Charlie Angus, a New Democratic Party member of Parliament, is urging the C$392 billion ($299.6 billion) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Toronto, to explain its recent divestment from two private prison companies involved in the incarceration of migrant families in the U.S.
After expressing his concerns in October about the CPPIB's decision to purchase C$5.9 million worth of stock in private-prison operating companies CoreCivic and GEO Group, CPPIB and Finance Minister Bill Morneau originally "defended these investments," Mr. Angus wrote in a July 4 letter to Mark Machin, president and CEO of CPPIB.
Since their discussion, however, the pension fund appears to have taken action on the matter.
Of note, CPPIB Securities and Exchange Commission filings from May no longer list CoreCivic and GEO Group among the pension plan's investments, Mr. Angus wrote, later asking the pension plan to explain whether its divestment was a "deliberate decision, or an automatic function of the passive investment program" at CPPIB.
"This is a welcome change, and I am extremely pleased to see that Canadian pension dollars are no longer supporting these cruel, unethical companies, and by extension, the policies that keep their shareholders rich," Mr. Angus continued.
In the letter, he also inquired as to whether CPPIB was "making a clear commitment that the pension savings of Canadians will no longer be used to support the privatized detention system in the United States."
On its website, CPPIB has published its foreign publicly traded equity holdings, as of March 31, which show that the pension plan no longer has exposure to CoreCivic or GEO Group, in comparison with a year earlier when both companies were on the list.
On Monday, a spokesman for CPPIB declined to comment for this story.
Public pension funds in the U.S. have also divested from CoreCivic and GEO Group, which have fallen under investor scrutiny as of late.
In November, the $226.1 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, approved its $12.1 million divestiture from the companies. Also, in August, the $76.5 billion New Jersey Pension Fund, Trenton, sold its $1.3 million stake in GEO Group.