Group launches petition calling on federal government to add corporate responsibility conditions to its Bombardier loan, and to all future subsidies, tax breaks, grants and loans offered to businesses

More than 7,000 have signed petition in just 24 hours calling on government to require big businesses to fulfill 7 conditions if they want government support

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, April 6, 2017

OTTAWA – Today, as part of its ongoing Corporate Responsibility Campaign, Democracy Watch formally launched its Change.org petition that more than 7,000 Canadians have signed in just 24 hours. The petition calls on the federal Liberals to add corporate responsibility conditions to its loan to Bombardier, and to work with other parties to change the law so that the government is only allowed to give tax breaks, subsidies, grants, loans or other support to big businesses in return for legally enforceable responsibility and accountability guarantees.

The 7 corporate responsibility conditions that the petition calls on the government to impose on Bombardier, and all businesses that receive government support in the future, are:

  1. create jobs in Canada and reduce outsourcing to other countries;
  2. pay fair wages to all employees and contractors;
  3. pay executives no more than a fair, justifiable salary (no more than 30 times the average worker salary);
  4. reduce pollution, abuse of employees and customers and all other wrongdoing;
  5. establish internal best-practice systems for protecting whistleblowers who want to report wrongdoing;
  6. empower customers, workers, stakeholders and shareholders in board decision-making processes (including by facilitating the creation of citizen-run watchdog groups by sending notices to their customers and individual shareholders – click here for details), and;
  7. increase transparency so all their irresponsible and illegal actions are disclosed to the public in an online, searchable database.

“Governments should only offer tax breaks, subsidies and other public support to a big business in return for key guarantees that make the business more responsible and accountable to the public,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “The Bombardier executive pay-hike scandal, banking service scandal, US Steel fiasco and ongoing irresponsible actions by oil and gas companies and many other businesses could all have been prevented if governments had required the businesses to make key responsibility and accountability changes in return for the billions of public money and support governments gave them.”

“The seven conditions Democracy Watch wants imposed on government-supported businesses do not interfere with the decisions that the businesses make other than ensuring they are responsible, equitable and more accountable, which is a fair trade-off for receiving public support,” said Conacher. “As several studies have shown, most big businesses in Canada are run by directors the CEO effectively chose, who don’t reflect the businesses’ stakeholders or demographics of the country, and who often make decisions aimed only at boosting short-term profits at the expense of workers, customers and communities, so governments should use the leverage they have when offering support to these businesses to require them to be more responsible and accountable.”

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Corporate Responsibility Campaign