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Public financing of oil & gas mustn’t be overlooked in fossil fuel subsidies review

In this letter, we urge Canada’s environment minister to ensure that financing provided to oil and gas companies by Export Development Canada (EDC) is included in the government’s review of non-tax fossil fuel subsidies.

The review relates to Canada’s G20 commitment, made in 2009, to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. Environment and Climate Change Canada has established a working group to identify and analyze federal non-tax measures that qualify as inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and aims to have results by spring 2018.

As we argue here, the billions of dollars in support EDC provides to the oil and gas sector every year must not be left out of the equation as the government works to phase out subsidies that contribute to climate change.

Honourable Catherine McKenna, M.P.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
200 Sacré-Coeur Boulevard, Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3

November 14, 2017

Dear Minister McKenna,

I’m writing to encourage Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to include in its review of Canada’s non-tax fossil fuel subsidies all forms of support provided to oil and gas companies by Export Development Canada (EDC).

EDC’s financing of oil and gas companies between 2013 and 2015 puts Canada among the top four export credit agency financiers of fossil fuels in the G20.[1] In 2016, EDC provided nearly $12 billion in public financing to oil and gas companies,[2] and during the first six months of 2017 it provided an additional $4.9 billion to oil and gas companies.[3]

If ECCC is serious about ensuring Canada’s fulfillment of its G20 commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and achieving the underlying goal of fighting climate change, it is imperative that it consider EDC’s massive level of support for the oil and gas sector.

Minister McKenna, we look forward to your reply regarding the inclusion of EDC financing in ECCC’s identification and analysis of federal non-tax fossil fuel subsidies.


Karen Hamilton
Program Officer
Above Ground

c.c. Michael Ferguson, Auditor General of Canada

March 2018 update:

We have received confirmation from Canada’s trade minister that “EDC has been included as a part of this review,” which is expected to conclude by the end of the spring, in this letter dated March 12.

[1] See Oil Change International, Friends of the Earth U.S., the Sierra Club and WWF European Policy Office, Talk is Cheap: How G20 Governments are Financing Climate Disaster (2017), at www.priceofoil.org/content/uploads/2017/07/talk_is_cheap_G20_report_July2017.pdf, p. 16.

[2] See EDC, Canadian Industry Sub-sector 2016, at www.edc.ca/EN/About-Us/Disclosure/Reporting-on-Transactions/Pages/industry-sub-sector-2016.aspx.

[3] See EDC, Canadian Industry Sub-sector 2017, at www.edc.ca/EN/About-Us/Disclosure/Reporting-on-Transactions/Pages/industry-sub-sector-2017.aspx.