Does your company have projects registered under UN Clean Development Mechanism?
Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights? If so, please provide a link.
- All OPG staff our required to adhere to the company’s Code of Business Conduct which states: the company does not tolerate: “Discrimination or harassment on the grounds prohibited by applicable human rights legislation, or any other harassment; personal harassment, including behaviour that demeans, threatens, or humiliates a person or group of people.”
- OPG requires its suppliers to adhere to a Supplier Code of Conduct which states: “Suppliers must not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the grounds prohibited by applicable human rights legislation, or any other harassment. “
Does your company identify its salient human rights issues and does it have a due diligence process to manage them? If so, please list the issues and describe the due diligence process (key steps include: impact assessment, integrating & acting on findings, tracking responses & communicating how impacts are addressed).
- OPG has an Ombudsman Office, an Ethics/Code of Business conduct, a Code of Business Conduct Policy and governance to support the code. The Senior Vice President, Legal, Ethics and Compliance is accountable for: Ensuring this policy is effectively implemented within OPG; Reporting on the overall effectiveness of this policy to the President and Chief Executive Officer and to the Board and on specific violations of the Code, as required; Providing advice and guidance with respect to the Code; and Ensuring that appropriate action is taken to investigate and address known or suspected violations.
- Most OPG staff are represented by either the Power Workers’ Union or the Society of Energy Professionals. Both have grievance processes for situations where they are not satisfied with action taken by OPG management.
What criteria does your company use to identify communities that may be affected by renewable energy projects it is involved in?
- OPG consults with Indigenous communities based on advice from the Government of Ontario as to which communities we should work with on a project. Such consultations are critical to OPG’s potential projects and ongoing operations as the company is cognizant of the fact that wherever it operates it does so within the traditional territory one or more Indigenous communities. Issues and concerns must be addressed and the potential for economic benefits explored. This process is embedded in the way OPG conducts its business.
- Local municipalities and residents participate in public involvement programs.
- Most projects are subject to Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act which prescribes consultation depending on the impact of the project (size etc.)
How does your company consult with affected communities (on impact assessments, resettlement, benefit sharing plans, etc.)? Please describe what form consultations take and when they are carried out in a project’s cycle.
- OPG consults with the public in many different ways including: public information meetings, council presentations, presentations and meetings with Indigenous communities, web site input etc. As part of the Environmental Assessment process input is documented and considered. For some communities (such as those that host our nuclear generating stations) there are community liaison committees that meet on a regular basis to operations with plant representatives. In hydroelectric communities many of the waterways we operate on have water management plans that are overseen by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Standing advisory committee members comprised of members of the public share information with OPG staff on water management, discussing flows and levels.
- Further, as it pertains to Indigenous communities, OPG maintains ongoing relationships with those affected communities. An example is our work on nuclear projects and operations. There are consultation agreements with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, Metis Nation of Ontario and the Historic Saugeen Metis regarding our waste management facility on the Bruce nuclear site and the proposed deep geological depository (DGR) there. It should be noted that OPG has agreed that it will not locate the DGR at the Bruce site without the consent of Saugeen Ojibway Nation.
Does your company ensure its consultations include the perspectives and respect the rights of all affected community members (including those who may be marginalised for reasons of gender, social status, age, religion, wealth or income or other considerations)? How is this ensured?
- Yes. OPG’s Code of Conduct describes how all OPG activities are to be conducted in compliance with the code which requires respect for all people.
- OPG is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity, and are committed to meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner. We will do so by removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
- As part of Ontario’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation we have developed a Multi Year Accessibility Plan, which outlines our strategy to prevent and remove accessibility barriers from our workplace, and to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities.
- In terms of its relationship with Indigenous people and their communities, it is a matter of OPG board policy that the company acknowledges and affirms the treaty and Aboriginal rights as defined in the Constitution Act 1982, Section 35.
Under what circumstances does your company commit to seeking an affected community’s free, prior & informed consent to a project? Please provide examples of projects where free, prior & informed consent was sought (if applicable).
- A recent, pertinent example is the Lower Mattagami Project which began in 2010 and was completed on time and on budget in partnership with the Moose Cree First Nation. We consulted with local communities and municipalities and reached the Amisk-oo-skow agreement with the Moose Cree First Nation. Under this agreement benefits were realized (in excess of plan) from employment, training and business opportunities during construction. The First Nation will also share in the revenue stream as a partner.
- This is one of four recent partnerships with First Nations. Our most recent is the planned solar power generating station in partnership with Six Nations Development Corp. on the site of our former coal-fired generating plant that will begin construction in 2017. Again, the community will receive a revenue stream for its equity position.
What is your company’s process for obtaining and evaluating free, prior & informed consent?
- We follow prescribed processes (generally covered by environmental laws, regulations) required by Ontario and Canada. We communicate with Indigenous Communities early and often throughout the process. This is achieved by in-person visits, the sharing of reports and ongoing correspondence regarding our projects and ongoing operations proximate to Indigenous communities. In this way OPG honours the Constitutional rights of Indigenous people. Over time, this engagement has also become a catalyst for engagement on potential economic benefits, in line with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released in June 2015.
Has your company faced any challenges in its process to seek free, prior & informed consent for renewable energy projects? If so, please describe what steps your company has taken to overcome these challenges.
- Generally, such challenges centred on Indigenous rights as they pertain to the natural environment, flora and fauna, and the protection of sacred cultural sites. Essentially, Indigenous people have the right to hunt, fish, harvest, practice cultural ceremonies on lands not only set aside as reserve lands but in traditional territories recognized outside of these reserves. There was a time when OPG’s predecessor companies did not take this into account and since the 1990s, OPG has—on its own volition—settled 23 past grievances in order to redress past wrongs and to reconcile with First Nations. This process has allowed OPG the opportunity to partners with Indigenous communities on a commercial basis (see above examples).
What steps does your company take to ensure that its own personnel, private security companies it contracts with, and/or government forces providing security to its projects, respect the rights of workers and community members, including those who may oppose its projects?
- Our Supplier Code of Conduct and Employee Code of Conduct make these requirements of employment and supplying goods and services to OPG.
Does your company have a grievance mechanism in place at each project site for affected communities and workers to raise concerns about local impacts, including human rights abuses? If so, were affected communities involved in the design of the grievance mechanism, including its set-up and the types of remedies it provides?
- OPG’s major project sites for renewable energy are partnerships with First Nation Communities and the contractors have processes in place. OPG has an Indigenous board policy and an Indigenous Relations Division to oversee that this policy is undertaken in conjunction with OPG business units. Engagement with local Indigenous communities open up the lines of communication should a remedy be required regarding an issue. Overall, our plant groups proximate to Indigenous communities maintain an ongoing relationships with their counterparts in order to be proactive and responsive to concerns.