In June, International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew announced that he intends to introduce amendments to the Export Development Act this fall to give the Export Development Corporation (EDC) new policies on disclosure and environmental review.
According to the NGO Working Group on the EDC, the proposed changes are good, but not good enough. The longawaited changes will increase EDC's environmental and public accountability; however, the government has failed to use the best tools available - existing legislation which EDC is currently exempted from. EDC is exempted from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Access to Information Act.
The Auditor-General's report released last month found that EDC correctly implemented its own framework in only two of twenty-six projects reviewed. Placing EDC under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) would give the Environment Minister and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency authority to design and oversee implementation of the environmental framework.
Likewise, although the proposed dislosure framework would be a great improvement in transparency and public information, it still falls short of using the Access to Information Act - the common standard among federal government departments and institutions.
MiningWatch Canada is a member of the NGO Working Group on the EDC, and we will continue to be active when this legislation comes before Parliament, urging that all EDC funding (including mining-related, of course) be subject to rigorous environmental assessment and full public disclosure.