Corporate Social Responsibility and the Activities of Canadian Corporations Abroad (Lecture)

This 2006 Cadieux-Léger* lecture by Robert Dufresne examines actual and potential legal avenues to ‘discipline and punish’ Canadian corporations abroad, with a specific focus on extractive corporations. Dufresne overviews systemic problems within Canada’s extractive industry and compares Canada’s “lax and resistant” policies to those of other countries. The lecture was prepared in advance of Canada’s 2006-2007 National Rountables on extractive industries and CSR, the outcomes of which were largely ignored by Canada’s government.
*The Cadieux-Léger fellowship is hosted by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

[From the lecture:]

Canadian companies involved in exploration have interests in close to 2800 mineral properties located in more than 100 countries. Canadian mining companies exploit more than 130 mines abroad.

The value of direct investment by Canadian companies in the mineral sector is $50 billion – with another $17 billion projected in the next 5 years;

Almost 60% of the world’s exploration and mining companies are listed in Canada. The Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange account for more than 50% of the world’s listed mining companies and their combined value is assessed at $US140 billion.

Canadian companies account for more than 40% of worldwide exploration budgets. (pp. 1-2)

First, strengthening corporate responsibility can be justified from a systemic perspective. From this standpoint, the focus is not so much on isolated acts as it is on resource exploitation schemes that, taken together, and on a repetitive basis, are oppressive in the broader sense. Extractive industries are in fact highly militarized and often operate in practice through the interaction of a military or security branch and a branch that is actually more extractive or economic. Taken to the extreme, this raises the question of the limit between acquisition in a trade context, based on exchange, and acquisition based on organized violence. (p. 13)

Canada is perceived as lax on CSR and resistant to the adoption of incisive and constraining measures, particularly measures of a reparative nature…. (p. 14) Read the entire 2006 Cadieux-Léger Lecture by Robert Dufresne here.

This entry was posted in Conflict and Repression, Corporate Impunity, Oh, Canada: Canadian policy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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