Canada’s financial sector is fueling the climate crisis and undermining opportunities to transition to a low-carbon economy. Canada’s big banks are all among the top 20 fossil fuel funders in the world, with RBC taking the title of top oil and gas financier in 2022. Despite claims to take the climate crisis and Indigenous sovereignty seriously, Canada’s financial institutions continue to push us further away from reconciliation, supporting projects without free, prior and informed consent that violate Indigenous rights, and refusing to take accountability.
Financial institutions cannot be trusted to take the right actions themselves, which is why we hope parents, grandparents and allies will ask our government to create stronger rules. Senator Rosa Galvez has tabled Bill S-243 – the Climate-Aligned Finance Act in the Senate. This act would:
ensure Canada’s banks develop credible plans in line with climate science and commitments
address conflicts of interest between financial institutions and the fossil fuel industry
help us avoid carbon lock-in and enshrine respect for Indigenous peoples.
The Banking For Our Kids campaign believes that this legislation would be a huge first step to bring Canada’s financial sector in line with climate science, mitigate growing risks to our financial system, and start pushing for an orderly transition to a low-carbon economy.
What’s happening with the Climate-Aligned Finance Act (CAFA)?
CAFA was introduced in the Canadian Senate last year. In early June 2023, it was moved forward to the Senate committee where it will be studied, likely in the fall. At this point, organizations (including members of For Our Kids) can present evidence in favour of the bill or recommend changes. If CAFA passes through the Senate, MPs will vote on it in the House of Commons.
What can we do?
It's great news that CAFA has now moved forward to committee, but there is still an opportunity to encourage Senators to support this bill as it's reviewed. MPs can also be encouraged to introduce or support climate-aligned financial policy through the House of Commons and show their party understands the need for a financial system that is safe for the climate. In theory, there could be climate finance bills in both the Senate and House simultaneously. In fact, this would be a great way to create pressure from all sides to tackle this urgent issue.
How do we do it?
Reach out to Senators and your local MP to stress the importance of climate-aligned financial policy.
You can send an email, ask for a meeting to discuss your concerns, or both
- Send an email or set up a meeting to talk with a Senator about the bill and why it’s important. Here’s a list of Senate leaders, members of Senators for Climate Solutions and members of the Senate banking committee. You can use this draft email and agenda with key talking points. If you want to meet with a Senator and have questions about how to approach it, send an email to [email protected]. I’d be happy to discuss the best talking points for Senators with different affiliations.
- Set up a meeting with your MP to talk about the need for strong climate-aligned financial policy. Find your MP here. Use this draft email and this agenda with key talking points, and feel free to reach out to [email protected] if you want support preparing for the meeting.
- Share this toolkit with your For Our Kids team and/or your wider network! We encourage you to have meetings with Senators as a team or in groups to show strength in numbers. The more people who push for this, the likelier they are to act on it.
- If you want to learn more about fixing finance for climate change, you can also sign up here to learn from Environmental Defence about climate and sustainable finance - and stay in the loop about actions to encourage the government to align our financial systems with a safe climate.