The federal government has introduced legislation requiring energy and mining companies to report all revenue paid to foreign and domestic governments, but is delaying its impact on corporate payments made to First Nations for two years to allow for consultation.
The long promised legislation was part of an omnibus bill introduced Thursday, and will impose fines for companies that fail to report payments exceeding $100,000.
It will cover all publicly traded companies and privately held ones that meet two of three conditions of having at least $20-million in assets, $40-million in revenue and 250 employees.
"Canada is recognized as a world leader in promoting transparency and accountability in the extractive sector both at home and around the world," said Chris McCluskey, director of communications for Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford. "We are enhancing this reputation with our G7 allies by establishing new mandatory transparency standards for extractive companies' payments to all levels of government."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to pursue the so-called "publish what you pay" initiatives at a G20 meeting in the United Kingdom in 2013. Some industry groups had urged the provincial securities commissions to take the lead on the effort in order to be consistent with similar rules in the United States and the European Union.
The Canadian mining industry, in particular, worked with non-governmental organizations to encourage the adoption of mandatory reporting rules, arguing their efforts will receive greater social licence if citizens can clearly see the contributions companies make to local governments.
The international effort aims to curb corruption in the developing world, where multinational companies often operate amid poor accountability rules and little transparency for the taxes, fees and royalties they pay to governments.
The British government released its proposed legislation this summer, while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is redrafting its regulations after losing a court challenge by the oil industry.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says it supports the principle of transparency but has had concerns about how it may be implemented.