Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Activists call for divestment from the prison industry at the Columbia Prison Divest and Coalition Against Gentrification action in 2014. (Photo: Danielle Fox/Columbia Prison Divest)

Canadians Call on Pension Fund to Stop Investing in US Private Prison Firms Profiting From 'Brutal Human Rights Abuses' of Trump

"If you've ever worked in Canada, you've paid contributions to the CPP fund. We can't let our CPP contributions flow to corporations that are profiting from Trump's cruel immigration policies."

Julia Conley

Canadian campaigners have gathered tens of thousands of signatures from critics of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), whose increased investments in a for-profit prison corporation became clear in new reporting by the Guardian Monday.

The CPPIB, one of the largest funds in the world, drew outrage last month after it was first revealed that it held stock in the U.S.-based Geo Group—making the 20 million Canadian retirees it represents unwittingly complicit in the company's private prisons and involvement in the long-term imprisonment of immigrant families under the Trump administration.

"Our retirement savings should not fund brutal human rights abuses." —Sum of Us

Now, following the release of recent regulatory filings, Canadians have learned that their pension fund has increased its investment in Geo Group by nearly 50 percent since the Trump administration's family separation crisis, pouring $6.1 million of Canadian retirees' money into the company.

"The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) has quietly and massively increased its investment in these corporations that are ripping families apart by more than 1,300 percent in the last year," wrote the global advocacy group Sum of Us. "Our retirement savings should not fund brutal human rights abuses. The CPP works for people in Canada to make the best investments possible and has guidelines for social responsibility. It needs to hear from us—its investors—to let it know that we won't allow our pensions to fund for-profit prison companies."

Despite the fact that it is a federal contractor legally prohibited from helping to finance campaigns, Geo Group donated $250,000 to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. The group earns $55 million per year from a family detention center it runs in Texas.

Sum of Us has gathered more than 14,000 signatures from Canadians who are demanding the CPPIB fully divest from the company, along with more than 40,000 who have signed a similar petition started by Lead Now.

"While the news was dominated by stories about families separated at the border, and shocking images of babies in cages—the Canada Pension Plan actually increased its investment by 13 times in the two private prison corporations that run most of the immigration jails we saw on the news. That's your money," Lead Now told pensioners in its petition. "If you've ever worked in Canada, you've paid contributions to the CPP fund. We can't let our CPP contributions flow to corporations that are profiting from Trump's cruel immigration policies."

The campaigns have hit social media, with users threatening to pull their savings out of the pension fund unless it divests.

Last Friday, the two groups delivered the petitions to the CPPIB headquarters in Toronto, and the fund met with campaigners earlier this month to hear their concerns, giving some hope to Lead Now.

"I think the reason they're looking into [possible divestment] is because the writing is on the wall," Logan McIntosh, a campaigner with the group, told the Guardian. "It's an unnecessary and shameful investment and it's undermining the confidence of Canadians that they can manage our retirement savings responsibly."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

ACLU Demands 'Truly Systemic Overhaul' of US Civilian Harm Policies

"While a serious Defense Department focus on civilian harm is long overdue and welcome, it's unclear that this directive will be enough," says director of the legal group's National Security Project.

Jessica Corbett ·

'This Is Not Over': Alaska Supreme Court Rejects Youth Climate Case

"With the state continuing to undermine their health, safety, and futures," said the plaintiffs' lead counsel, "we will evaluate our next steps and will continue to fight for climate justice."

Jessica Corbett ·

Analysis Finds 'Staggering' Rise in Voter Suppression After GOP Restrictions in Georgia

"This is why we are fighting this new law in court," said one voting rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

'Egregious': Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law

The ruling was stayed pending an appeal to the state's Supreme Court and as one voting advocate put it: "The fight's not over yet, folks."

Julia Conley ·

Big Win for Open Internet as Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law

One legal advocate called the Ninth Circuit's opinion "a great decision and a major victory for internet users in California and nationwide."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo