‘We recognize there are always improvements to be made,’ says the trade minister’s office.
The Liberal government is “seriously reviewing” the creation of an ombudsperson to investigate Canadian companies implicated in wrongdoing abroad, says Canada’s corporate social responsibility counsellor for the extractive sector, Jeffrey Davidson.
After a year of getting its feet wet and dealing with top priorities, the government has turned its attention to Mr. Davidson’s office and the corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies of the previous Conservative government, he said in an interview with The Hill Times last week.
“[They’re] working through how they want to deal with this whole issue: the CSR issue, the conduct of Canadian companies overseas, not just in the extractives, but across sectors, and what they should do…above and beyond what exists,” he said.
The NDP and social justice organizations, including the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, have stepped up pressure recently on the government to establish an ombudsperson to investigate human rights violations connected to Canadian-owned mines in developing countries, a Liberal campaign promise.
The government could be ready to respond soon, said Mr. Davidson, who isn’t involved in the government’s decision-making process, but has been consulted on the matter.
“I can’t say with certainty what model the government will come up with, but I do understand that they are seriously reviewing this concept of an ombudsman, and trying to sort out how they could make it work in a way that makes sense for them, and for the parties that may be affected,” he said.
The office of Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland (University-Rosedale, Ont.), who handles the CSR file, did not confirm or deny that the government was considering creating an ombudsperson. In an emailed statement in response to questions, spokesperson Alex Lawrence said the government was “assessing Canada’s corporate social responsibility approach and identifying ways to strengthen it, to ensure Canada continues to demonstrate real global leadership. We recognize there are always improvements to be made.”
For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.hilltimes.com/2016/11/09/feds-seriously-considering-mining-ombudsman-says-canadas-corporate-social-responsibility-envoy/86691