Advocacy Groups Meet With Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Urging Divestment From Private Prisons That Separate Immigrant Families

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Americas & Asia

November 15, 2018

CPPIB indicates interest in divesting from U.S. private prison companies that imprison children following 50,000 petition signatures

Yesterday, International consumer group SumOfUs and advocacy group Leadnow.ca met with the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board over its multi-million dollar investments of Canadians’ retirement savings in the two largest private prison companies in the United States. According to the advocacy groups, the CPP has significantly increased its investments in private prison corporations Geo Group and CoreCivic in the last year, who are profiting off of separating immigrant families on an involuntary basis.

Both organizations posted petitions signed by over 50,000 people combined, urging the CPPIB to immediately divest from private prisons in the United States that enforce the detention and separation of immigrant children and families.

Their meeting with CPPIB officials suggests the CPP is looking into options toward divesting out of US private prison firms, but cannot commit to anything yet. This meeting also coincides with a national listening tour by the CPP that involves traveling to communities across Canada to hear public feedback. The meetings resume tomorrow in Charlottetown, PEI, and next week in Winnipeg and Saskatoon.

View the SumOfUs  petition here: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/tell-the-cppib-to-pull-investment-in-us-for-profit-prisons-corporations/

View the Leadnow petition here: https://www.leadnow.ca/stop-cpp-trump/

“It’s encouraging that the CPP is taking this issue seriously and looking into options for divesting — which they should be since these unnecessary, shameful investments work to undermine the confidence Canadians have in the CPPIB to manage their retirement savings responsibly,” said Brittany Smith, Campaign Manager at Leadnow. “The massive reputational risk of investing in the prisons detaining the victims of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, far outweighs the meager financial returns. We’re optimistic the CPPIB will do the right thing”

“The CPPIB has heard the concerns of tens of thousands of Canadians loud and clear; we will not tolerate our retirement savings to be invested in the detainment of innocent children and families. The CPP is now considering its options in divesting out of Core Civic and Geo Group. The risk associated with this involvement is morally repugnant not worth the reward. We'll need a stronger commitment from CPPIB before stopping our campaign, and as such are considering all options to ensure our retirement savings aren’t invested in carrying out Donald Trump’s inhumane agenda,” said Emma Pullman Campaign Manager at SumOfUs.

Between 2017 to 2018, CPP increased its investments in Geo Group nearly 13 fold and more than doubled its investment in CoreCivic, totaling about $6 million. Over the past year, tens of thousands of children and families have been detained against their will inside of U.S. immigration detention centers run by Geo Group and CoreCivic as a result of President Donald Trump's immigration policies. Sixty percent of immigrants incarcerated under the Trump administration are held in private prisons built by these companies.