Press Release - Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Coalition of NGOs Welcomes Auditor General's Report on the Export Development Corporation’s Environmental Review Framework --Calls for EDC’s exemption from the Calls for EDC’s exemption from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to be removed.
Ottawa, May 15, 2001 – Despite the adoption of environmental procedures in April 1999, EDC continued to finance high-risk projects with negative impacts on the environment, shows a report released by the Office of the Auditor-General. This report concluded that the EDC’s environmental review framework has gaps in its design nor is it operating efficiently. A broad-based coalition of Canadian NGOs calls on the government to bring the EDC under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act”.
Since 1998, when the legislative review of the EDC began, the government has heard evidence that the EDC is failing to uphold Canada’s commitments on the environment. It is time to regulate the Export Development Corporation under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act”, says Émilie Revil, Coordinator of the NGO Working Group on the Export Development Corporation.
Key points from the Report on the EDC’s framework include:
-Of the 25 projects identified by the Auditor General’s Office, all of them were in high risk sectors or had red flag issues.
-Only 2 of 25 projects complied with all key elements of the Framework.
-The Framework is not credible as it lacks public consultation and disclosure elements.
-Lack of clarity in the Framework’s objective, coverage, choice of standards and decision to support.
“The gap exposed between rhetoric and reality is one that effects thousands of people’s lives, whole ecosystems and Canada’s reputation abroad. This gap must be closed – effectively and quickly”, says Pamela Foster, Coordinator of the Halifax Initiative Coalition, which hosts the Working Group. “The only way to do this is through CEAA”.
This report confirms the NGO Working Group on the Export Development Corporation’s position that the EDC’s voluntary environmental framework, adopted in April 1999, is not adequate. The Working Group urges the government to ensure the EDC is required by law to respect international environmental and social standards abroad.
“Canada has to show leadership to ensure that the highest standards apply to trade-financing or we are contributing to the worst aspects of globalization – the driving down of labour, human rights and environment standards”, says Pierre Laliberté, senior economist, Canadian Labour Congress.
Yesterday, the NGO Working Group released a new document entitled “Reckless Lending – How Canada’s Export Development Corporation Puts People and the Environment at Risk”, volume 2, builds on evidence of poor social, environmental and human rights assessment procedures used by the EDC found in volume 1, released in 2000. The report demonstrates that Canada’s Export Development Corporation is an accessory to some projects with severe negative environmental and social consequences.
In March, 2001 the NGO Working Group released a report “EDC and Environmental Assessment – The Shock of the Possible” which makes the case for CEAA to be applied to the EDC. Not only does the Act require public participation in the environmental assessment process but it would increase ministerial oversight and accountability.
For more information, please contact:
Émilie Revil, NGO Working Group on the Export Development Corporation
tel. (613) 789-4447 cell. (613) 266-8100 email: