The Trade Commissioner Service Support Division at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) is pleased to release a new issue of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) E-Bulletin, which aims at informing stakeholders of the Government of Canada’s initiatives in the area of CSR. We trust that you will find the following informative and look forward to working with you in fostering and promoting CSR practices and standards.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S CSR POLICY PROGRESS REPORT:
CSR COUNSELLOR INAUGURATES OFFICE – The Government of Canada’s Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor, Dr. Marketa Evans, hosted an open house on Monday, March 8th, 2010 to inaugurate her new office in Toronto. The Office of the CSR Counsellor will assist Canadian extractive companies in resolving social and environmental issues related to their operations abroad. The office of the Counsellor is one of four pillars of Canada’s new CSR policy, Building the Canadian Advantage. The Counsellor has been undertaking wide-ranging consultations with stakeholders across Canada and will shortly begin a formal consultation on the review process for extractive Canadian companies operating abroad. For more information on the Counsellor and her role, please visit the following the Counsellor’s website at www.international.gc.ca/csr-counsellor.
VOLUNTARY PRINCIPLES ON SECURITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS – Another of the four pillars of Canada’s CSR policy involves the promotion of three widely-recognized international CSR performance guidelines, including the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs). The VPs, whose membership includes governments, extractive industry companies and NGOs, help extractive companies anticipate and mitigate operational risks within a framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Following the submission of its Work Plan, Canada was officially accepted as a full participating member of the VPs on March 19th, 2010, during the VP’s tenth Annual Plenary in London, UK. As such, Canada is now a member of the VPs Steering Committee and will begin working with the VPs on its Implementation Guidance Tools project that will create clear, practical guidelines for on-the-ground action for its members. For more information, please visit www.voluntaryprinciples.org.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S PARTICIPATION IN THE KIMBERLEY PROCESS – Since its inception, Canada has been an active and committed Participant in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP), which requires that its member states trade only in rough diamonds that are certified as being of non-conflict origin by other Participants. The Scheme currently includes 49 Participants, representing 75 countries, as well as industry and civil society coalitions. In light of a recent call for tighter customs and border control, Canada will co-host an enforcement seminar on June 24th, 2010 in Tel Aviv, following the KP Intersessional meeting. The seminar will bring together enforcement and customs officials from KP Participant countries to initiate dialogue on challenges and best practices and provide a venue for a discussion of how inter-agency enforcement cooperation can be developed. For more information on the KP, please visit www.kimberleyprocess.com.
DFAIT AT THE 2010 PROSPECTORS AND DEVELOPERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA (PDAC) INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION - DFAIT continued its promotion of CSR at PDAC's International Convention, held in Toronto on March 8th and 9th. In collaboration with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Toronto Regional Office, the Trade Commissioner Service Support Division (BTS) co-led a one day, capacity-building session for visiting Trade Commissioners and CSR stakeholders. During the convention, trade commissioners met with companies, incoming delegations and civil society representatives to promote the Government of Canada's CSR initiatives and services such as Canada's National Contact Point (NCP). DFAIT facilitated the visit of delegations from Guatemala and Ecuador, representing host country governments and indigenous communities affected by mining. These delegations met with Canadian companies’ head offices and attended a session sponsored by PDAC’s Aboriginal Affairs Committee (AAC), entitled “Companies and Communities Working Together”.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S PROMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENTS ABROAD:
o Philippines – Between February 15th - 20th, 2010, the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines delivered its fifth annual CSR event: two, three-day workshops entitled “Community-Based Enterprise Assessment and Action Planning Workshop for Indigenous Peoples” in Manila and Surigao. The workshops encouraged communication and collaboration between local Indigenous Peoples and Canadian mining companies invested in the Philippines.
o Spain – From February 26th to March 2nd, 2010, the Canadian Embassy in Madrid and the Canadian Consulate in Barcelona promoted the Government of Canada’s new CRS Policy at the “Doing Good and Doing Well” conference in Barcelona. During the conference, Canadian representatives met with stakeholders from Spanish industry and NGOs to discuss opportunities for cooperation between Spanish and Canadian companies and institutions relating to projects in Latin America.
o Mozambique – On February 17th and 18th, 2010, the Canadian High Commissioner to Mozambique, in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), funded a workshop on “Extractive Resources Development Opportunities and Challenges and the Relevance of CSR” in Mozambique. The workshop covered topics including the value of CSR initiatives and the obstacles and opportunities regarding the implementation of CSR activities into local government plans.
o Ecuador – On March 25th in Quito and 26th in Cuenca, the Canadian Embassy in Quito delivered its fourth annual CSR event: four CSR workshops, led by experts from the organization for Canadian Businesses for Social Responsibility (CBSR). The workshops, including “Effective Approaches in Stakeholder Mapping”, “Choosing the Right CSR Frameworks” and “Designing and Appropriate Sustainable Development Fund Management System”, aimed to enhance the CSR practices of Canadian companies, local NGOs and local authorities.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S COMMITMENT TO ANTI-BRIBERY – Canada takes very seriously its international and domestic obligations regarding allegations of corruption of foreign public officials. The Government of Canada is committed to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The corresponding Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA), makes bribing a foreign public official a crime under Canadian law. Consequently, on March 3rd, 2010, Canadian diplomatic missions abroad and Regional Offices in Canada were reminded of obligations under the CRPOA. For more information on the CFPOA, please visit the following link.
INDUSTRY CANADA’S SUPPORT FOR STUDY RESULTING IN SUSTAINABILITY DECISION-MAKING FRAMEWORK – Industry Canada (IC) recently supported a study on the decision-making process at BC Hydro to demonstrate how a leading Canadian company integrates sustainability into decision-making. The result of the study is the PrOACT (Problem, Objectives and Measures, Alternatives, Consequences and Trade-offs) Structured Decision-Making Framework, a tool for private sector companies seeking to integrate sustainability considerations into their decision-making processes. For more information, please visit the following link.