June 7, 2004
Mr. Fraser Reilly-King
153 Chapel Street, Suite 104
Dear Mr. Reilly-King:
This refers to your letter of March 18 regarding a review of Export Development Canada's Disclosure Policy.
The policy contains a provision for review, with public consultations, within three years of implementation. The Disclosure Policy became fully effective May 1, 2002 following the public comment period on disclosure of environmental information related to Category A projects. This date reflects the point at which the policy was fully implemented although its other provisions came into effect October l. 2001.
A number of other factors impinge upon the Disclosure Policy’s content and evolution. EDC is subject to periodic review by the Auditor General of Canada. That review is ongoing and the Auditor General of Canada is expected to table her report before Parliament in September 2004. Her report may have implications for the Disclosure Policy. Moreover, developments such as the OECD Common Approaches on Export Credits and the Environment, revised in fall 2003, similarly contain implications for how EDC discloses information on transactions. Under the new provisions contained in the revised Common Approaches, we now encourage project sponsors to consent to advance disclosure of Category A projects, regardless of monetary value, 30 days prior to EDC's final commitment.
In light of the above developments, we are planning our approach to a review of our Disclosure Policy and the most effective means of organizing public consultations. Your comments are timely as we embark upon this exercise.
With our various reporting vehicles, including our Chief Environmental Advisor's Annual Report for 2002, EDC has made considerable strides in the area of disclosure and we plan to build upon this progress. The illustration provided in your letter of the disclosure practices of the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is certainly one reference point. There are many relevant ones.
Overall, our aim, as previously stated, is to be as transparent as possible, balancing the requirement for public accountability with respect for customer confidentiality.
We will keep you apprised of developments in our plans for review of our Disclosure Policy so that your coalition can effectively participate in the consultations.
A. Ian Gillespie