The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) is very disappointed that the Extractive Sector Ombudsman bill, Bill C-584, did not pass second reading in the House of Commons yesterday. More than 90,000 Canadians voiced their support for such an Ombudsman through the CNCA’s Open for Justice campaign. Launched in October 2013, the campaign calls for the creation of an Extractive Sector Ombudsman to oversee the international activities of Canadian mining, oil and gas companies; and legislated access to Canadian courts for those who believe they have been harmed by such operations.
NDP leader Tom Mulcair, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau and Green Party leader Elizabeth May stood together in supporting an Ombudsman for the extractive sector, understanding that such an office will not hinder but rather enhance Canada’s efforts to promote responsible mining. All opposition parties rallied behind Bill C-584 but no Conservative MPs voted for it, resulting in a vote of 127 in favour and 150 against.
The CNCA wishes to thank Ms. Ѐve Péclet, MP for Pointe-de-l’Ile, for her tireless work in developing the bill and speaking up for greater accountability from the Canadian extractive sector.
To date, the Canadian government has failed to demonstrate real leadership on corporate social responsibility (CSR). In particular, the government has failed to fix the CSR Counsellor, whose widely criticized mandate was established in 2009 to promote CSR and receive complaints regarding Canada’s international extractive sector. Last year the government conducted consultations on how to improve its CSR Strategy but still has not announced any changes. The first CSR counsellor, Dr. Marketa Evans, resigned unexpectedly last October and the position remains vacant to this day.
The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) brings together 29 human rights, environmental, international development, faith-based, labour and social justice organizations in advocating for mandatory corporate accountability standards for Canadian extractive companies operating abroad.