A private member’s bill prohibiting the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board from making certain investments survived its first reading in the House of Commons.
Bill C-315, submitted by New Democratic Party member Alistair MacGregor, would amend the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act by prohibiting investments in any entity if there are reasons to believe it’s linked to labour, environmental and human rights abuses. It would also bar the pension investment organization from investing in companies that are found guilty of corrupt practices or that are linked to the manufacturing of munitions prohibited by international law.
“The Canada Pension Plan is an important part of our retirement system, but Canadians expect that its investments are not contributing to human misery around the world,” said MacGregor, during his Feb. 14 speech presenting the bill to the lower chamber.
The bill comes after several organizations have criticized the CPPIB’s investment practices. In 2021, U.K.-based watchdog organization Hong Kong Watch found the British Columbia Investment Management Corp., the CPPIB and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan had about $12 billion invested in companies linked to human rights abuses in China.
In 2022, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union published a website that called for 12 pension plans, including the CPPIB, to divest from the KKR’s Asian Fund III. The controversy around the fund is related to its partial ownership of the Cue Group, a business with close links to the Chinese government body responsible for surveillance.
Following the floor speech, the bill was seconded by NDP MP Peter Julian. Before becoming law, the bill will need to survive several readings and votes in both houses of parliament. While most private members bills don’t become law, Bill C-228 is likely to pass its final vote in the senate next month.