Two of Canada’s biggest public pension plans could lead the way toward a global transition to a greener, more sustainable economy, but their commitments to climate action may be more talk than walk. The Canada Pension Plan and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec say they are serious about tackling climate change, however they continue to bank on fossil fuels, this Corporate Mapping Project report shows.

The Canada Pension Plan has increased its shares in fossil fuel companies since Canada signed the Paris Agreement in 2016 and while the Quebec plan has slightly decreased its fossil fuel shares in the same period, it has over 52 per cent more fossil fuel shares than the Canada Pension Plan. The investment patterns of both plans do not reflect the urgent action needed to address the scale of the climate crisis. Both are heavily invested in member companies of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which has a history of obstructing the necessary transition away from fossil fuels required for Canada to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

The authors question why the fund managers of these public pension plans are investing in companies that are actively derailing necessary climate action. The report includes recommendations for Canadian public pension fund trustees and investment boards and for the federal and provincial governments regarding how Canadians’ pension funds should be invested.

Read the report.

Read the news release.

Read the commentary.

Author: Jessica Dempsey, James Rowe, Katie Reeder, Jack Vincent and Zoë Yunker

Jessica Dempsey is a University of BC geography professor.
James K. Rowe is a University of Victoria environmental studies professor.
Katie Reeder researches how various levels of government have facilitated historical and contemporary energy transitions in Alberta and the Pacific Northwest.
Jack Vincent is a Masters student at Bocconi University, Milan, Italy.
Zoë Yunker is a University of BC Graduate School of Journalism student.