Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 7, 2008
Gov't urged to make wayward resource companies accountable
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Catholic groups say Canada's international reputation is jeopardized because the federal government has done nothing to ensure mining and oil and gas companies operate responsibly in developing countries.
The groups have expressed dismay the government has yet to respond to a consensus report on corporate social responsibility released a year ago.
The report arose out of 10 months of roundtable discussions involving NGOs, civil society groups, government and mining company reps.
"It's time for action," said Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace executive director Michael Casey in a March 27 news release.
Casey urged the government to implement the 27 recommendations released last March 29 in The Final Report of the National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries.
The report recommends the development of Canadian corporate responsibility standards and the appointment of an independent ombudsman to ensure accountability.
The report also recommends government sanctions for companies not complying with the standards.
"People living in the Global South are counting on Ottawa to ensure that Canadian mining companies are called to account," Casey said.
The Congregation of Notre Dame has about 350 sisters in eight provinces and the Yukon.
The sisters have "direct experience working in Central American countries where Canadian companies have detrimentally affected local communities," the order's leadership team wrote.
Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez recently addressed the Honduran Congress, urging reform to his country's 1998 mining law, which benefits transnational companies.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke positively about the roundtables' recommendations at the G8 Summit in Germany last June.
A year after the report, however, the government has still not responded officially.