Corporate Responsibility Campaign

Advocating stronger, more effectively enforced corporate responsibility laws

Key Links

Corporate Responsibility Campaign 1993-2011 archive (archive website)

The Opportunity

There are many key corporate responsibility measures that are under ongoing review by the Canadian federal government.  No matter what issue or problem concerns you, strengthening the federal corporate responsibility systems will help you win the changes and solutions you are pushing for.

The federal Canada Business Corporations Act, under which 155,000 of Canada’s largest corporations operate (including half of the largest 500 corporations), is under an ongoing review by the federal government.

Now is a key time to send a strong message to the leaders of all the federal political parties that you are fed up with the dishonest, unethical, secretive, unrepresentative, and wasteful actions of corporate executives and you want key changes to make everyone involved in Canada’s large corporations act honestly, ethically, openly, responsibly and to prevent waste.

On corporate honesty, ethics, openness, responsibility and waste prevention reforms, the federal government has not heard from citizens or citizen groups enough to counter the power of corporate lobby groups.  It is important that you let the government know that you want significant corporate responsibility reforms.

Canada’s biggest corporations spend more than $25 billion annually on their lobbying and promotion efforts (advertising etc.), including on about 10,000 full-time lobbyists across the country.  In contrast, there are only about 500 full-time citizen group lobbyists, and citizen groups spend only about $50 million annually on lobbying and promotion.  As a result, Canadians must all work together and push hard if there is any hope to counter the corporate lobby and win key corporate responsibility changes.

Democracy Watch and the nation-wide Corporate Responsibility Coalition that it coordinates, made up of 32 citizen groups from across Canada with a combined total membership of more than 3 million Canadians, are leading the push for key corporate responsibility reforms in Canada.

Background

No matter what issue or problem in Canada concerns you, making the largest corporations and banks in Canada more responsible and accountable will help win the changes and solutions you are seeking.

A total of 155,000 corporations and 40 banks that the federal government regulates are not effectively required to act honestly, ethically, openly, responsibly or to prevent waste.

Incredibly, the laws and enforcement of parking a car illegally are stronger than most corporate responsibility and bank accountability laws and enforcement systems in Canada, and in some cases the penalties for parking illegally are higher than for corporate executives who act dishonestly, unethically, secretively, irresponsibly or wastefully!

No federal political party has focused on Canada’s corporate responsibility system in the past 140 years.  Most recently, the federal Liberals had majority power from November 1993 to June 2004, and then after the June 2004 election controlled a minority of seats in Parliament, and then the federal Conservatives have controlled a minority of seats in Parliament since the January 2006 election until they won a majority in the spring 2011 election.

The federal Liberals did not do nearly enough between 1993 and 2004 to ensure that Canada’s largest corporations and banks are effectively required to act honestly, ethically, openly, representatively or to prevent waste, and the federal Conservatives have also not done enough since January 2006.

In fact, the federal Conservatives used the public’s money through the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation to bail out Canada’s big banks by buying $70 billion of home mortgages from the banks, and also used the Bank of Canada and other subsidy programs to help the banks, for a total of almost $200 billion in subsidies in 2009 — yet they did not require anything from the banks in return.

And while the federal New Democratic Party (NDP), the Bloc Québecois Party, and the Green Party have focused more than the Liberals and Conservatives on strengthening the federal corporate responsibility and bank accountability systems, they have also not made these changes a top priority issue.

Canada’s largest 1,000 corporations spend more than $25 billion annually on their lobbying and promotion efforts (advertising etc.), including on about 10,000 full-time lobbyists across the country.  In contrast, there are only about 500 full-time citizen group lobbyists, and citizen groups spend only about $50 million annually on lobbying and promotion.  As a result, Canadians must all work together and push hard if there is any hope to counter the corporate lobby and win key corporate responsibility changes.