12 November 2018

A protest against the Ituango hydro dam being developed by EDC client Empresas Públicas de Medellín. The dam nearly ruptured this spring, forcing the evacuation of 25,000 people. Photo by Agencia Prensa Rural.

A protest against the Ituango hydro dam being developed by a client of EDC. The dam nearly ruptured this spring, forcing the evacuation of 25,000 people. Photo by Agencia Prensa Rural.

Canada’s Export Development Act is under review. In this submission to the government, Above Ground and other civil society groups call for legal reforms to bolster the accountability and transparency of Export Development Canada (EDC).

EDC’s policies state that it screens and monitors the business it supports for associated social, environmental and business ethics risks. Yet over the years we have identified multiple companies that receive support from EDC despite credible or proven allegations involving environmental damage, corruption and human rights violations.

Canadian law grants the agency broad discretion to handle these risks as it sees fit. The Export Development Act is silent on human rights and corruption, and does not provide meaningful oversight relating to the environment. Nor does it subject the agency to effective accountability measures in relation to these matters.

In this submission we urge Parliament to adopt legislative reforms that include prohibiting EDC from supporting firms involved in wrongdoing, subjecting it to judicial oversight and expanding the Auditor General’s mandate regarding EDC.

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The recommendations made in this submission are endorsed by the following organizations:

  • Amnesty International Canada
  • Association québécoise des organismes de cooperation internationale
  • British Columbia Teachers’ Federation
  • Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability
  • Committee for Human Rights in Latin America
  • Friends of the Earth Canada
  • Inter Pares
  • Maquila Solidarity Network
  • Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
  • MiningWatch Canada
  • Oxfam Canada
  • Projet accompagnement Québec-Guatemala
  • Publish What You Pay Canada
  • Social Justice Connection
  • United Church of Canada
  • United Steelworkers

We have also made a second submission calling for reforms to address the climate impacts of business supported by EDC.

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