Over the past year, the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) has made significant progress in building political pressure in Ottawa for new mechanisms to hold corporations accountable for human rights violations and environmental damage in their overseas operations.
Significant milestones in 2009 include:
February 9, 2009 -- CNCA supports the introduction of Bill C-300, a private member's bill on corporate accountability in the extractive sector put forward by the Hon. John McKay (Lib.). During subsequent debate in the House, the hard work of several CNCA members is acknowledged by MPs of various political stripes.
March 26, 2009 -- In response to ongoing political pressure mounted by CNCA and the introduction of C-300, International Trade Minister Stockwell Day launches the government's new corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, called "Building the Canadian Advantage." Mainly a series of voluntary initiatives, including a new CSR counsellor with weak investigative powers. It falls far short of the consensus recommendations from the 2006-07 CSR roundtables. CNCA media release expresses major disappointment, calls it a "squandered" opportunity.
April 2009 -- CNCA hires a part-time conference coordinator to organize public events in June and November.
April 22, 2009 -- CNCA members encourage MPs to support Bill C-300 at second reading. Bill narrowly passes 137-134.
June 1, 2009 -- CNCA organizes a highly successful MP panel discussion on CSR, the extractive sector and legislative reform. Liberal, Bloc and NDP MPs speak on the panel, together with the president of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and a representative of the CNCA. Standing-room only crowd (100+) demonstrates to MPs and media that corporate accountability issue is hot in Ottawa.
Mid-September 2009 -- CNCA will launch three case studies about major mining conflicts involving Canadian companies in Papua New Guinea, Honduras and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
September / October 2009 -- Several CNCA members are expected to testify at SCFAID hearings on C-300.
November 3, 2009 -- CNCA will host a major multi-stakeholder conference on corporate accountability and the extractive sector in Ottawa/Gatineau. Leading speakers from industry, government and civil society will compare and contrast the state of CSR in Canada with other leading jurisdictions internationally. Special guests from Australia and Norway will highlight groundbreaking corporate accountability initiatives in their countries (e.g. mining ombudsman, ethical screening of state pension fund). The Mining Association of Canada has agreed to co-sponsor the event.
Web site: www.halifaxinitiative.org
Awarded $25,000 - 2009