In April of this year, the Government of Canada issued a Consultation Paper regarding mandatory reporting standards for extractive industry companies, requiring disclosure of payments to foreign and domestic governments (the proposed reporting standards). In the Consultation Paper, the Government indicated that the proposed standards would apply to payments by extractive industry companies to domestic and foreign governments, including Aboriginal entities. The proposed reporting standards were the subject of a previous Dentons bulletin.
On August 26, 2014, the Minister of Natural Resources, Greg Rickford, reiterated the Government’s intention to implement the proposed reporting standards in the course of the next year, but announced that it had decided to defer by two years the requirement for extractive industry companies to report payments to Aboriginal entities. The reason for the deferral was stated to be to allow time for further consultation with Aboriginal groups regarding the proposed standards.1
The announcement represents a significant modification to the Government’s plans and it remains to be seen whether certain rules are adapted to reflect concerns articulated in the course of an ongoing consultation process with aboriginal groups. However, it should not be forgotten that in all other respects, the Government intends to move forward quickly with the implementation of the proposed reporting standards.
The Government’s stated intention is to have mandatory reporting in place by April 2015, preferably through provincial measures adopted under the auspices of securities legislation. Failing the timely adoption of such provincial measures, the Government of Canada has vowed to adopt federal legislation. To date, no province has yet adopted any relevant measures, or released any proposed measures. It is, therefore, reasonable to expect that federal legislation will indeed be necessary and that a bill will be tabled in Parliament in the coming session.