Canada facing more pressure for mining oversight

April 29, 2014

The Canadian mining industry is facing increasing pressure to account for its actions beyond its borders. 

The latest party to join the effort is Archbishop Pedro Barreto, the president of the Solidarity and Justice Department in the Latin American Episcopal Council based in Huancayo, Peru, who joined other NGO’s and advocates calling for a legislated mining ombudsman to oversee Canadian extraction activities around the world.

CBC News reported that the Canada’s federal government has not released the results of its long-awaited review into its foreign mining policies. Because of this, some groups are saying the government should be more involved in the monitoring and management of its foreign operations.
Ottawa has been working for several years to improve foreign mining rules, resulting in the creation of an Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor in 2009.

The unit is responsible for hearing complaints about environmental degradation or human rights abuses worldwide.

However, the office came under criticism because the counsellor position lacked the authority to investigate complaints.

The position also didn’t have the judicial power to make sure parties to the complaints stayed throughout the arbitration process.

Marketa Evans, who held the counsellor position until October 2013, quietly resigned one year before her contract was up. As of late April 2014, she has not been replaced, CBC News reported.

A court ruling that could set a landmark in how mining companies interact overseas was handed down by an Ontario court that ruled one group could sue mining company HudBay Inc. over alleged shootings and gang rapes at a mining project in Guatemala.

Some critics say recent changes to the ministries that oversee Canadian foreign mining activity could further complicate the complaints process against foreign mining operations.
 

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