United Church Launches Petition to Regulate Canadian Mining Companies Overseas
As a result of decisions taken at its 41st General Council in August 2012, the United Church of Canada has launched a petition campaign to encourage “the regulation of Canadian mining companies and their practices abroad.”
Specifically, the petition calls on Parliament to:
- Adopt legislation establishing Canadian courts as an appropriate forum to hear claims by non-Canadians who have been negatively affected by the overseas operations of Canadian registered companies.
- Adopt a legally binding mechanism for greater accountability by federal government departments and agencies, including the Export Development Corporation (EDC), that makes the receipt of government political and financial support by extractive companies contingent upon compliance with corporate accountability standards. Such standards need to be based on international labour and human rights norms, ensure environmental sustainability and protection, and respect the right of Indigenous peoples to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and international jurisprudence.
- Ensure that all projects receiving funding support from CIDA comply with the criteria of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Accountability Act mandating that ODA must first and foremost contribute to poverty reduction, take into account the perspectives of the poor, and be consistent with international human rights standards.
- Adopt legislation to ensure that Canada’s bilateral agreements, including Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (FIPAs) and Free Trade Agreements, respect the responsibility of national and local governments to make economic, social, and environmental decisions that are in the best interests of their countries and communities, support accountability and transparency to local citizens, and do not attract and promote investment by lowering human rights and environmental standards contrary to international human rights protection.
You don’t have to be a member of the United Church to sign on to this important initiative! Please visit the United Church website to download a copy of the petition, which will be presented in Parliament in September 2013. And if you’d like more background information on why this issues matters to people of faith, check out KAIROS’ video Remember the Land: Global Ecumenical Voices on Mining and accompanying study materials.