Ottawa | Traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People – Today, Environmental Defence released a list of the top seven ‘climate villains’ in Canada. This new campaign reveals the influential players behind Canada’s oil and gas industry – like the heads of Imperial Oil and RBC – who are contributing the most to fueling climate chaos, as well as the tactics they use to block climate action and spread misinformation.

“We’re pulling back the curtain to reveal the influential players behind Canada’s oil and gas industry who are truly to blame for the climate crisis,” said Julia Levin, Associate Director, National Climate at Environmental Defence. “These ‘climate villains’ are expanding and financing climate-wrecking fossil fuel production, blocking climate action, and spreading disinformation. And they’re doing all of this because they are more concerned about their profits and wealth than the future of the planet.”

The list of ‘climate villains’ includes the CEOs of some of Canada’s top oil and gas companies, lobby associations and financial enablers.

The CEO of Imperial Oil, Brad Corson, is on the list. Recently, one of Imperial’s oil sands mines was leaking toxic wastewater into areas used by Indigenous communities for hunting and harvesting. Imperial kept the leak hidden for nine months. Imperial Oil is now the subject of a formal investigation by the federal government. Furthermore, Corson has known about the links between the oil Imperial produces and the climate crisis since he began working at Exxon in the 1980s, yet continues to oppose climate policy.

“Not only is Brad Corson working to weaken climate policy in Canada, he also covered up the significant harm caused by Imperial Oil, including a leak of toxic industrial wastewater that went on nine months before it was revealed. It seems that Corson is more concerned about Imperial’s image than the environment and the health and rights of Indigenous communities. That makes him a true climate villain,” said Aliénor Rougeot, Climate and Energy Program Manager at Environmental Defence. “At the same time, he’s raking in huge amounts of money: last year he earned over $17 million. He’s getting rich while the rest of us – and especially the Indigenous Nations who are directly impacted by Imperial’s toxic pollution – pay the price.”

Dave McKay, head of RBC, is also included. In 2022, RBC provided more financing to oil and gas companies than any other bank in the world. Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, RBC has poured nearly $350 billion dollars into climate-destroying fossil fuel companies.

The other ‘climate villains’ on the list include Susannah Pierce (Shell Canada), Michael Binnion (Modern Miracle Network), Alex Pourbaix (Cenovus), Arthur Irving (Irving Oil) and Lisa Baiton (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers). The tactics the climate villains ply to ensure the continued production of oil and gas include greenwashing efforts (for example, rebranding fossil gas as ‘natural’), supporting industry front groups (groups which present as grassroots but are actually industry founded and funded), and promoting speculative techno-fixes like carbon capture and hydrogen.

“Oil and gas executives invest a lot of resources into making individuals think that it’s our actions that are causing the climate crisis, when for decades they’ve been campaigning against climate action and lying about climate solutions in order to keep us hooked on their toxic products,” said Levin. “It’s time to name and shame the individuals who are really to blame – the ‘climate villains’ who make money off of destroying our chance at a safe, healthy and equitable world beyond fossil fuels.”

Find out more about the Canada’s top seven climate villains here.

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

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

Allen Braude, Environmental Defence,