Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – Today marked an important step in the right direction for the advancement of climate related finance, with the the tabeling of Bill S-243 from Independent Senator of Quebec Rosa Galvez in the Senate. See here for the whitepaper.

Financial institutions are on the front lines of climate risk. Although Canadian financial institutions have taken baby steps to advance climate-aligned finance, regulations still lag behind international best practices. Canada’s financial sector continues to worsen the effects of climate change and create systemic financial risks. Thus, Canadian legislators and regulators must raise the bar to ensure finance becomes truly sustainable – not just in name. Canadian legislation needs to incentivize a green transition and prepare the financial sector for climate-related vulnerabilities.

This Bill is an ambitious and coherent piece of legislation that aims to align the financial sector with Canada’s climate commitments. It focuses on reducing carbon emissions and building resilience in the real world, whereas most activity in climate finance focuses on reducing risks for investment portfolios. The Bill would ensure that all financial institutions align with Canada’s climate commitments, while avoiding carbon lock-in and respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples. With this legislation, Canada would be a leader in ensuring a climate-aligned, stable, low-carbon financial system.

“The financial sector is making investments that fan the flames of climate change. Yet climate change creates systemic risk that shatters financial stability. Instead, finance needs to help mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions and building resilience. This Bill would ensure Canada’s financial sector helps mitigate climate change, moving us towards a stable climate and a stable economy.” Said Julie Segal, Senior Program Manager, Climate Finance at Environmental Defence. 

“Canada’s financial sector has fallen behind.” said Adam Scott, Director of Shift: Action for Pension Wealth & Planet Health. “We know we can’t address the crisis without a significant change in where finance is flowing, and no amount of inconsistent, voluntary action from institutions will allow us to catch up. This bill provides a clear and practical pathway for ensuring Canada’s financial sector can meet this challenge.”

As long as Canada’s financial institutions continue to invest in coal, oil and gas extraction, they severely hinder our ability to avoid climate catastrophe. We need to rapidly transition financial support away from fossil fuels and towards the clean energy transition” said Alan Andrews, Ecojustice climate program director. “This Bill would position Canada as a global climate leader by holding companies, banks and financial institutions accountable for aligning their business with the Paris Agreement.”

Canada’s needs checks and balances to ensure that all investments contribute to a green future, this is critical to the security of Canada’s economy. This legislation is a monumental step in the right direction that will spark critical innovation and thrust Canada in front of our peers to become true climate leaders. 


About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

Ecojustice uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, public interest lawsuits and advocacy lead to precedent-setting court decisions and law and policy that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.

Shift: Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health is a charitable initiative that works to protect pensions and the climate by bringing together beneficiaries and their pension funds on the climate crisis. We help Canadians understand where their retirement wealth is invested by tracking pension fund investments and strategy. We educate and empower Canadians on how to engage constructively with their pension funds. 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: 

Alex Ross, Senior Communications Coordinator,Environmental Defence

Sean O’Shea, Communications Specialist | Ecojustice