€55bn investor group presses Canadian government on extractives

Canada urged to sign up to industry transparency initiative

A group of Canadian investors and other institutions with combined assets of C$73.9bn (€54.8bn) have called on their government to sign up to the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) – and strengthen the disclosure requirements of payments by extractives companies.

“As investment institutions with exposure to mining and oil and gas companies, we believe that transparency on payments by extractive industry to host governments is an important contributor to good governance and sustainable development,” the group said in a statement.

And they urged the country to implement the EITI, the voluntary, international disclosure framework.

The statement was led by Francois Meloche, Extra Financial Risk Manager at Bâtirente and Michelle de Cordova, Manager, Public Policy & Research at NEI Investments.

It was endorsed by 17 institutions, including the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), Vancity Investment Management, SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research and Education), Groupe Investissment Responsable (GIR) and Sustainalytics.The signatories argue that while the extractives industries can support economic development and poverty reduction – without transparency, accountability and good governance, they may “exacerbate poverty, corruption, and conflict” in resource-rich countries.

The Canadian government has said it won’t implement the EITI, arguing it is a development initiative and that its own regulations already set a higher standard. But the investors said the EITI is becoming increasingly relevant to developed countries. They pointed to the fact that Norway is implementing the EITI and that the US has said it would commit to it. In October, resource-rich Australia announced an EITI pilot.

“We believe that implementing EITI would enhance Canada’s role within the initiative,” the statement added.

Specifically, the group is calling for new rules to force firms to disclose detailed payments information on a country-by-country basis. The information needs to be presented “in a form that is accessible and understandable” by wider stakeholders.

The TSX and TSX Venture exchanges in Toronto are home to more mining and oil & gas companies than any other exchange, with more than 1500 mining companies alone. French version of statement