Doing business the Canadian way. What does that mean precisely? I posed that question a year ago when the federal government announced the creation of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, or CORE.
Ottawa’s new initiative was broadly welcomed. CORE’s predecessor, the Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility, went from having no profile and no powers in its early years, to a period of dormancy, to a brief revival during which it had no budget and administrative support for only three months of the year.
In its 2016-17 annual report the office noted it had to request financial support for every event and activity, and that its attempts to open the door to dialogue with industry players in the extractive sector — oil and gas and mining — had met with limited success.
The office was formally wound down in May of last year. Its final report to Parliament has not yet been tabled.
So no surprise that the federal government drew plaudits with its CORE announcement last January. This would be a world-leading, first-of-its-kind initiative, Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne said at the time. The ombud would be independent and vested with a mandate to investigate allegations of human rights abuses linked to Canadian corporate activity abroad.
Twelve months later, where are we? Global Affairs Canada says that “progress continues” in the selection of the ombudsperson.