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A chronology of Canadian Government (in)action on mining abuses

by Sakura Saunders, editor
November 1st, 2012

June 2005: The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade releases a report admitting that �Canada does not yet have laws to ensure that the activities of Canadian mining companies in developing countries conform to human rights standards, including the rights of workers and of indigenous peoples.�

2006: The National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility for the Canadian Extractive Industries process begins. This process included four public forums and a comprehensive consultation process, between civil society groups like Mining Watch Canada and industry groups like the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC).

March 2007: The Roundtables process produces a consensus document from the multi- stakeholder consultation, outlining standards of human rights and environmental safeguards that mining companies should follow.

March 2007: Devonshire Initiative hold first meeting at the University of Toronto. It is named after the street on which the Munk Centre for Int'l Studies is located.

May 2007: Ian Telfer, Goldcorp's chairman, gives $25 million to the University of Ottawa and the School of Management is named after him.

February 9, 2009: Due to government inaction on the roundtable recommendations, Bill C-300 is tabled by Liberal John McKay, to embody these recommendations in a private members bill.

March 2009: Having previously ignored the results of the Roundtable process, the Harper government releases their own report and agenda,  aptly titled �Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector,� rejected the roundtable recommendations and instead offered more subsidies to Canadian mining companies under the banner of CSR.

October 2009: Government of Canada appoints Marketa Evans, the founding director of the Munk* Centre for International Studies and the founder of the Devonshire Initiative, as the first corporate social responsibility (CSR) Counsellor. This toothless position is intended to mediate mining conflicts between mining companies and impacted communities.

September 2010: Devonshire Initiative moves to the University of Ottawa

October 2010: Bill C-300 is defeated in parliament Wednesday night by 140 votes to 134, after fierce lobbying against the bill by industry and Barrick Gold.

September 2011: In a keynote address at the Devonshire Initiative CEO Summit, Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced four new projects where CIDA would contribute money towards CSR projects next to Canadian mines around the world, representing a total contribution of $26.7 million by CIDA.

October 2011: Bill C-323 (formerly Bill C-354) is reintroduced by NDP MP Peter Julien. This bill would allow would allow non-citizens to sue Canadians and Canadian corporations for gross violations of basic human, environmental or labour rights when they are committed outside of Canada.

* Peter Munk is the chairman and founder of the world�s largest gold mining company. The contract establishing the Munk Centre and then the Munk School of Global Affairs have been criticized harshly for having �strings attached�. see Munk-


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