Letter to Prime Minister Harper Re: Formally adopting and implementing full set of recommendations from recent Canadian CSR roundtable process - June 22, 2007

June 22, 2007

The Right Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
312S Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

RE: Formally adopting and implementing full set of recommendations from recent Canadian CSR roundtable process.

Dear Prime Minister:

The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) commends the Canadian government for addressing the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) during the G8 summit in early June.  The CNCA is encouraged that particular emphasis was placed on the operations of mining, oil and gas companies.

G8 leaders expressed concern that, “in some cases, (...) extraction and processing of resources are associated with misuse of revenues, environmental destruction, armed conflict and state fragility,” and identified the need for “further enhancing the contribution of mineral resources to sustainable growth.”

The heads of state called for the development of a “consolidated set of principles and guidelines” that apply to the international mining sector in developing countries to ensure that the sector contributes to development.  They emphasized that all stakeholders be involved to build consensus around appropriate standards for the mining sector.

In Canada, such consensus was recently reached among industry and civil society representatives through a national consultation process on Corporate Social Responsibility and Canadian extractive operations in developing countries.  One of the key outcomes of the roundtable process was the development of a Canadian CSR Framework.  This Framework includes a set of CSR Standards and accompanying guidelines that will improve extractive companies’ environmental, social and human rights performance. 

At the summit, you highlighted the national roundtables as a Canadian initiative that is supportive of G8 objectives. You affirmed that “implementation of the recommendations from this process will place Canada among the most active G8 countries in advancing international guidelines and principles on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in this sector.”

The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability is encouraged by your statement and would like to know when the Canadian government will formally adopt the full set of roundtable recommendations?

Once the CSR Framework is established, we urge your government to continue to build on this new platform.  We encourage you to establish a legal mandate for the Framework through binding legislation, to incorporate Free, Prior and Informed Consent for indigenous peoples and to protect the human rights of individuals and communities in developing countries that are affected by Canadian extractive activities.

As you and other G8 leaders rightly emphasized, this issue requires urgent attention.

Yours truly,

Sara Kemp
Coordinator, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability