Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, on Thursday announced the release of Responsible Business Conduct Abroad: Canada’s Strategy for the Future.
The 5-year strategy (2022 to 2027) sets out priorities for the Government of Canada to support Canadian businesses active abroad, assist in the integration of world-leading responsible business practices into their operations, and help mitigate potential risks of doing business abroad, no matter the company’s size, sector, or scope of activities.
While the Government of Canada continues to take a balanced approach to responsible business conduct (RBC), including prevention, access to remedy, and legislation, the new strategy marks a shift toward a preventative, practical, whole-of-government approach. It includes an action plan that includes the development of new digital tools and resources to help Canadian companies strengthen responsible business practices, as well as a monitoring and evaluation framework, and the introduction of the Digital Responsible Business Conduct Attestation for clients of Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service. The strategy focuses on ways to build awareness and champion action in business communities, increase company-led due diligence and accountability, and strengthen the global RBC ecosystem.
The new Responsible Business Conduct Strategy was completed following extensive public consultations and builds on work that the Government of Canada has undertaken since 2009 to lead on the issue, including, most recently, the release of a report on supply chain risks related to forced labour in China’s Xinjiang region.
“The launch of today’s new Responsible Business Conduct Strategy not only fulfills a key commitment by the government to lead on this increasingly important global issue, it will also help even more Canadian businesses be more competitive, at home and abroad, by giving them the tools they need to uphold human rights, lead on sustainability, and show the world what good Canadian business looks like,” Mary Ng said.