Federal government unveils new corporate social responsibility policy for extractive sector

Less than a month after the federal government introduced a new transparency law that that will require oil, gas, and mining companies in Canada to disclose their payments to governments around the world, Ottawa announced that it intends to punish companies in the extractive sector that do not adhere to its new corporate social responsibility policy by withdrawing Canadian diplomatic and economic support.

The new corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy redefines the role of the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor, introduces new international best practices extractive companies should adopt, and for the first time links Canada’s “economic diplomacy” assistance in foreign jurisdictions to a company’s adherence to the new policy. While the federal government has been lauded for its efforts, legal observers have voiced concerns over the lack of guidance and legislative framework surrounding the new strategy.

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