada. The peer review was carried out as part of a commitment made by Canada and other G7 countries in the 2015 G7 Leaders’ Declaration to lead by example and strengthen and promote the NCP network through peer reviews.
The review team was composed of three officials from the OECD NCP Secretariat and the NCPs of the UK, Belgium, and Denmark, with the Peruvian NCP as an observer. The reviewers examined the NCP institutional arrangements, management of cases, relationships with stakeholders and overall performance of the NCP’s operations against the core criteria of visibility, accessibility, transparency, and accountability.
Over the two-day review, the team met with and received direct feedback from 29 non-governmental stakeholders and 12 Government of Canada departments (beyond the primary NCP membership) and crown corporations such as Export Development Canada. The review team also received written feedback from international and domestic stakeholders in the form of 32 questionnaires.
The reviewers also interviewed parties to three separate NCP cases regarding how the NCP handled these cases, in terms of transparency, accessibility, impartiality and fairness and on how procedures could be improved.
The OECD published the Final Peer Review Report with recommendations December 2018.
Canada’s NCP found the peer review to be a very positive experience and welcomed the peer review report and accompanying recommendations. At the end of this reporting period, the NCP was exploring ways to engage stakeholders in its response to the report and addressing the recommendations therein. Canada is expected to report to the OECD on progress on the implementation of the recommendations 12 months following publication, in December 2019.
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.
During the year under review, Canada’s NCP 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 2018 events and presentations is available in Annexes 1 & 2. The NCP also developed a 2019 promotion plan and is currently consulting stakeholders on implementation of the peer review recommendations.
The NCP met with its three social partners (the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Confédération des syndicats nationaux) twice during the calendar year (July and November 2018) to discuss the implementation of the recommendations from the peer review report including opportunities for collaboration on promotion, learning and other outreach activities in 2019.
Most notably during 2018, through a partnership between the NCP, Global Affairs Canada and the Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC), a Canadian Handbook for RBC and the OECD Guidelines was developed and launched to promote the OECD Guidelines and the due diligence guidance documents, primarily among Canadian businesses. As part of this partnership, GCNC hosted a webinar on due diligence and RBC in October 2018, with the participation Canadian businesses, officials from the OECD Secretariat, and a representative of the Canadian NCP.
During the year under review, the NCP Secretariat participated in GAC training on the OECD Guidelines and the NCP targeting trade commissioners and other diplomats prior to their deployment abroad, and to other personnel within the department. The NCP, as part of its ongoing outreach activities, promoted the observance of the OECD Guidelines by Canadian companies in their international business operations through the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), which interacts directly with companies abroad via Canada’s network of embassies, consulates 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 responsible business practice standards such as the OECD Guidelines, as well as the use of dialogue facilitation mechanisms, including local NCPs (especially in Latin America) and Canada’s NCP.
On the margins of the 2018 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Conference (March 2018 in Toronto), GAC officials participated in a panel on grievance mechanisms and shared information on the NCP and the due diligence guidance documents to over 40 participants, primarily mining and prospecting companies.
The NCP Secretariat, the GAC Director Responsible for the Secretariat, and the NCP Chair made several specific interventions and presentations in various fora, including universities such as at the Athabasca University Faculty of Business, and at the Ryerson University’s CSR Institute. The NCP also engaged in outreach to its stakeholders in the NGOs, labour and business communities as part of the follow up after the peer review scheduled to discuss the peer review report recommendations and map out Canada’s response.
Through a GAC-dedicated CSR Fund of CAD 250,000 per year, 45 initiatives were led or supported in 2018 by Canadian missions in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and Europe. These in-market initiatives, comprised of workshops, seminars, roundtables, and information products, promote both Canada’s CSR Strategy and international guidelines and best practices, including the OECD Guidelines and related due diligence guidance and the NCP. This fund has been operating since 2009 and has been used by numerous Canadian trade commissioners to support 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 a learning session organized by the Dutch NCP in The Hague in October 2018.
Canada attended two OECD led annual meetings of the Network of NCPs and the two meetings of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct. Canada also attended the OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains (May 2018); the OECD Global Forum on RBC (June 2018), and the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva (November 2018). Alongside the OECD NCP Secretariat, Canada presented on Canadian RBC initiatives including the Canadian NCP at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. For the third consecutive year, Canada provided financial support to the OECD to advance the Action Plan aimed at strengthening the Network of NCPs.
5. Policy coherence
Canada considers that policy coherence on RBC requires collaboration across government in order to achieve meaningful outcomes. In addition to liaising with member departments on their respective advancement of responsible business practices, the NCP Secretariat engaged with various offices within 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 NCP participated in the evaluation of the Government of Canada’s CSR Strategy for the Extractive Sector, of which the OECD Guidelines and the NCP are important pillars.
