Idea details: Transparency in the Mining, Oil & Gas Sectors

Implement and internationally champion a global standard of financial transparency in the extractive industries (oil, gas and mining), that requires all mining, oil and gas companies operating, registered and publicly traded in Canada to publicly disclose payments to governments on a project-by-project and country-by-country basis, in accordance with open data standards.

 

In resource-rich countries, a current lack of open, accessible and reliable public information about tax, royalty and other payments by extractive companies to governments limits the monitoring of non-renewable resource revenue flows. The public reporting of country-by-country and project-by-project payment to government by extractive companies is widely recognised as an essential first step to ensure that governments and companies are accountable to citizens for the management of natural resources. This information benefits citizens by providing the information necessary to assess whether their national and local governments are managing the revenues in the public interest and whether their country is getting a fair deal for its resources. It also helps citizens, governments, and companies identify instances of corruption and/or mismanagement.

 

With over 60% of the world’s mining companies and a third of the world’s oil and gas companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges, Canada recognizes the importance of taking a leadership role. Payment transparency standards for mining, oil, and gas companies operating, registered and/or listed on Canadian stock exchanges will not only impact the lives of Canadians, but those that live in the over one hundred countries where Canadian extractive companies are active.

 

Data disclosed will be made available to the public in format that is aligned with the principles of the G8 Open Data Charter (open by default; quality and quantity; usable by all; releasing data for improved governance; releasing data for innovation), which was endorsed by the Canadian government at the G8 Lough Erne summit in 2013.

 

The Canadian government will also publish public progress reports on the implementation of its extractive partnerships with Tanzania and Peru.

 

This commitment aligns with the Canadian government’s decision to pass mandatory payment disclosure legislation by April 1st 2015. By integrating this commitment into Canada’s Action Plan 2.0 it will address three grand challenges: increasing public integrity, more effectively managing public resources and increasing corporate accountability. For a more detailed action plan commitment, prepared by PWYP-Canada please see: http://www.pwyp.ca/images/PWYP-Canada_OGP_Action_Plan_Commitment_on_Extractives_Transparency.pdf

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Comments

As a member of the Publish What You Pay Canada coalition, Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) strongly supports this inclusion of this commitment in Canada's OGP Action Plan 2.0.

EWB believes the Government of Canada should demonstrate a clear leadership towards increasing financial transparency in the mining, oil and gas sectors by including a commitment that makes it mandatory for Canadian extractive companies to publicly disclose payments to governments on a project-by-project and country-by-country basis.

This commitment should align with open data standards and ensure that disclosed information is accessible and useful to governments, investors and communities by including a commitment to house this data in a centralized, searchable and stable archive. Companies should be required to publicly file their reports electronically on Canada's Open Government website (www.data.gc.ca/) in an open and machine-readable format, in line with the G8 Open Data Charter, and remain accessible online archived for at least 10 years.

This commitment would align with the Canadian government’s decision to pass mandatory payment disclosure legislation by April 1st 2015, and strengthen Canada's move to be a global leader in creating more transparent mining, oil and gas sectors through mandatory reporting requirements.

As a member of PWYP-Canada, Partnership Africa Canada is a strong supporter of increased transparency in the extractive sectors and welcomed the Government of Canada's announcement in June 2013 that it would establish mandatory disclosure rules for oil, gas and mining companies.

In order to ensure that this commitment to transparency leads to greater accountability in the extractive sectors worldwide, it is imperative that the information disclosed by oil, gas and mining companies be provided in a manner that is accessible to the broader population, both in Canada and worldwide. The Government of Canada should therefore align its recent commitment to mandatory disclosure reporting with open data standards, notably the G8 Open Data Charter, making it easier for citizens around the world to access this information. This includes committing to house this data in a centralized, searchable and stable archive. Furthermore, companies should be required to publicly file their reports electronically on Canada's Open Government website (www.data.gc.ca/) in an open and machine-readable format.

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