Oxfam welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement today that Canada will require mandatory disclosure of payments to governments by mining, oil and gas companies. Such transparency is essential if citizens in developing countries are to hold their governments accountable for investing that revenue in fighting poverty.
“We are very pleased that Prime Minister Harper has committed Canada to require extractive companies to report on their payments to governments,” said Mark Fried, Oxfam Canada policy director. “We urge the federal government to work quickly with the provinces to ensure that the information is readily available to citizens in Africa, Latin America and Asia.”
Industry and civil society groups say that mandatory reporting can best be achieved through provincial securities regulations and the federal government can lead the provinces to act together.
Canada’s announcement helps build momentum for the G8 summit next week where transparency is a priority. Oxfam seeks a public commitment from all G8 countries to adopt mandatory disclosure requirements country by country and project by project in the oil, gas and mining sectors.
The United States and the European Union are instituting disclosure requirements. The Canadian government’s commitment is vital as Canada is home to the majority of mining companies in the world.
The taxes, royalties and other payments that poor countries receive from extractive industries should be invested in economic and social development, Oxfam says. Mandatory reporting should help ensure that the public in developing countries has the information to hold government to account.
“We hope Canada will also embrace two other transparency proposals on the G8 table regarding land grabs and tax dodging,” Fried said.
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