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Questions remain over Canada’s phase-out of overseas fossil fuel finance

On December 8, the Government of Canada released its long-awaited policy guidelines for implementing the Glasgow Statement signed at the 2021 UN climate conference (COP26). The statement, signed by dozens of countries and public finance institutions, commits the signatories to ending direct public financing for the “international unabated fossil fuel energy sector” by the end of 2022.

Protesters gather outside of EDC’s headquarters in Ottawa to call for an end to the agency’s financing of fossil fuels. Photo credit: Environmental Defence Canada

Above Ground greeted the release of the guidelines with cautious optimism. We applaud the apparent breadth of the activities that fall under the scope of the policy, as well as the robustness of the conditions under which exemptions may be granted. We remain concerned, however, about ambiguities in the text that may lend to varying interpretations regarding the potential for Canada’s export bank, Export Development Canada, to continue financing fossil fuel development overseas.

We wrote to EDC President and CEO Mairead Lavery on January 23 to seek clarification regarding the federal agency’s application of the government’s Guidelines for Canada’s International Support for the Clean Energy Transition.

We wrote a second letter to International Trade Minister Mary Ng to seek clarification about the government’s application of two particularly concerning exemptions contained in the guidelines, namely for “national security” and “humanitarian and emergency response.” Neither are clearly defined, and neither would be subject to the robust exemption conditions referenced above.

  • Read the letter to EDC President and CEO Mairead Lavery
  • Read the letter to International Trade Minister Mary Ng
  • Learn more about Canada’s public finance of fossil fuels