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Letters: ASC at the forefront of climate change-related disclosure

Alberta Securities Commission Chair & CEO Stan Magidson responds to oilpatch lending crunch article by Robert Ascah of Parkland Institute

Author: Stan Magidson

CALGARY – On Feb. 4, 2022, Canadian Accountant republished an article entitled Alberta oilpatch may face lending crunch as financial regulators worry about the risks of climate change by Robert L. (Bob) Ascah of The Parkland Institute.

Within this article Mr. Ascah correctly referred to a set of proposed disclosure requirements recently published by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) for public comment. Those proposals would, among other things, call on all reporting issuers to report their greenhouse gas emissions or to explain why not. However, he incorrectly suggested that the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) would intentionally slow the project down.

I can confirm that the ASC has been at the forefront and is co-leading the CSA’s work on climate change-related disclosure, in collaboration with all other CSA jurisdictions. Our original research and consultation project gave rise to CSA Staff Notice 51-354 Report on Climate change-related Disclosure and subsequent guidance in CSA Staff Notice 51-358 Reporting of Climate Change-related Risks.

The proposed rule, currently out for comment and under consideration, is intended to provide investors with decision-useful information in respect of emissions, governance, strategy and risk management, and is based in large part on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. The ASC and other CSA regulators are united in our belief that a harmonized approach across the country, and across all industries, is critical to the successful implementation of any rule in this area. No industry will be exempt from its application.

Like other jurisdictions, the ASC has been actively seeking to both inform and engage market participants about this proposed rule. We have held conversations, hosted webinars, published the information and shared it with as many parties as possible. We believe the final rule will be stronger with full engagement and feedback from all parts of our diverse country. 

It is worth noting that one of our important industries in Canada, the oil and gas industry, has shown leadership in providing disclosure that responds to increasing investor interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters and has generally expressed support for standardized comparable disclosure.

We are proud to be one of only three jurisdictions in the world to be actively creating a rule that will provide clarity to issuers, regardless of industry, and provide decision-useful information for investors.   

Stan Magidson
Chair & CEO
Alberta Securities Commission

Author photo courtesy Alberta Securities Commission.

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