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National Contact Point annual report 2022

Table of contents

1. Overview

As an adherent to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises, Canada maintains a National Contact Point (NCP) to promote awareness and effectiveness of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (PDF). The OECD Guidelines constitute one of the most comprehensive and widely endorsed responsible business conduct (RBC) codes for enterprises operating internationally. As part of its mandate, Canada’s NCP contributes to the resolution of issues raised regarding observance of the OECD Guidelines by multinational enterprises operating in or from Canada, namely by facilitating dialogue/mediation.  

The 2022 annual report covers the period from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. This was a year of renewal for Canada’s NCP. Informed by stakeholder consultations, the NCP completed a comprehensive revision of its procedures for handling specific instances. Published in September 2022, the revised procedures will make the NCP’s specific instance process more transparent and predictable. During the year, the NCP also finalized the content of a new NCP website. Launched in January 2023, this refreshed web presence will help ensure information on the role and activities of Canada’s NCP remains up-to-date and accessible.

As part of its mandate to promote the OECD Guidelines, Canada’s NCP also undertook a number of initiatives to engage with a variety of stakeholders – both within Canada and abroad – throughout 2022. The goal of these activities was to enhance awareness of the OECD Guidelines and the NCP system within civil society, and to help further the implementation of the OECD Guidelines by multinational enterprises.

In 2022, the NCP accepted 7 specific instances for initial assessment. The NCP concluded one of these cases, as well as another initiated in 2020. As of December 31, 2022, 6 specific instances were undergoing initial assessment.

In April 2022, Global Affairs Canada launched Responsible Business Conduct Abroad: Canada’s Strategy for the Future. This 5-year Strategy (2022-2027) sets out priorities for the Government of Canada to help Canadian companies adopt world-leading responsible business practices in their activities abroad. The Strategy cites the OECD Guidelines as a key source of guidance for Canadian companies in this regard, and highlights the important role of Canada’s NCP in advancing the Strategy’s objectives.

2. Institutional arrangement

Canada’s NCP is an interdepartmental committee comprising eight federal departments: Global Affairs Canada (chair); Natural Resources Canada (vice-chair); Environment and Climate Change Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Employment and Social Development Canada; Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada; the Department of Finance; and Public Services and Procurement Canada. This diverse composition enables Canada’s NCP to draw on a wide range of expertise and experience in fulfilling its mandate. 

Canada’s NCP convenes regular consultations with its 3 non-government Social Partners:

The NCP Secretariat, located in Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Strategy and Responsible Business Conduct Division, provides administrative support to the NCP and leads the NCP’s promotion and outreach activities. The Secretariat also supports the Government of Canada’s engagement on RBC initiatives within the OECD context.

3. Supporting engagement at the OECD

In 2021, Canada agreed to provide financial support and to serve as a vice-chair for the February 2023 OECD Ministerial Meeting on Responsible Business Conduct. Throughout 2022, the NCP Secretariat supported the Government of Canada’s engagement in the planning of the Ministerial, as well as preparations for the participation of Canada’s delegation.

The NCP Secretariat continued to support Canada’s delegation to the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct (WPRBC). This included supporting Canada’s contributions to the development of the OECD Recommendation on the Role of Government in Promoting Responsible Business Conduct, adopted by the OECD Council in December 2022. It also included coordinating the Government of Canada’s engagement in the process to make targeted updates to the OECD Guidelines and the Implementation Procedures.

For the seventh consecutive year, the NCP Secretariat managed the Government of Canada’s voluntary contribution to the OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct, supporting analysis, research, and activities related to RBC and to strengthening the global NCP network.  

Canada’s NCP continued to engage constructively with the OECD to address the substantiated submission filed by OECD Watch in 2021. The NCP welcomed the OECD Investment Committee’s report concluding that process in September 2022. This report is available both on Canada’s NCP website and the OECD website.

4. Promotion and engagement

Promotion and outreach are central to the NCP’s mandate.

During 2022, Canada’s NCP co-organized and participated in a variety of events to promote the OECD Guidelines. Examples include the following:

The NCP completed a comprehensive revision of its procedures for handling specific instances. These enhancements were informed by the 2019 OECD-led Peer Review of Canada’s NCP, as well as stakeholder consultations carried out in late 2020. Prior to the finalization of the NCP’s revised procedures, a further round of targeted stakeholder consultations was undertaken early in 2022 to help ensure Canada’s NCP would meet the goal of establishing a more transparent and predictable specific instance process.

Throughout 2022, the NCP Secretariat also undertook preparatory work to launch a new NCP website in January 2023. The updated website makes information on Canada’s NCP more accessible, and includes a new “case tracker” to provide greater transparency on the status of specific instances in progress.  

Engagement within the Government of Canada

Throughout 2022, the NCP Secretariat regularly engaged with NCP member departments to discuss RBC issues. Canada’s NCP also participated in meetings of the interdepartmental Community of Practice on Responsible Business Conduct, co-chaired by Global Affairs Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada. The Community of Practice meets quarterly to strengthen RBC policy coherence and convenes a broad range of federal government departments to encourage discussions around RBC issues.

The NCP Secretariat also participated in quarterly meetings with the office of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) to coordinate on activities such as joint outreach and promotion.

The NCP also advised Global Affairs Canada on the finalization of the 2022 RBC Strategy (launched in April 2022), which highlights the OECD Guidelines as a key source of guidance and expectations for the conduct of Canadian companies active abroad.  

5. Specific instances

The NCP concluded two specific instances in 2022:

Canada’s NCP accepted a further 6 requests for review for initial assessment during 2022. Initial assessments remained underway at the end of the 2022 reporting period.

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