Karen Hamilton, program officer
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Media Coverage

Canadian firms operate in China’s Xinjiang region

Globe and Mail | January 18, 2021

Investments by Canadian companies in energy and mining projects have made Canada one of the top five foreign investors in Xinjiang, where many industrial facilities exploit the forced labour of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. At least one has reportedly contracted with a supplier known to use "surplus labourers" in the region.

Canadian oil company stops operations in Peru after deadly Indigenous protests

Radio Canada International | August 10, 2020

Canadian company PetroTal says it has shut down work at its Bretana oil field in the Peruvian Amazon after three indigenous people were killed in a clash with police while protesting the company's operations. The police were called in at the company's request, according to PetroTal, after protests broke out at another oil drilling site in the region.

EDC backing will add to Canada’s fossil industry bailout, watchdog groups warn

The Energy Mix | July 22, 2020

“Routing public financing through an 'opaque Crown corporation with minimal government oversight' is not the way to be accountable for the way pandemic recovery funds are spent—or for the proportion of that money going to fossil fuel bailouts, three leading advocacy groups argue in a backgrounder.”

Export bank’s work lacks transparency: report

Winnipeg Free Press | July 22, 2020

“Environmental Defence, Oil Change International, and Above Ground ... released a report Wednesday highlighting the lack of transparency in how the publicly backed EDC evaluates climate risk associated with loans to companies, and how continued investment in oil and gas runs contrary to the country’s emissions reductions targets.”

Ottawa orders Export Development Canada to examine lending practices

The Globe and Mail | September 26, 2019

The government has directed Export Development Canada to more carefully consider the human rights impacts of its business decisions. The Globe notes that human rights and environmental groups like Above Ground have long called for greater federal oversight of EDC.

Conducta empresarial responsable: activistas acusan a Trudeau de traición

Radio Canadá Internacional | August 20, 2019

In this Spanish-language radio interview, our director Karyn Keenan explains how government backtracking on a key corporate accountability measure led to the mass resignation of Above Ground and 13 other civil society organizations from a federal advisory body.

Environment Canada urged to release its probe of fossil fuel subsidies

National Observer | June 19, 2019

Above Ground is calling on the federal government to publish the full results of its fossil fuel subsidies review. "I think it’s important for the public to know how much money Canadians are providing in support to fossil fuel companies,” states program officer Karen Hamilton.

Rules for new corporate ombud criticized for deferring to companies

Canadian Press | June 10, 2019

Human rights groups accuse the government of backtracking after Ottawa outlines the mandate and powers of Canada’s new corporate accountability watchdog. Above Ground’s director Karyn Keeenan says “the government has weakened the office in response to pressure from industry.”

New EDC human-rights policy lacks power, say workers and watchdogs

Canadian Press | May 1, 2019

Advocacy groups respond to Export Development Canada’s new human rights policy. Above Ground program officer Karen Hamilton says the policy reflects the agency’s lack of influence over its clients’ behaviour, stating, “If we want to see change, it has to be legislated.”

SNC-Lavalin received billions in support from federal export agency

The Globe and Mail | February 15, 2019

SNC-Lavalin received at least $800 million in loans from Export Development Canada after news broke of an RCMP investigation into alleged corruption at the firm. Above Ground’s director calls for legislative controls to limit EDC’s discretion in supporting companies accused of malfeasance.

Trade Minister Jim Carr says EDC must learn from past business ‘mistakes’

The Globe and Mail | September 15, 2018

Canada’s trade minister has directed Export Development Canada to strengthen its human rights and anti-corruption policies. Above Ground’s director says Ottawa must go further and impose strong legislative controls to prevent its export bank from engaging in harmful practices.

Inside one of Canada’s most secretive agencies

Walrus Magazine | December 19, 2017

Export Development Canada’s deal with South Africa’s controversial Gupta family “serves as an example of how EDC can inhabit a grey zone between facilitating Canadian businesses and financing corruption.”

Federally backed mine accused of human rights abuses

The Tyee | December 12, 2017

Canadian miner Kinross Gold violated local residents’ rights when it expanded its Brazilian mine, reveals a report by Above Ground, prompting calls for Ottawa to suspend its financial support for the company.

Bringing justice home: NGOs and miners still at odds

iPolitics | September 30, 2017

iPolitics sums up commentary on Canada’s human rights responsibilities vis-a-vis its mining firms from former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie and other speakers at Above Ground’s symposium.

EDC’s backing of Bombardier jet sale calls secrecy policies into question

The Globe and Mail | August 4, 2017

A Canadian government loan to a controversial South African business family raises questions about client screening standards at Export Development Canada. “EDC refuses to provide detailed information about its review process,” notes Above Ground director Karyn Keenan.

Canada and the Looting of ‘Africa’s Last Colony’

The Tyee | June 22, 2017

PotashCorp and Agrium have come under fire for the human rights implications of buying phosphate from Western Sahara. Both firms enjoy financial support from Canada’s public pension plan and public export bank.