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CSR Abroad – Human Rights

Canadian companies operating abroad are expected to respect human rights. Developing rigorous CSR practices can help companies avoid causing or contributing to the infringement of human rights, address potential impacts, and prevent or mitigate any human rights impacts that could be linked to their activities. Below are some examples of how Canadian mining and exploration companies have demonstrated respect for human rights in their operations:

Responses by Company

Agnico Eagle Mines Limited

Human rights are addressed through the review of grievances, and signatures are required by all employees and contractors of a code of ethics.

American Vanadium Corp.

Human rights are addressed through open and honest communication, contract negotiation, and permitting processes.

Angkor Gold Corp.

We undertake workshops in a variety of topics from family values, individual rights, anti-trafficking, economic opportunity, etc… We also do educational campaigns on career opportunities.

Angkor Gold has internal CSR workshops with its staff to explain to the Cambodian staff why human rights are so important in the ethical development of a mining sector.

AuRico Gold Inc.

The Company ensures compliance with its current anti-discrimination policy in the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics throughout its operations with the whistleblower hotline. Each quarter, a report is submitted to the Audit Committee outlining the number of complaints received since the previous report. The Company’s Code of Conduct declares its commitment to fair employment practices in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.

Response continued

The Company will not tolerate any type of illegal discrimination or harassment, and expects that all relationships among persons in the workplace will be professional and free of bias and harassment.  For the fourth successive year, the Mexican operation has received a Socially Responsible Company Distinctive issued by the Institute CEMEFI (Centre of Mexican Philanthropy), and for the second consecutive year it has achieved a "Great Place to Work Status".

The company reviews its code of ethics policy annually with key management personnel.

Banro Corporation

In becoming an extractive company in 2011, Banro recognized the need to formalize its commitment to human rights. In 2012, the Company began the process of implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. These principles were developed and are supported by a number of countries, including Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as several leading extractive companies and NGOs and are intended to guide companies on security and human rights.

Response continued

During 2012, a competent, independent third party auditor retained by Banro began an in-depth investigation of the security situation within Banro’s operational footprint in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the behavior of the actors in the security establishment, and the way in which Banro relates to the situation and the actors. This third party auditor delivered a report in late 2012 with recommendations for the formal implementation of revised policies and practices. While the report contained no negative findings regarding Banro’s relationship with the military or the police forces, it did offer recommendations for improving security practices. These recommendations were implemented in 2013 and early 2014 by Banro’s operational management and the Company’s security service provider. The external expert will return in 2014 to conduct a post implementation audit, which will result in a second report indicating compliance or otherwise with the VPHRS principles and the 2012 recommendations.

Barrick Gold Corp.

Our global Human Rights Policy contains the philosophical premise behind our human rights approach: We will respect the human rights of all stakeholders impacted by our operations. It clearly states, “Barrick does not tolerate violations of human rights committed by its employees, affiliates, or any third parties acting on its behalf or related to any aspect of a Barrick operation.” This means that the Human Rights Policy applies to every corner of the company — to all employees (on or off duty) and third-party contractors, or any affiliate or subsidiary, wherever they may operate.

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It further declares that under the Policy, a human right is one recognized by the International Bill of Human Rights, and mandates adherence to the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The Policy contains numerous specific requirements, including training of employees and third parties, due diligence for employees, suppliers and sites, contract provisions regarding human rights, investigations of allegations, and remediation. In addition, the Policy is supported by and incorporates area-specific policies, and multiple procedures and standards. These include: the Supplier Code of Ethics, the Policy with Respect to the Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Security Management System , the Community Relations Management System, the Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy, the Safety and Health Management System , the Environmental Management System, as well as procedures related to reporting, escalating, and investigating human rights allegations.

More information:

In 2014, more than 7,500 Barrick employees received human rights training. At Barrick, all new employees receive basic human rights training and certain relevant employees receive annual refresher training and focused human rights training pertaining to their areas of work. A human rights component has been added to Barrick’s Code of Conduct e-training that is provided to many employees. Certain employees, including those who receive the Code of Conduct training, are required to sign certifications stating that they are not aware of any potential unreported human rights violations, and that they will abide by Barrick’s Human Rights Policy. Barrick has developed extensive internal “train the trainer” materials and conducts related workshops, allowing many site and regional employees to deliver effective human rights training.  