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 and Procurement Canada (PSPC). The NCP collaborated with PSPC during its consultations on administering Canada’s expanded Integrity Regime, which ensures the government does business only with ethical suppliers from Canada and abroad. Collaboration with EDC is particularly critical to the implementation and effectiveness of Canada’s trade measures whereby the NCP can recommend withdrawal or denial of trade advocacy support and future EDC financial support to a company that does not cooperate with the NCP in good faith.
The Canadian Ombudsman for Responsible Enterprise (CORE)
In January 2018, the then Minister of International Trade announced the creation of the CORE. At the same time, the Minister announced the creation of a multi-stakeholder Advisory Body to advice the Government on RBC issues. At the drafting of this report, Ms. Sheri Meyerhoffer had been appointed as the CORE with the mandate to review allegations of human rights abuses arising from Canadian company operations abroad in the garment, mining and oil and gas sectors, promote the implementation of the United Nation Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and to advise Canadian companies on best practices. Canada’s National Contact Point continues to fulfill its mandate of facilitating dialogue and mediation for all sectors on a wide range of issues, such as disclosure, employment and labour relations, human rights, the environment and corruption and will work in complementarity with the CORE.
NCP specific instances
The NCP received one new case in 2018. It concluded one specific instance that had been received in 2017, proceeded to mediation on a 2016 case, conducted follow up on two closed cases. Brief summaries are provided below. The NCP also amended one final statement from a previously closed case Footnote 1 .
Closed specific instances
Banro Corporation and 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.
After its Initial Assessment, the NCP determined that the issues raised would not benefit from an intervention from the NCP in the form of facilitated dialogue or mediation and closed the case on April 12, 2018. See NCP Final Statement for full details.
Follow up on specific instances
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 unionized 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, which 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. 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. As of December 2018, the NCP had received input from both parties and was in the process of preparing its Follow up Statement.
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, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), alleging conduct in the DRC by Banro Corporation being 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.
In its Final Statement, though mediation was not offered to the parties, the NCP made a series of recommendations, including that the Company make all efforts to engage with the government of the DRC to resolve the issues raised. The NCP also requested written updates from the Company on its efforts. The NCP also committed to issuing a Follow up Statement approximately twelve months after the publication of the Final Statement with information on progress towards the implementation of the NCP's recommendations. As of December 2018, the NCP was still in the process of obtaining progress updates from the company to inform the Follow up Statement.
New NCP specific instance received in 2018
Murchison Minerals Ltd. and three former employees
On March 14, 2018, a request for review was submitted to the Canadian NCP by three former employees of Flemish Investment Burundi s.a., a subsidiary of the now defunct Flemish Gold Corporation, a Canadian exploration and development company which was headquartered in Toronto, Canada. In June 2014, Flemish Gold Corporation transferred all its shares to Manicouagan Minerals Inc., which later became Murchison Minerals Ltd., also based in Toronto, Canada.
The Notifiers allege the company’s actions constitute non-observance of the concepts and principles chapter and the employment and industrial relations chapter of the OECD Guidelines.
The NCP has engaged with both parties and as of December 2018, was preparing its Initial Assessment.
Ongoing specific instances
Imperial Metals Corporation and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council
On December 23, 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, and the disclosure, human rights and environment provisions of the Guidelines in its operations in Canada. The NCP engaged with both parties. The company made a submission which was shared with the Notifier. The NCP concluded its Initial Assessment after consulting with the parties. Delays occurred due to the NCP peer review process by the OECD. The NCP concluded that some of the issues raised by the Notifier in the request for review warranted mediation or facilitated dialogue. On 20 March 2018, the NCP offered mediation to the parties on these issues. As of April 5, 2018, both parties had accepted the NCP offer of mediation and met in November 2018. The mediation was ongoing at the close of the reporting period.
Annex 1: Key 2018 NCP promotional activities
March 7: Presentation on NCP PDAC-ICMM Panel on Grievance Mechanism
March 7: Presentation on NCP at GAC organised CSR Speaker Series on Human Rights Defenders
April 10: NCP participation in launch of Canadian Handbook for RBC and OECD Guidelines
April 13: NCP meeting with Responsible Investment Association Canada
April 20: Webinar on Canada’s National Contact Point (NCP) and the OECD Guidelines at Athabasca University, Faculty of Business
April 27: NCP presentation at Federal, Provincial and Territorial Workshop on International Labour Issues
May 30: NCP presentation at CSR Training for Trade Commissioners
June 12: NCP presentation at Global Petroleum Show
July 13: NCP Meeting Social Partners
October 17: NCP presentation at GCNC organised Webinar on Due Diligence Guidance and RBC
October 19: Presentation on NCP to Ontario Bar Association
November 13: NCP Meeting Social Partners November 26-28: Canada’s participation and
presentation at UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, Geneva
Annex 2: Promotional events across Canadian Missions Abroad
January 31: Canadian Mission in Dar es Salaam for Canada – Tanzania CSR Forum
January 31: Canadian Mission in Lima, Peru for the seminar: Inclusive and responsible mining
February 2: Canadian Mission in Bogota, Colombia for First Nations and Extractive Sector: Stoney Nakoda Experience
February 22: Canadian Mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Three-day workshop in Santa Cruz Province on mine closure policy.
