Mr. Speaker, in response to parts (a) to (d), the “2018 Export Development Canada Legislative Review” report was tabled in Parliament on June 20, 2019. The report has not yet been reviewed by a parliamentary committee. However, Export Development Canada, EDC, and the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade have taken measures that address the key findings of the report.
EDC has developed an ambitious new human rights policy built on the United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights. With this policy, EDC became the first Canadian commercial banking institution to release a dedicated human rights policy. The policy commits EDC to conduct transaction-related human rights due diligence taking a risk-based approach; use its leverage to influence customers’ practice and enable remediation for human rights impacts; communicate with stakeholders in good faith; track and report human rights procedures, practices and performance; and use its influence to encourage stronger human rights practices from peers and customers.
To build on this approach, in 2021, the minister asked EDC to enhance its activities with respect to disclosure standards, responsible business conduct and corporate social responsibility in her annual statement of accountabilities, SPA, letter to the chair of Export Development Canada. The minister specifically requested EDC to strengthen its accessibility of information for stakeholders and Canadians and continue to model its human rights policy on industry-accepted best practices and collaborate with corporate social responsibility, CSR, leaders. EDC is committed to upholding rigorous standards of responsible business conduct, RBC, and using its influence to promote RBC within the business community.
EDC has been equally active in strengthening its policies and activities with respect to climate change. In its new 2019 climate change policy, EDC committed to fully end its support to coal and coal-related sectors; measure, monitor, and set targets to reducing the carbon intensity of its lending portfolio; increase transparency around climate-related risks and opportunities, including fully implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, TCFD; and integrate climate-related considerations, such as carbon intensity, into its risk assessment process.
Since the adoption of this policy, EDC set a carbon target to reduce support to carbon-intensive industries by 15% of 2018 levels by 2023. EDC met this target two years early and is currently working to establish a new and more ambitious target. At the same time, EDC has emerged as Canada’s largest financier of the clean technology sector, providing $4.55 billion of support to Canada’s clean technology sector in 2020.
As with human rights, climate change issues have been a ministerial priority, as indicated in the SPA letter guidance to the chair of EDC’s board of directors. Specifically, in 2021, the minister has asked that EDC scale up and report on its climate change solutions; update its climate change policy to further align investments across its portfolio with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement; end its financial support to international transactions in the oil and gas sector involving foreign companies; and fully consider and evaluate greenhouse gas emissions and climate change considerations as a key aspect of its transaction due diligence.
In addition to responding to the findings of the legislative review, the government continues to develop policies to strengthen EDC’s support of Canadian exporters while upholding Canadian values and human rights. Budget 2021 announced the government’s intention to work with Export Development Canada to enhance supports to small and medium-sized exporters and to strengthen human rights considerations in export supports. The government may propose amendments to the Export Development Act.