January 13, 2021

Bronwen Tucker, bronwen [at] priceofoil.org

53 organizations call on Export Development Canada to stop backing oil and gas


As Export Development Canada (EDC) undergoes a climate change policy review, 53 civil society organizations sent a letter with a call to action to the federal crown corporation and Minister of Trade Mary Ng.

EDC currently provides oil and gas companies with an average of over CAD 13 billion in support each year. As a result, Canada ranks second highest among G20 countries in total public financing for fossil fuels, and highest on a per-capita basis. From 2016 to 2019, EDC provided over seven times more support for oil and gas than for cleantech projects.

The letter states,  “As EDC works to revise its climate target, we want to be clear that its ongoing support for oil and gas and lack of support for a just transition to a zero-emissions economy are major obstacles to Canada doing its fair share under the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, EDC has supported oil and gas projects that violate human rights, including the right of Indigenous communities to free, prior and informed consent. For instance, in April 2020 EDC approved a loan of up to $500 million for the Coastal GasLink Pipeline in British Columbia, a project opposed by hereditary leaders from all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. Such projects carry systemic financial risks, and leave workers and communities exposed to fallout from an unmanaged decline of the oil and gas sector.”

It continues, “As the world prepares for economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, it is imperative that public financial institutions act decisively to align their operations with the Paris Agreement. Yet while leaders like the World Bank Group, the European Investment Bank and the Swedish export credit agency have taken steps to shift capital away from fossil fuels, EDC is sinking vast sums of financial support into oil and gas, positioning Canada as a climate laggard. It is time for the Government of Canada to step in.”

Oil Change International research analyst Bronwen Tucker added “EDC’s actions are increasingly out of step with its peers. As the UK ends its trade and development finance for fossil fuels, Canada is continuing this finance at a rate 10 times what the UK ever spent. This serves no one’s interests. It puts workers, communities, and the climate at risk instead of starting the rapid and just transition away from oil and gas production that we desperately need.”

The letter made the following calls to action: 

  • Uphold Indigenous rights, including by ensuring that its clients are aligned with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the associated principle of free, prior and informed consent.
  • Build on EDC’s exclusion on coal finance and immediately end all financial support for fossil fuel industries at the project and company level, in Canada and abroad.
  • Rapidly scale up support for sustainable, renewable and equitable climate solutions that respect human rights, including but not limited to renewable energy, energy efficiency, batteries and storage, interconnectors, smart-grid technologies, the electrification of heat and transport and accessible public transit.
  • Adopt a portfolio-wide emissions cap in line with a credible 1.5°C pathway. This must include Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
  • Report in a timely and transparent manner on all transactions, disclosing the type and exact amount of each, as well as the sector and full life-cycle emissions of the activities supported by EDC. This should include a clear indication of which projects are classified as ‘cleantech’ and why.
  • Uphold the six Principles for a Just Recovery in all of its business. This framework seeks to eliminate economic, gender, racial and social inequalities and guide us to a society that prioritizes resilience and wellbeing for all.

The signatories included organizations representing over 2 million people in Canada, and many others around the world: Above Ground, Environmental Defence, Oil Change International, Oxfam Canada, Équiterre, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat Canada, Greenpeace Canada, 350.org, Leadnow, David Suzuki Foundation, Council of Canadians, Amnesty International Canada, Amnistie internationale Canada, Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI), Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment (CANE), Shift: Action for Pension Wealth & Planet Health, Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities, Clean Air Partnership, VedvarendeEnergi, Wildsight, Foundation for Resilient Health, BC Climate Alliance, Dogwood, The Climate Reality Project Canada / Le Projet de la réalité climatique Canada, Citizens for Public Justice, West Kootenay EcoSociety, RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs), Georgia Strait Alliance, Friends of the Earth Canada, Sustainabiliteens, ClimateFast, Environnement Vert Plus, Green 13, GASP (Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet, Regroupement Vigilence Hydrocarbures Québec (RVHQ), Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Green Majority Radio, Just Earth, Global Peace Alliance BC Society, Action Environnement Basses-Laurentides (AEBL), Creating Healthy and Sustainable Environments (CHASE), Vegans & Vegetarians of Alberta, Canadian Engaged Buddhism Association, SFOC (Solutions for Our Climate), Projet Accompagnement Québec-Guatemala, Coalition climat Montréal, GegenStroemung – CounterCurrent, Friends of the Earth United States, Friends of the Earth Japan, Jubilee Australia Research Centre, and Both ENDS.


One Comment

  • Canada has commitments to meet regarding climate change. As a Canadian and a citizen of planet earth, I expect our government to stop financing the fossil fuel industry. We need a just green recovery.

Comments are closed.