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Primate addresses National Roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Sector in Developing Countries.

Archbishop Andrew Hutchison addressed a roundtable session held in Toronto this week on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the resource extraction sector.  The roundtable is one of a series across Canada being held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in order to discuss CSR in the mining, oil and gas sectors and their operations in countries of the global south.

At issue is whether corporate accountability mechanisms should be voluntary or mandatory.  Currently the Canadian government offers both political support through its embassies and trade commissioners and financial support through Export Development Canada and the Canadian Pension Plan to Canadian extractive industries with operations abroad.

The primate added his voice to others from the church, including KAIROS, Development and Peace, and the United Church of Canada, and from civil society calling for the federal government to impose mandatory measures to ensure that Canadian companies operating abroad will meet human rights and environmental standards.  “The voluntary self-regulation approach clearly does not work”, he said. 

After his presentation, Archbishop Hutchison met with mining activists from Chile to discuss the Pascua Lama project of Barrick Gold Corporation, a Canadian company whose mining activities threaten the water supply and glacial ecosystem of an indigenous community in the area. 

The next roundtable meetings will take place in Calgary on October 10th to 12th, 2006.

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last modified: September 14, 2006
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