More than 85 investment firms, academic organizations, and environmental groups from across Canada and around the world are lending their support to a climate-aligned finance bill introduced by Sen. Rosa Galvez (ISG-Quebec) in late March.
Signatories in support of Bill S-243 include [pdf] the Trottier Family Foundation, the Ivey Foundation, The Atmospheric Fund, Investors for Paris Compliance, the City of Montreal, the Vancouver Economic Commission, Corporate Knights, the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec, ActionAid Denmark, the African Coalition for Clean Growth, Banktrack, the Climate Safe Lending Network, the Sustainable Finance Institute, and the Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition, among others.
“The endorsement letter demonstrates a consensus that financial reform is key for Canada to succeed on climate action,” Environmental Defence Canada said in an announcement this week.
Galvez’ Climate-Aligned Finance Act would require federal financial institutions and federally-regulated entities to line up their investment activities with Canada’s climate commitments. It would hold corporate directors, officers, and administrators accountable for meeting those commitments, require the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) to roll climate targets into its supervisory role, and mandate corporate climate action plans and targets with annual progress reports.
“We must face the elephant in the room: our financial system continues to fund activities that fuel climate risk,” Galvez said at the time. “Canadians are asking for legislative solutions that will help accelerate the transition and achieve our targets. The only scenario in which our financial sector will thrive and prosper for generations to come is the one where we pursue a coherent and orderly transition.”
This week, the 89 signatories to the letter of support agreed that Canada’s financial sector “is behind the required pace of climate action,” after “a recent stress test led by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and the Bank of Canada found that Canada’s financial system is exposed to growing probabilities of default, particularly in the fossil fuel sector.”
While “other countries are leapfrogging ahead to regulate climate factors in the financial sector,” the letter added, “many of Canada’s banks, pension funds, and insurers continue to worsen the effects of climate change. Voluntary initiatives are not meeting the required level of ambition. We need federal legislation to spur action.”
Galvez welcomed the support in a release of her own. “We need all the help we can get to transition efficiently; that means equipping the financial sector with the necessary tools,” she said. “The widespread support for the Climate-Aligned Finance Act demonstrates that this would be a necessary piece in our climate action toolbox.”