The Export Development Act, which came into force in 1969, established Export Development Canada and continues to govern its operations. Section 25 of the statute mandates a review, every ten years, of the legislation’s provisions and its operation. No later than one year following the commencement of the review, the designated Minister must submit a report to Parliament, which is considered in committee.
This submission to the review, prepared by the Halifax Initiative, focuses on the environmental, social and human rights standards utilized by EDC when it assesses client proposals. The submission also examines the legislative provisions governing disclosure by the Crown corporation.
The Halifax Initiative argues that in several important areas, the standards that EDC employs to assess project acceptability fall significantly short of international “best practice.” Moreover, Export Development Canada lacks an explicit, comprehensive policy on human rights. Virtually no information is available to the public regarding EDC decision-making processes. Recent legislative reform that brought EDC within the purview of the Access to Information Act has not remedied this problem.
These findings are worrisome given that EDC continues to receive requests to support projects that have the potential to generate adverse social, human rights and environmental impacts. The Halifax Initiative submission calls for amendments to the Export Development Act that address these serious shortcomings.
To access the submission, click here.