More information:

Cameco Corporation

Cameco does not operate in jurisdictions where there is a high risk of the infringement on human rights. We have codified the upholding of all human rights through our company’s CSR policy, and we also ensure that all our employees and contractors abide by our internal Respectful Workplace program, which promotes a work environment that is safe, healthy and free from harassment, violence and discriminatory practices.

Candente Copper Corp.

Candente has engaged with Save the Children Peru and Mexico, to design and implement projects that enhance the protection and values supporting the rights of children and women in their communities. Every effort is taken to involve local producers and service providers with opportunities for employment and contracts to provide our operations with services, under conditions that well exceed workers’ rights standards.

Response continued

Associations and cooperatives are supported by the company in agricultural production and also carpentry. Self-determination and free, prior and informed consent is practiced and respected on a regular basis in company dealings with local communities. Respect is paid to the fundamentals of self-determination in all agreements made with the community, including our most recent exploration agreement.

Delta Gold Corp.

The company demonstrates respect for and promotes human rights through clear and frequent communication.

Goldcorp Inc.

At Goldcorp we are committed to integrating respect for human rights into our business management processes at all locations and levels within the company. From mine workers to senior management, all employees and contractors are expected to comply with and promote our Human Rights Policy.

Response continued

More information:

We recognize that policy alone cannot change actions. In order to ensure that the Human Rights Policy is reflected in our day-to-day activities, we have a partnership agreement with an international human rights organization, Fund for Peace, to design and implement a human rights training program, and to measure and monitor the impact and effectiveness of that training and policy. Other training and awareness programs are specific to certain sites or regions where issues may be of heightened importance. Sites in our Mexico and Guatemala regions carry out training related to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, as well as general human rights training related to the Conflict-Free Gold Standard in Mexico. For more information on these specific programs, see our section on Human Rights Training.

More information:

Handa Copper Corp.

The company demonstrates respect for, and promotes human rights through adherence to appropriate labour legislation and other relevant legislation in force in the jurisdiction in which the company is active.Footnote 1 In addition, regular internal meetings are held at different levels to address any concerns - employees are encouraged to communicate any concerns. We also hold regular stakeholder meetings with the communities in which we operate. Every effort is made to recruit labour, source materials and award contracts locally. In doing so, local customs are observed and appropriate authorities including traditional and governmental, are referred to and respected.

HudBay Minerals Inc.  

We have a number of elements that demonstrate and promote respect for human rights:  our Human Rights Policy is approved by our Board of Directors and is publicly available on our website; in our annual CSR report we describe our governance structure related to human rights, including which Board Committee is mandated to oversee the human rights performance of our company;  our Code of Conduct includes provisions defining our expectations regarding non-discrimination and a harassment free workplace;  our corporate standards on stakeholder engagement and community grievances;  in our higher risk location we have been carrying out approximately quarterly reviews of the implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights; in our annual CSR report we provide a summary of the number and nature of grievances we have received at each location; we run a cultural awareness information program at our site in Peru.

Response continued

Through the development of our Stakeholder Engagement and grievance mechanism standards in 2014 we carried out extensive engagement within our company on the elements of human rights and the HudBay Human Rights Policy.  We are in the process of developing an introductory training on Human Rights for all employees.

More information:

Kinross Gold Corp.

Kinross’ commitment to human rights is implemented through the following framework:

  • Our commitment to the UN Global Compact;
  • Our commitment to support and respect the protection of human rights in the workplace and the community, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • Our commitment to implement the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights;
  • Kinross Code of Business Conduct and Ethics;
  • Our internal practices and procedures, such as our EHS and labour policies, community relations practices, and our project permitting/consultation practices.
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Kinross uses the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (GPBHR) to help identify priorities based upon the nature of our operations, the context of the host countries where we operate, and the list of human rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Labour Organization Core Conventions, Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

More information:

Kinross supports the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and has established a Human Rights Adherence and Verification Program (HRA & VP) program to implement this commitment. The HRA & VP program establishes procedures and training at all Kinross operating mines on an annual basis to help ensure that all security personnel, as well as key site management, understand and are consistently compliant with human rights best practices and standards as related to security.

More information:

In addition to compliance with Mauritanian law, by contract all in-country contractors at our Tasiast mine are required to comply with the Kinross Code of Conduct and Business Ethics; Tasiast standards regarding main camp and subcontractor camp Hygiene, Health and Safety; and Tasiast Internal Rules and People Management Practices.

More information:

MBAC Fertilizer Corp.

The company acknowledges human rights in several policies in place and we are required to follow IFC principles as they are one of our lenders and shareholder. Human rights are also addressed through the starter integration programs and workers initiation trainings.

Nortec Minerals Corp.

Nortec does not discriminate against ethnicity, religion or gender, and pays equitable wages that ensure a healthy living standard for its employees.

NOVAGOLD Resources Inc.

The company's commitment to respect human rights is set forth in the Human Rights Policy which is applicable to all directors, officers, employees, and contractors. In addition, the company interacts with local stakeholders, including Indigenous groups, through intensive community outreach and development programs which are intended to develop mutual respect and understanding of native cultures, customs, and beliefs. 

Response continued

All of our key staff have received training in the specific cultures and practices of the native communities that we interact with.  We emphasize the importance of treating local stakeholders with respect in the context of their traditional ways of life.  We consider this extremely important in ensuring that we are protective of the human rights of those whose lives would be affected by our projects.

Sherritt International Corporation

We have an enterprise-wide human rights policy that aligns with external standards and good practice. We provide human rights training to contractors. We have worked with third-parties to address specific human rights issues and to build awareness on human rights among our workforce and host communities. We have a grievance mechanism to process any complaints in this area.

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Sherritt is a member of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, which involves training security contractors as well as capacity building of local army and police forces. Contractors in Madagascar receive training on broader human rights issues, such as child labor. We have an enterprise-wide human rights policy that aligns with external standards and good practice. This policy applies to all employees and is part of the on-boarding process. More broadly, we have human rights- and ethics-related policies that employees must sign and review periodically. We have a whistle-blower program for employees, who can use it to discreetly report human rights complaints, among other things. 

Strata Minerals Inc.

The Company ensures that it meets all CSR regulations and guidelines for the countries in which it operates (i.e., USA and Australia).Footnote 1 Given the small size of the company and its current exploration activities, the Company relies on the expertise of management and the Board in order to ensure the promotion of human rights of employees, contractors, communities, etc…

Suncor Energy Inc.

In 2001, Suncor adopted a Human Rights policy.  Our policy enshrines Suncor's responsibility to respect human rights in all of our activities and business relationships with others, including employees, contractors and communities.  In addition to integrating human rights considerations into our company-wide Operational Excellence Management System, we also have been working to embed human rights practices into employee policies and programs, our approach to community and stakeholder engagement, and the way we manage employee and facility security. 

Response continued

We conduct human rights training workshops specifically for employees working in jurisdictions or in a capacity where human rights violations are likely to occur--thus taking a more targeted risk-based approach to our training.  Examples of relevant personnel include supply chain, corporate security and those employees working in our international operations.  Awareness among Suncor’s employees ensures that we meet the goals of the Human Rights policy. We are committed to training and communicating our approach to human rights as part of the implementation of this policy.

Unigold Inc.

The company addresses human rights through open communication, local hiring practices, grievance mechanisms, and employment contracts.

U.S. Oil Sands Inc.

Respect is demonstrated through development of sustainable and environmentally responsible oil extraction practices and projects. We start with the engineering and development of sustainable oil recovery, dramatically reducing the impact on the land, air and water.

Other Practices

A company indicated that human rights are addressed through stakeholder engagement, communication programs, and direct employment activities.

A company indicated that it respects individual and community rights at all stages of its different projects. The company makes no distinctions on the basis of gender, race, national origin, religion, age, marital status, education level, disabilities, or personal circumstances. All of the company’s workers have the freedom to approach all levels of management of the company to discuss their rights, and the company states that it will go the further mile to make sure human rights are covered and satisfied at all times.

The following companies indicated that they had adopted programs or policies related to training or engaging with their employees on the subject of human rights, but declined to include further details:

  • Endeavour Silver Corp.
  • Handa Copper Corp.


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