Canadian CSR Councellor Launches Consultation on Dispute Resolution Mechanism

The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor launched consultations on its new dispute-resolution mechanism. Will this - and the role of the CSR Councellor more generally - make the controversial Bill C-300 obsolete?

As noted in a media release, the dispute reolution mechanism would be utilized to help settle disputes stemming from operations of Canadian extractive companies abroad. The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor was created in March 2009 as part of the government’s CSR Strategy for the International Extractive Sector (and I have blogged about the CSR Counceller before). 

The role of the Counsellor is designed as an impartial advisor and facilitator who brings parties together to fix problems and resolve disputes. The new dispute-resolution process is slated to launch in the fall. Additional information, including details of consultation locations, are posted here: Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor.

One of the interesting side questions around the dispute resolution mechanism and the CSR Councellor’s Office many may be this one: will it take the wind out of the controversial Bill C-300? This is a private member’s bill brought by Liberal MP John McKay, about which I blogged previously (Continued Industry Opposition to CSR Bill C-300 in Canada and CSR Bill C-300: A Storm in the Tea Cup?)

The recent article in the Vancouver Sun, rhetorically entitled "Will mining suffer if Bill C-300 becomes law?",  notes that Bill C-300 is before the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee, and that it could be back in the House for a vote before the summer recess.

Do you think that the role of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor will weaken or perhaps even make Bill C-300 obsolete?

Mehrdad Nazari is a Senior ESIA and CSR Advisor at PRIZMA.