Press Release - Sunday, March 31, 2002

Canada behind leaders in Export Credit Agency reform EDC continues to operate in secret
For immediate release.
Ottawa, March 31, 2002. Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada's export credit agency, released environmental and disclosure practices yesterday that fall far behind the leaders in export credit agency reform.
EDC will not require project sponsors to release environmental impact information to the public, instead claiming that it will encourage sponsors to voluntarily disclose this information.
This new EDC policy is a step backwards from its disclosure policy released in December 2001, where it is stated that EDC \will require significant project sponsors to make environmental assessment information available to the public at least 45 days prior to the signing of the EDC transaction\. In her report of May 2001, the Auditor General Sheila Fraser stated that "public consultation and disclosure of environmental information are essential elements of a credible environmental review process".
"Unless advance disclosure of environmental impact information is made obligatory for all potential project sponsors, members of the Canadian public and affected communities will continue to be left in the dark about the activities of this publicly-owned financial institution", says Melanie Quevillon, Coordinator of the NGO Working Group on Export Development Canada, a working group of the Halifax Initiative Coalition.
Instead of taking the leadership in export credit agency reform, EDC falls far behind. Their environmental and disclosure policies fall short in comparison to its American, Australian, and Japanese counterparts, who all require environmental and social information to be disclosed 45-60 days prior to a decision is taken for project support.
Export credit agencies are collectively the largest sources of public financial support for foreign corporate investment in industrial projects in the developing world, and often fund projects that have huge social and environmental impacts.
EDC continues to be a crown corporation that has no accountability to the public. Most of its activities are still kept secret from Canadian taxpayers.
For further information, contact:
Melanie Quevillon at the Halifax Initiative Coalition, 613-789-4447
Pamela Foster at the Halifax Initiative Coalition, 613-266-8100.