PRI publishes recommendations for market-wide ESG adoption in Canada

LONDON, 17 January 2017

The PRI, UNEP FI and The Generation Foundation have launched the Canada roadmap for fiduciary duty, also available in French.

The roadmap is the culmination of extensive consultation with regulators, investors, policymakers and attorneys across Canada. It makes a series of recommendations to enable the market-wide adoption of ESG integration. The recommendations address the following core areas: corporate reporting, shareholder engagement, investor education and regulatory change.

ESG integration and increased expectations for shareholder engagement are emerging as fundamental features of prudent investment practice across mature markets. Ontario's adoption of ESG disclosure in January 2016 is reflected in regulation and guidance in other markets such as the UK and the EU. The roadmap seeks to leverage these international examples to reinforce local initiatives, in addition to highlighting some of the advanced ESG practices that Canadian asset owners have adopted and the many successes of Canada’s well-established responsible investment industry.

“With the launch of its Fiduciary Duty Roadmap for Canada, PRI, UNEP FI and The Generation Foundation have made an important contribution to creating a ‘Tipping Point’ towards the adoption of a fairer, more productive form of capitalism in Canada and elsewhere for the benefit of all.” 

Keith Ambachtsheer , Director Emeritus, International Centre for Pension Management, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

“RBC Global Asset Management applauds the PRI, UNEP FI and The Generation Foundation for highlighting the connection between ESG integration and fiduciary duty in markets like Canada where fiduciary duty may have been seen by some as an impediment to ESG integration. At RBC Global Asset Management, we believe that being an active, engaged and responsible asset manager is a core part of our fiduciary duty to our clients and helps us to enhance the long-term, sustainable performance of our portfolios.” 

Judy Cotte , V.P. & Head, Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management.

“A major barrier to the integration of ESG in Canada is confusing language, which shades the boundary between ESG investing on one hand, and ethical or social investing on the other. The law in Canada has been clear for many years. Considering ESG factors where they relate to financial performance or financial risk mitigation are not only allowable, but may be legally required.” 

Randy Bauslaugh, Partner, McCarthy Tétrault, Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation practice.