Using the Data: Mandatory Payment Reporting in the Extractive Sector


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Votes: 66

In Canada’s 2014-2016 Action Plan, the Government of Canada committed to
“introduce legislation on mandatory reporting standards for the extractive
sector that require the reporting of certain payments made to governments
related to the commercial development of oil, gas and mining.”  This
legislation, the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, is now in
force, and the first company reports will be made public in late fall, 2016.
It is now critical that the Government of Canada take steps to fulfill the
intent of the commitment, which stated: “Mandatory reporting standards will
increase Canadians' awareness about how extractive companies' revenues are
spent, which supports transparency and social responsibility and helps to
combat corruption.” While companies will be disclosing more information, it
is far from assured that Canadians will be more aware of this disclosure and
that company disclosure can fulfill the OGP grans challenges 1, 2, 3 & 5.  To
implement this commitment, the Government of Canada needs to take several
important steps to facilitate and promote the use of mandatory payments
reports by citizens.
Main Objective:  Increase the accessibility and use of extractive sector
payment reports disclosed in accordance the Extractive Sector Transparency
Measures Act.

OGP Challenge Addressed: Grand challenges 3 & 5

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfill the commitment:
• Introduce a requirement that all company reports be filed exclusively in
open, machine readable format
• Create a central database where individuals can search company reports
for current and past years.
• Prepare and publish an annual consolidated report, with input from a
multi-stakeholder working group.
• Develop and implement a plan, in conjunction with Canadian civil society,
to increase awareness in Canada of extractive sector payment reporting.

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Submitted by Jeff Geipel, E… on May 15, 2016 - 9:33 PM

It is vital that revenue payment data provided by extractive sector companies be easily accessible to all stakeholders. Ease of access will allow better analysis for all stakeholders, including the Canadian government itself, which will help in uncovering problematic tax arrangements and corruption in host countries.

Submitted by Catherine Coumans on May 14, 2016 - 1:47 AM

The purpose of ESTMA is to enhance awareness by Canadians of how extractive sector revenues are spent. But this goal will not be achieved if the mandatory reporting by companies is not done in a way that is transparent and accessible to Canadians. The data needs to be in a searchable database and in an open and machine readable format. These are important and non-onerous requirements that should be supported and implemented by our Government.

Submitted by Jean Symes, In… on May 13, 2016 - 8:24 PM

To truly enhance Canadian's awareness of extractive spending, the reporting must be transparent and accessible. That has to mean searchable material, centralized and accessible. Public awareness of the existence of this material is also crucial, and PWYP's proposed methodology would enhance Canadian's confidence in the process and product.

Submitted by Jamie Kneen, M… on May 13, 2016 - 7:33 PM

This is a very important initiative. Committing to transparency and then only going part way is a betrayal of that commitment and would only bolster public skepticism about the government's intentions.

Submitted by The ONE Campaign on May 13, 2016 - 6:49 PM

The passage of ESTMA in December 2014 marked a significant step forward in the global effort to fight corruption. But one significant weakness remains: the law is silent on the format in which the information is to be structured, or where it is to be published. This could result in the chaotic release of data on hundreds of company websites in a number of incompatible formats. Disclosure of granular information about oil, gas and mining payments in an open and machine-readable format and in a centralized location will enable end-users in the more than 100 countries where Canadian extractive companies operate to quickly and easily access and analyze the data on billions of dollars of payments made to governments every year, and will continue Canada’s strong leadership role in promoting and supporting the open data movement. Without this important step, the stated goal of Canada’s oil, gas and mining transparency law “to deter and detect corruption” will be significantly undermined. Citizens and journalists will find it more difficult to use the information, and errors and discrepancies will be more difficult to detect, undermining data quality. We strongly support the recommendations submitted by PWYP-Canada and call on the Government of Canada to fulfil these and unlock the enormous potential of Canada’s landmark transparency law by ensuring that this information is disclosed in machine readable formats in a publicly searchable centralized registry.

Submitted by Anne Catherine… on May 12, 2016 - 4:44 PM

This is very important. Yet again we have a case of public money going to support private interests and private profit. Not only does the public not have a say in the matter but we do not even have access to the information!