OTTAWA, Oct. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - A proposed private member's bill on corporate responsibility would impose corporate social responsibility standards so out of step with the rest of the world that it will tilt the playing field against Canadian companies, Senior Vice President Legal Services Jim McArdle said today.
"At EDC, corporate social responsibility isn't about checking boxes, it is an integral part of how we operate and an ongoing process with our customers," Mr. McArdle told the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of Parliament.
"We believe the standards Bill C-300 seeks to put in place are so out of step with the rest of the world that they would only hurt Canadian companies and take them out of the game."
Mr. McArdle said that Bill C-300, an Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining/Oil/Gas in Developing Countries, proposes amendments to the Export Development Act which would seriously undermine EDC's ability to work with companies in the mining, oil and gas sectors.
In the last year alone, EDC facilitated $27.4 billion of exports and investments in the extractive sector, support which helped generate $21.4 billion in Canadian GDP and sustain 139,000 Canadian jobs in communities across the country.
"By including EDC in this bill and imposing standards which are still in the process of being defined and agreed upon by the international community, EDC would be required to exit a relationship with any Canadian company the moment a CSR violation has been determined," said Mr. McArdle.
"This approach restricts EDC from working with the Canadian company to remedy any CSR issues and improve their standards, and it will mean companies won't access capital from EDC in the first place."
Mr. McArdle noted that the uncertainty caused by the application of this bill could also impact other lenders' willingness to provide financial intermediation.
"If this happens, the void left by Canadian companies will be more likely to be filled by other international players with less regard for CSR," he said.
"If this bill becomes law, we believe EDC's opportunities to help Canadian companies would be limited. Instead Canadian companies and EDC would both be on the sidelines, hoping that those other companies who remain in the market do the right thing from a CSR perspective."
EDC is Canada's export credit agency, offering innovative commercial solutions to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. EDC's knowledge and partnerships are used by more than 8,300 Canadian companies and their global customers in up to 200 markets worldwide each year. EDC is financially self-sustaining, a recognized leader in financial reporting and economic analysis, and has been named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for nine consecutive years.
SOURCE Export Development Canada
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