Climate justice

Satellite image of two hurricanes in close proximity.

We are in a climate crisis

The United Church of Canada has long accepted the science that shows human activities are greatly increasing greenhouse gasses and thus the overall temperature of the planet. This crisis is a tangled web, part of a global system that has many moving parts and is hard to untangle. It is a system that is destroying our planet. Future generations are at risk. Bold, daring, and public action is needed. We are called to collaborate deeply with Indigenous peoples, people of all ages, global partners, the ecumenical community, civil society, and governments in change strategies. Time is running out. We must act now. Join us!

But why divestment?

One key part of the problem is that banking institutions worldwide continue to fund fossil fuel expansion. This includes tar sands, fracking, deepwater drilling, liquefied natural gas, and coal mining. Between 2016 and 2021, Canadian banks have funneled an alarming CA $911 billion into coal, oil, gas, and tar sands. This undermines our own individual and congregational efforts. That’s why the 2023 Prairie to Pine Regional meeting voted to begin this work. Click here to read the proposal as passed

What you can offer

On this page you will find some key documents outlining Regional Council commitments to encourage scrutiny of our Regional Council and community of faith investments. We hope you will consider joining these efforts. New materials will appear on this page, and updates from around the Regional Council and the wider church will be shared in the newsfeed- scroll down to read the latest news. We hope our actions, choices, and prayers across the hundreds of ministries and communities included in our Regional Council will make a small and important contribution to the move away from fossil fuels and towards more sustainable energy use – and that you will be part of it.

Intro letter to Prairie to Pine ministries and members
Templates of letters to banks and credit unions

Why divestment?

The five major Canadian Banks (RBC, TD, Scotiabank, BMO, and CIBC) are heavily invested in the Alberta Tar Sands, the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, the TransMountain Pipeline Expansion, and the doubling of Line 3 that goes through Manitoba and into the United States at Gretna. These projects have been executed without the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples of those areas.

Between 2016 and 2021, Canadian banks have funneled an alarming CA $911 billion into coal, oil, gas, and tar sands. To put this number in perspective, between 2016 and 2020, the federal government invested $60 billion in climate action and clean growth. Recent reports name the Royal Bank of Canada as the number one funder of fossil fuel extraction in the world. It is evident that banks are not going to decrease their funding without pressure from outside, and that this continued investment in fossil fuel extraction undermines citizen and government efforts to move away from fossil fuels.

Getting started on engagement

Here are Word documents of letter templates for all four major Canadian banks, and a more general template for credit unions. Use them as you wish for your own letters and for guides to conversation if you manage to sit down and talk with a manager. When you click on these, they will automatically download to your device, so look for them in your Downloads or Files folders.

Letter: Bank of Montreal (BMO)

Letter: CIBC

Letter: Scotiabank

Letter: Toronto Dominion (TD)


Climate justice and divestment resources

Resources on fossil fuel investment and divestment

Prepared by the Prairie to Pine Climate Finance Task Group, March 2024.  Click here for a PDF version of this resource list.
For ongoing updates on climate action and resources in the Prairie to Pine Region, please see our web page on the Prairie to Pine website. Use this as your home base!

Banks and investments

Letter templates for all major banks and for credit unions overall are on our web page.

The United Church of Canada Responsible Investing Guiding Principles was most recently updated in 2018 and is a useful guide for faithful stewardship of church funds. Please click here to access the PDF.

Banking on Climate Chaos: A number of global organizations have been tracking fossil fuel investment for the past 13 years. If you bank with one of Canada’s mainline banks, you can learn, through this report the amount your bank invested in fossil fuels in 2022.  Click here to access their entire site.

How banks are cashing in on the climate crisis: A basic video primer offered by Greenpeace on how banks are contributing to the climate crisis.  Click here for the YouTube video.

General climate resources

For the Love of Creation is a faith-based resource for group climate action.  Excellent for discerning what action you can take together, it’s an ecumenical commitment shared by the United Church through KAIROS.

The Week: This three-part video series is offered free to faith communities and offers a clear look at where we are right now, why there is reason for hope, and difference action we might engage in.  A real motivator for individuals and communities.  Click here for their website and the videos.

Here is the most recent report on what United Churches have done in terms of climate action.

Climate justice news

United Church News

The United Church of Canada joins Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble and Affirming Connections in urging individuals and communities of faith to commit to concerted efforts to be Public, Intentional,… Read More

In her National Affirming/PIE Day message, Moderator Carmen Lansdowne encourages us all to look for ways to build relationships outside our communities of faith and truly show up in a public way in… Read More

War in Gaza possibly “deadliest 100 days” of the 21st century according to report from UN regional commission. Read More

Two years in, the war in Ukraine continues. A letter written by ecumenical leaders invites us to pray and continue actions for peace in Ukraine. Read More

A round up of the stories this week as the United Church celebrates International Development Week 2024. Read More

Prairie to Pine Regional Council