Bill C-300  and other legislative reforms for corporate accountability in Canada Ian Thomson Publish What You Pay (PWYP) I...
Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) <ul><li>20 Canadian civil society organizations working for public pol...
Governance gaps <ul><li>“ The root cause of the business and human rights predicament today lies in the  governance gaps  ...
Canada’s corporate accountability gap <ul><li>“ Canada  does  not  yet  have laws to ensure that the  activities  of Canad...
<ul><li>“ Establish clear legal norms in Canada  to ensure that Canadian companies and residents are  held accountable  wh...
<ul><li>“ Put in place stronger incentives […]  making Canadian government support  – such as export and project financing...
Bill C-
Bill C-300 <ul><li>Establishes human rights and environmental standards for Export Development Canada (EDC), the Canada Pe...
Benefits <ul><li>Provides victims of corporate complicity with grievance mechanism (agency) </li></ul><ul><li>Advocates a ...
John Ruggie on ECAs <ul><li>“ [A] strong case can be made that [export credit agencies] should require clients to  perform...
<ul><li>“ [R]elatively few ECAs explicitly consider human rights at any stage of their involvement; indeed, in informal di...
<ul><li>To date, Government of Canada has: </li></ul><ul><li>Supported mandate of John Ruggie, UN Special Rep. on business...
Current legislative initiatives in Canada <ul><li>Bill C-300 : Corporate accountability of mining, oil and gas (J. McKay) ...
Support Bill C-300 and corporate accountability reform in Canada <ul><li>Write to the 12 MPs on the Standing Committee: </...
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Ian Thompson - PWYP Montreal Conference 2009

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Methodologies for mandatory disclosure initiatives

Home country legislation: Bill C-300 on holding Canadian companies accountable for overseas operations

Ian Thompson, Kairos, Canada

Published in: Business
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  • Several members of the CNCA are also involved in the PWYP Canada coalition.
  • Report was a response to testimony from mining affected communities, including the Subanon Indigenous people from the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. It was adopted as a consensus report with the support of all SCFAID committee members. Contained 10 recommendations in total. Let’s review the two most relevant to today’s discussion.
  • Battle over C-300. Major industry opposition and active lobbying against the bill. The bill has passed second reading in the House of Commons, and is now being studied by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (SCFAID). The latest hearing was held this morning and KAIROS will be appearing before the committee on Thursday. So, what is all the fuss about?
  • Scope limited to conditioning public support. Sanction is limited to withdrawal of this support. No remedy or reparations for victims of wrongdoing.
  • States have a legal duty to promote, protect and fulfill human rights. ECAs are agents of the state and, as such, can help to discharge this legal obligation by developing effective policies around human rights.
  • If enacted, Bill C-300 would provide the political direction from Parliament that Ruggie is referring to here. However, I do not believe that it is a required pre-condition since Canada is already bound to fulfill its human rights obligations. To date EDC has not shown the leadership in developing its own human rights policy.
  • No public policy shift towards mandatory standards, or accountability mechani No domestic legislation on revenue transparency. Government hopes to narrow the debate to: - Assisting companies with managing social and environmental risks - Implementing community development projects in mining affected communities
  • A final plug on what you can do. Not only Canadians. The Standing Committee has been receiving letters in support of Bill C-300 from as far away as Indonesia, Mexico and the Philippines.
  • Ian Thompson - PWYP Montreal Conference 2009

    1. 1. Bill C-300 and other legislative reforms for corporate accountability in Canada Ian Thomson Publish What You Pay (PWYP) International Conference Montréal, Québec November 17, 2009
    2. 2. Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) <ul><li>20 Canadian civil society organizations working for public policy and law reform on corporate accountability internationally </li></ul><ul><li>Formed in 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Unites churches, trade unions, ENGOs, research institutions, human rights organizations, and solidarity groups </li></ul>
    3. 3. Governance gaps <ul><li>“ The root cause of the business and human rights predicament today lies in the governance gaps created by globalization […]. These governance gaps provide the permissive environment for wrongful acts by companies of all kinds without adequate sanctioning or reparation.” </li></ul><ul><li>UN Special Representative John Ruggie’s Report to the Human Rights Council, April 2008 </li></ul>
    4. 4. Canada’s corporate accountability gap <ul><li>“ Canada does not yet have laws to ensure that the activities of Canadian mining companies in developing countries conform to human rights standards, including the rights of workers and of indigenous peoples.” Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT), 14 th Report, June 2005 </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>“ Establish clear legal norms in Canada to ensure that Canadian companies and residents are held accountable when there is evidence of environmental and/or human rights violations associated with the activities of Canadian mining companies;” </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendation #4 , Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, June 2005 </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>“ Put in place stronger incentives […] making Canadian government support – such as export and project financing and services offered by Canadian missions abroad – conditional on companies meeting clearly defined corporate social responsibility and human rights standards, particularly through the mechanism of human rights impact assessments;” </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendation #2 , Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, June 2005 </li></ul>
    7. 7. Bill C-
    8. 8. Bill C-300 <ul><li>Establishes human rights and environmental standards for Export Development Canada (EDC), the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Canadian embassies abroad. </li></ul><ul><li>Creates accountability mechanism to investigate allegations of non-compliance. </li></ul><ul><li>Applies to mining, oil and gas operations abroad that seek Canadian government assistance. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Benefits <ul><li>Provides victims of corporate complicity with grievance mechanism (agency) </li></ul><ul><li>Advocates a consistent approach across state institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Sets a new global precedent </li></ul><ul><li>Implements some recommendations from SCFAIT and others </li></ul>
    10. 10. John Ruggie on ECAs <ul><li>“ [A] strong case can be made that [export credit agencies] should require clients to perform adequate due diligence on their potential human rights impacts . This would enable ECAs to flag up where serious human rights concerns would require greater oversight - and possibly indicate where State support should not proceed or continue . </li></ul><ul><li>UN Special Representative John Ruggie’s Report to the Human Rights Council, April 2008 </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>“ [R]elatively few ECAs explicitly consider human rights at any stage of their involvement; indeed, in informal discussions, a number indicate they might require specific authority from their government overseers to do so.” </li></ul><ul><li>UN Special Representative John Ruggie’s Report to the Human Rights Council, April 2008 </li></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>To date, Government of Canada has: </li></ul><ul><li>Supported mandate of John Ruggie, UN Special Rep. on business and human rights (2005 onwards) </li></ul><ul><li>Held National Roundtables on CSR and extractive sector internationally (2006-07) </li></ul><ul><li>Joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Launched another voluntary approach to CSR: “Building the Cdn. Advantage” (2009) </li></ul>
    13. 13. Current legislative initiatives in Canada <ul><li>Bill C-300 : Corporate accountability of mining, oil and gas (J. McKay) </li></ul><ul><li>Bill C-354 : Access to Cdn. justice system for non-nationals regarding international human rights violations (P. Julian) </li></ul><ul><li>Bill C-438 : National commission to investigate Canadian business activities abroad (J. Deschamps) </li></ul>
    14. 14. Support Bill C-300 and corporate accountability reform in Canada <ul><li>Write to the 12 MPs on the Standing Committee: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Follow progress at: </li></ul><ul><li>Parliament of Canada - www.parl.gc.ca </li></ul><ul><li>CNCA - www.halifaxinitiative.info </li></ul><ul><li>KAIROS - www.kairoscanada.org </li></ul><ul><li>THANK YOU! </li></ul>
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