FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Investors to vote on proposal, citing concerns of reputational damage, regulatory intervention, litigation, project disruptions and financial loss
Toronto, ON, April 9, 2019 – Shareholders have filed a proposal asking that TransCanada Corporation (TSE:TRP) publish an annual report outlining how the company respects internationally-recognized standards for Indigenous Peoples’ rights in its business activities, specifically the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples‘ rights and ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.
The Pension Plan of the United Church of Canada worked with the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) to file the proposal, which will be put to a vote at the TransCanada 2019 Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders on May 3 at 10am Mountain Time.
“We filed this proposal because the United Church of Canada is committed to reconciliation in its own activities,” said Marcus Robertson, Chair of the United Church of Canada Pension Board.
“Respect for Indigenous rights is a core principle of international conventions and declarations and of Canadian law.”
The proposal argues that in the countries where TransCanada operates, the need for resource companies to operate in line with internationally-recognized Indigenous rights is well documented.
In Canada and the US, poor Indigenous rights practices have contributed to the delay or cancellation of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, Northern Gateway Pipeline, Dakota Access Pipeline, TransCanada Energy East Pipeline, and TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline, among others. In Mexico, TransCanada’s Tuxpan-Tula Pipeline has been delayed due to inadequate consultation with Indigenous peoples and impacts to their land and cultural rights.
In its proxy advisory release, appealing for support from TransCanada shareholders, SHARE explains that the information TransCanada provides to the market on Indigenous relations does not address the issue identified in the proposal: integration of Indigenous rights into business practices across the company.
SHARE also explains that TransCanada’s actions have failed to demonstrate that respect for Indigenous peoples and their rights have received due attention across the company:
- TransCanada’s Board of Directors lacks training or expertise on Indigenous rights and history.
- Only 156 head-office employees have received training on Indigenous rights and culture, out of TransCanada’s overall workforce of over 7,000 employees.
- Only 2.4% of TransCanada’s Canadian employees are Indigenous; less than half the industry average of 6% and the Indigenous population in Canada of 5%.
- In 2017, the most recent figures available, TransCanada spent $75 million in direct and indirect contributions to Indigenous businesses. This amounts to just 0.86% of its overall community economic contributions, despite the concentration of Indigenous businesses and communities in areas where TransCanada operates.
- In January 2019, on request of TransCanada, Indigenous peoples were forcibly removed from their lands to facilitate project work on the Coastal Gaslink pipeline.
About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)
Since 2000, the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) has built a community of values-driven investors who are committed to amplifying their voices in support of a sustainable, inclusive and productive economy. SHARE is the leading non-profit investor voice on human rights and responsible investment in Canada, representing a growing network of institutional investors with more than $23 billion in assets under management. SHARE provides proxy voting analysis, shareholder engagement, education, policy advocacy, and practical research on issues related to responsible investment. SHARE’s clients include pension funds, mutual funds, foundations, faith-based organizations and asset managers across Canada.
Notes for Editors
Interviews available with Delaney Grieg, Shareholder Engagement and Policy Manager
Damon van der Linde