IHRP Releases Guide for Affected Communities Seeking to Access Canada's CSR Counsellor

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law is pleased to announce the release of a plain-language guide to assist affected communities considering accessing the Review Process set up by the Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor for Canada (“CSR Counsellor”). The guide is entitled On Disputed Ground: A Community User’s Guide to the Review Process of the Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor (Canada). It was produced by a group of volunteer law students over the 2010-2011 academic year. 

The Government of Canada created the CSR Counsellor’s Office as part of its strategy on corporate social responsibility for Canada’s mining, oil and gas companies operating overseas. The Office was opened in March 2010 and, as part of its role, the Office launched a dispute resolution mechanism, called "the Review Process", on October 20, 2010. According to the CSR Counsellor’s Office: “the objective of the Review Process is to foster dialogue and to create constructive paths forward for all parties.” Requests for Review may be brought to the Office by individuals, groups or communities overseas who wish to raise issues regarding the overseas activities of Canadian mining, oil and gas companies. The issues must relate to the endorsed performance guidelines in the Government of Canada's CSR strategy (the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards on Social & Environmental Sustainability, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and the Global Reporting Initiative). The CSR Counsellor’s webpage provides official information on how to submit a Request for Review (click here). 

On Disputed Ground 
supplements the information provided by the CSR Counsellor by highlighting some of practical considerations associated with the Request for Review process, presenting information regarding alternative accountability mechanisms (such as the OECD National Contact Point, and IFC Compliance Advisory/Ombudsman), and providing substantive information on some of the performance standards that the CSR Counsellor will consider (such as the IFC Performance Standards and Voluntary Principles).

Please note, the IHPR is not affiliated with the Office of the CSR Counsellor and does not, in producing On Disputed Ground, endorse use of the CSR Counsellor’s Review Process. Moreover, the information provided in On Disputed Ground is not legal advice or legal assistance.

Download a free copy of On Disputed Ground here.

For further information, please contact:
Renu J. Mandhane 
Director and Clinical Instructor
International Human Rights Program
University of Toronto, Faculty of Law

Tel:  416.946.8730
Email: ihrp.law@utoronto.ca