A call by the CNCA: Canada’s international development policy must include corporate accountability

28 July 2016

The CNCA saw the Government of Canada’s International Assistance Review (2016) as a critical opportunity for Canada to move beyond a narrow focus on international assistance to a whole-of-government approach that places priority on development goals and champions human rights across all of Canada’s global engagements, commitments, and agreements.

Corporate accountability for Canada’s extractive sector operating abroad is a necessary complement to a Canadian human rights based approach to international assistance. The submission by the CNCA makes the case for corporate accountability measures to be included in Canada’s international development policy. Several of CNCA member organizations also made submissions that more fully explore related issues such as beneficial ownership, development-deficits associated with mineral exploration and the gendered impacts of mining.

CNCA’s submission included two central recommendations:

  1. Advance new corporate accountability mechanisms in Canada to prevent harm and offer remedy to foreign victims of rights violations. Specifically, Canada should create an independent Ombudsperson for the extractive sector and facilitate access to Canadian courts for those who have been harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies.
  2. Develop a human rights and Indigenous rights centred Corporate Accountability Strategy for Canada. Unlike the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy created by the previous government in 2009 and updated in 2014, a Corporate Accountability Strategy would focus on the rights of vulnerable individuals and communities and promote the long term success of Canadian companies in their overseas operations. The Corporate Accountability Strategy must prioritize prevention of harm, the right of Indigenous peoples and affected communities to determine their own development strategies, the creation of effective accountability mechanisms, and access to remedy for those who have been harmed.

 
To see CNCA’s full submission to the International Assistance Review, please click here.