Review Mechanism Priority for Canadian CSR Councellor

During a webinar hosted by the Canadian Institute for Mining & Petroleum (CIM) today, Dr. Marketa Evans, the recently appointed CSR Counsellor for the Canadian extractive sector operating abroad, identified the development of a review mechanism of complaints as an emerging priority.

In response to questions, Dr. Evans pointed out that there is currently no such mechanism in place. A key challenge of creating this new review mechanism is the need to ensure its credibility and utility by all stakeholders.

Example of other review mechanism which could perhaps serve as models include (a) the Compliance/Advisory Ombudsman Office (CAO) of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Insurance Guarantee Agency (MIGA), both members of the World Bank Group, and (b) the Project Complaint Mechanism (PCM - until very recently known as the Independent Recourse Mechanism or IRM) of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Both CAO and PCM provide for problem solving and compliance review functions, with IFC’s CAO also including a broader advisory role. IFC/MIGA's CAO model has the reputation of being more accessible and number of complaints are an order of magnitude higher compared to EBRD's IRM/PCM.

How would you describe the pros and cons of CAO and IRM/PCM and would you recommend them as models to be considered by the CSR Counceller? What other models could be considered?