Review of the Export Development Act - Presentation to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade

This presentation outlines a number of examples that demonstrate a number of problems with Export Development Canada's involvement with the mining sector, expecially in light of ​the growth and influence of the Canadian mining industry:

  • the need for accountability and transparency;
  • the need for environmental assessment of projects;
  • the need for social and cultural assessment of projects;
  • the need for human rights assessment of projects; and
  • the need to evaluate and monitor performance.

Summary of Recommendations:

  • We support the recommendations of the Export Development Corporation Working Group.
  • We agree with the Gowlings report recommendations that would require EDC to disclose the name of the borrower, country, name of exporter, amount and type of financial support, term and a brief description of the goods, services and project involved. We believe that such information should be available for public comment at the proposal stage.
  • EDC should be placed under the Access to Information Act. It is our view that this basic requirement for public accountability and transparency is so basic, that if it is not met, the EDC should not exist at all.
  • We support the critique of the EDC Environmental Framework done by the EDC Working Group, and the recommendations of that body to make EDC more environmentally responsible.
  • At present there is no social assessment required before EDC support is given to a project. We recommend that social and cultural assessment be a part of the environmental review.
  • Assessment of mining projects must include assurance that appropriate security is in place to cover the costs of any accident and any reclamation and/or compensation at mine closure.
  • The EDC should fall under CEAA and report to the Commissioner for Sustainable Development and the Environment. Even in Canada there is a serious critique of the scope and effectiveness of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. With many other groups, MiningWatch Canada takes the position that CEAA should be strengthened, especially in the areas of assessment of cumulative effects, requirements for monitoring and closure plans. We also believe that CEAA decisions should be binding on the parties.
  • We support the recommendations of the EDC Working Group in regard to Human Rights.