School of Graduate Studies

Queen's University
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Social Performance Management in the Extractive Industries

Collage of Community relations



“My experience in the GCCR at Queen’s was a real eye opener. I experienced a paradigm shift not only in the way I think about community relations, but also in the way I see relations between people on a fundamental level. By focusing on iissues that are at the centre of the relationship between mining companies and communities, and focusing on one’s own perceptions and how one builds relationship with others, the program prepares professionals to work in an environment that is very different from that of years past. It has personally helped me a great deal in how I engage with community members, and in how I make the business case for community engagement within the organization."

Jonathan Warner, Both Sides Now Consulting 

Program Contact

Anne Johnson
Assistant Professor
The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining,
Goodwin Hall, Room 354,
Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada, K7L 3N6,

Phone: 613.533.2230,

Program Overview

The Queen’s Graduate Diploma in Social Performance Management in the Extractive Industries (SPMEI) replaces the Graduate Certificate in Community Relations (GCCR). The GCCR program ran from 2012 through 2015, when enrollment was closed to allow for program enhancements and movement to a new learning management system.

The SPMEI is a response to current and evolving conditions that shape relationships between industry and communities affected by mineral resource projects (from exploration to extraction and processing to transport). The program name change reflects changes in industry terminology and recognizes that effective community relations occur within a business context.

Exploration, mining, oil and gas companies working in Canada, the US, and abroad face the challenge of building constructive and mutually beneficial working and living relationships with communities affected by their activities and operations. This program is designed to help participants to develop in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the diversity of values and perspectives that meet when a project is proposed, and as importantly, to develop the skills needed to build the trust that is the foundation of resilient and mutually beneficial relationships across cultures.

The program prepares graduates to understand the forces that challenge the development of extractive projects, including growing societal awareness of extractive sector impacts and expectations around sharing of benefits, the particular vulnerabilities of affected rural and indigenous communities, community development challenges in areas of poverty and weak governance, the political-economic realities of different jurisdictions, and the financial, regulatory and technical constraints that bound corporate capacity to structure the delivery of benefit. With an understanding of these concerns and constraints, the program equips graduates to design community relations and benefit sharing strategies that will improve a community’s quality of life, contribute to its capacity for self-determination and long-term resilience, while lessening company exposure to risk. The curriculum has been developed in consultation with community relations and sustainability experts from industry, Aboriginal advisors, as well as leading thinkers and practitioners.


The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining at Queen’s University has established a credentialed pathway for learning and skills development in this difficult and challenging area of work. Industry managers and field practitioners, government representatives and community and civil society advocates will be introduced and sensitized to the complexities associated with building, maintaining and managing these relationships. The course draws on examples of both positive and conflicted company community-government encounters and uses group exercises to explore critical community issues and the competencies required for engaging in responsible mineral resource exploration and development.

Career paths – employment opportunities

The program will be of interest to people working in the field, at project sites, in affected communities - for exploration and mining companies, for government, and for community based organizations.

Further information is forthcoming!