CSA Lobbies Industry Canada for Protection from the Public
May 28th, 2013
The Canadian Standards Association (“CSA”) has been discovered lobbying Industry Canada in order to reduce CSA accountability in Canada’s judicial system. Contained in the 12-Month Lobbying Summary of the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada, CSA is on record has having communication with Industry Canada on the subject of “additional limited protections from civil proceedings for Canadian standards development organizations and people acting on their behalf in the course of the performance of standards development functions.”
The notion of “protection from civil proceedings” is a degree of immunity from legal accountability. That is, with increased “protection” from the public, if CSA did something wrong they would be even less accountable for it than they are right now.
The rights of CSA cannot be increased without decreasing the rights of the Canadian public. By “protecting” CSA from the public, government would be reducing the right of the public to hold CSA accountable for actions against the public. The rights of the public would be reduced in order to increase the immunity of CSA.
The CSA organization currently benefits from the ambiguity of its status as a federally chartered entity while simultaneously registered as a private entity. As a result, law enforcement agencies such as the RCMP are unable to investigate questionable dealings at CSA as though it were a private company because CSA is a branch of the federal government, reporting to the Minister of Industry. Yet a government body such as Industry Canada’s Competition Bureau is unable to investigate CSA because its mandate is conflicts between private companies. In practice then, because the status of CSA as either a commercial or a regulatory entity remains unclear, the CSA organization enjoys very little accountability for anything it does. Actually decreasing CSA’s already negligible accountability doesn’t seem like a very good idea.