03/01/2015 06:14 EST | Updated 05/01/2015 05:59 EDT

Conservatives Appoint New Corporate Social Responsibility Watchdog For Mining Sector

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FILE PHOTO: A machine works at the Suncor Energy Inc. mine in this aerial photograph taken above the Athabasca Oil Sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on Wednesday, June 19, 2014. Oil extended losses below $60 a barrel amid speculation that OPEC's biggest members will defend market share against U.S. shale producers. Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg via Getty Images

TORONTO - The Conservative government has named its new corporate social responsibility counsellor for the mining sector.

It says the watchdog will have a more pro-active approach for dealing with complaints involving Canadian companies.

Longtime industry adviser and engineer Jeffrey Davidson takes on the role after a major overhaul of the government's strategy on responsible resource extraction abroad.

Davidson is a professor at Queen's University, and has worked specifically in the area of community relations and sustainable development for 15 years.

International Trade Minister Ed Fast said Davidson will be looking to prevent, identify and resolve disputes over environmental and human rights issues at their early stages.

Fast said that companies that do not comply with social responsibility guidelines and refuse dispute resolution will see any federal support for their projects withdrawn.

The position of corporate social responsibility counsellor sat vacant for a year, but the office continued to cost the government $181,600 according to information released in January.

The government says staff in the office carried out the duties while the counsellor position was vacant.


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