Mandatory-reporting plan for energy and mining companies welcomed by provinces – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – August 27, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA — Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford vowed to introduce legislation requiring energy and mining companies to report all revenue paid to foreign and domestic governments, but said its impact on corporate payments made to First Nations will be delayed for two years while Ottawa consults aboriginal leaders.

At a meeting in Sudbury, provincial and territorial resource ministers endorsed Ottawa’s plan to impose new mandatory reporting of resource payments. But most provinces appear willing to let Ottawa take the lead on the measure, which includes controversial new accountability rules for First Nations.

“Canada is recognized around the world as a leader in promoting transparency and accountability in the extractive sector as a whole, here at home and around the world,” Mr. Rickford said on Tuesday after the ministerial meeting. “We have a responsibility to ensure that here at home and abroad, our corporations – in their relationships that they build in the effort to develop resources responsibility – that they are transparent and accountable.”

Mr. Rickford said the proposed legislation would allow each province or territory to implement its own mandatory reporting regime that could supersede the federal rule, and Quebec has indicated it intends to do so.

The federal minister said Ottawa would defer the implementation of its legislation as it pertains to company payments to aboriginal governments for two years in order to allow time for consultation.

The Canadian mining industry has worked with non-governmental organizations to urge Canadian governments to adopt mandatory reporting rules, as the United States and European Union have developed similar regulations. The international effort aims to curb corruption in the developing world, where multinational companies often operate amid poor accountability rules and little transparency for the taxes, fees and royalties they pay to governments.

The Mining Association of Canada and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada both welcomed Mr. Rickford’s announcement, and the support from the provincial and territorial governments.

“Improved transparency on revenues paid will help increase accountability and ensure that the benefits of resource development reach the more than one billion people living in resource-rich countries,” PDAC president Rod Thomas said in a statement.

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