April 17, 2020

Bronwen Tucker, bronwen [at]
Alex Doukas, alex [at]

Oil Change International response to Canada’s oil and gas bailout announcement

This morning, the Government of Canada announced $1.7 billion to clean up abandoned wells and $750 million to help companies meet methane emissions regulations.

In response, Bronwen Tucker, Edmonton-based research analyst at Oil Change International, released the following statement: 

“Since Trudeau first floated the possibility of an oil and gas bailout, people from coast to coast to coast have made it clear the government should bail out workers, communities, and the climate — not oil and gas executives. That today’s announcement does not include most of the industry’s wish list is credit to this massive public outcry. However, we still need details from Trudeau on how this $2.45 billion will be managed, and what conditions are attached to ensure it doesn’t simply pad oil company profits and maintain a broken regulatory system that leaves the public to shoulder these cleanup costs.” 

“It should not be lost that the changes to Export Development Canada (EDC) announced in March could already amount to a multi-billion bailout for the oil and gas sector — one with very little public oversight. In ‘normal’ times EDC was funneling over $13 billion a year to oil and gas, making Canada second-worst in the G20 for public fossil fuel finance. With a now-unchecked amount of public finance flowing through EDC, we will be watching to ensure its support for the sector doesn’t grow, but shrinks.” 

“In this moment of crisis, we need to see the federal government speed up its long-promised Just Transition Act with robust protections for workers, Indigenous rights, communities, and the climate instead of further tying our future to a sunsetting and volatile commodity.”


Notes to Editors: 

  • The Alberta Liabilities Disclosure Project has laid out detailed conditions for any federal money for orphan and inactive well reclamation here
  • For more background on the changes to the Export Development Act see OCI’s press statement from last month.
  • For more background on Export Development Canada’s overall role and the make-or-break role public finance plays for oil and gas projects see this 2017 OCI report. EDC is the institution being used to pay for the federal buyout of the TMX pipeline and are considering support for the Coastal GasLink pipeline as well.
  • EDC provided an average of $11.1 billion a year in financing for oil and gas 2017-2019, not including the government-directed purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline through EDC’s Canada Account. Because of EDC’s support to oil and gas, Canada is the second-largest provider of public finance for fossil fuels in the G20 after China. Between 2012 and 2017, EDC provided twelve times more support for oil and gas than for clean technologies. (Source: EDC sub-sector reporting, OCI Risking It All report, and Canada Development Investment Corporation financial statements).

One Comment

  • Thanks for the work you do. I wasn’t aware of the extend to which the EDC was subsidizing this industry. I want to see funding cut altogether, but can’t any further funding be conditional on the industry cleaning up after itself in a timely manner? Failure to regulate this amounts to another humongous subsidy to the industry!

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