February 23: Canadian Mission in Thailand: Translation of a CSR handbook into Khmer for local market
March 3: Canadian Mission in Beijing, China for the seminar: Looking to Canada: CSR & Gender Approaches
March 18: Canadian Mission in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo: Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility in support of the economic and social development of communities lecture breakfast
March 19: Canadian Mission in Kigali, Rwanda: “Environmental impact of mining activities” “Environmental impact of mining activities” – focus on Rwanda
March 25: Canadian Mission in Bogota, Colombia: “CSR Sharing best practices in Compliance Programs”
March 29: Canadian Mission in Bogota, Colombia: RBC Series: “Lessons learned and innovations from a Grievance Management”
March 31: Canadian Mission in Pretoria, South Africa: Mining Network Building & Client Service
March 31: Canadian Mission in Pretoria, South Africa: Namibia and Madagascar Outreach
March 31: Canadian Mission in Port au Prince, Haiti: Creation of Anti-bribery document – How to do honest business in Haiti
May 17: Canadian Mission in Quito, Ecuador: Anti-corruption Training Workshop
May 20-28: Canadian Mission in Guatemala: Regional CSR Outreach Program: Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador
May 28: Canadian Mission in Mexico for Regional CSR Outreach Program: Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador
July 5: Canadian Mission in Guatemala: Trade and RBC principles
August 8: Canadian Mission in Bogota, Colombia: High Level CSR Roundtables with Government and Canadian Companies
August 29: Canadian Mission in Quito, Ecuador: Roundtable Social Management Strategic Projects September 14: Canadian Mission in Anakara Turkey: CSR in Mining – Roundtable in Ankara
September 20: Canadian Mission in Guyana: Hosting the inaugural Business-to-Business (B2B)
event, Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition (GuyTIE)
September 21: Canadian Mission in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire: CSR and the Inclusive Business
Model in West Africa: Challenges and Opportunities
September 30: Canadian Mission in Costa Rica: Support of ConvertiRSE conference
September 30: Canadian Mission in Costa Rica: Regional CSR Init: Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador
September 30: Canadian Mission in Costa Rica: CSR Workshop – Costa Rica
October 17: Canadian Mission in Accra, Ghana: “Ghana’s Mining Regulatory Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Enhancing Women’s Participation.”
October 18: Canadian Mission in the Dominican Republic: Business Integrity Seminar
October 22: Canadian Mission in Anakara, Turkey: Women in Clean Technology Forum
October 26: Canadian Mission in Dakar, Senegal: DAKAR organized workshop on CSR in the field of Oil and Gas on the sidelines of the summit MSGBC
November 2: Canadian Mission in Rio, Brazil: CSR – Consensas (Green Mining Mission)
November 11: Canadian Mission in Serbia: “Trilateral dialogue on Sustainable Mining standards” (Macedonia)
November 14: Canadian Mission in Madrid, Spain: Women in mining industry: Gender, CSR & Investment
November 21: Canadian Mission in Nairobi, Kenya: CSR Forum – Environmental Stewardship
November 22: Canadian Mission in Guyana: Consultations with Guyanese and Canadian mining companies as well as Guyanese mining authorities on illegal mining and associated solutions. Produced Economic Diversification workbooks and Case studies that can be used in market
November 23: Canadian Mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Support of a one day conference on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) by local Civil Society Groups
November 23: Canadian Mission in Guatemala: Promotion of Canada`s view of environmental
stewardship by bringing a delegation to the Canadian Council on Private – Public Partnership annual conference
November 29: Canadian Mission in Mexico: CSR – Forum on Socio-Environmental Conflicts
November 30: Canadian Mission in Bogota, Colombia: Responsible Business Conduct Policy and Success Stories of International Cooperation and the Extractive Sector in Columbia
November 30: Canadian Mission in Rio, Brazil: Supporting CIRDI mission to Brazil
November 30: Canadian Mission in El Salvador for Promotion of CSR Values Workshop
December 3: Canadian Mission in Anakara, Turkey: International Health and Safety in Mining Conference, December 2018 in Istanbul
December 5: Canadian Mission in Brazil: Extractive Sector & Indigenous Community Relations
December 5: Canadian Mission in Brazil: Anti-Corruption and Corporate Governance Seminar
December 12: Canadian Mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Forum on Environmental Impact of Mining Operations
December 19: Canadian Mission in Costa Rica: CSR Workshop – Nicaragua