The Government of Canada announced its support for the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation’s (IFRS) proposed International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), and has offered to host the ISSB’s Board of Trustee’s headquarters, according to a letter to IFRS Chair Erkki Liikanen by Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, representing a coalition of 55 public and private institutions in Canada.

Freeland wrote:

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“Canada recognizes the importance of effective disclosures based on high-quality data in addressing climate change and nature degradation, improving opportunities for women, visible minorities, and other underrepresented groups, and enhancing public and private sector governance.  Canada is a reliable, multilateral partner dedicated to promoting sustainable outcomes that would be respectful of an organization whose objective is to develop global sustainability standards on behalf of over 140 member countries.”

The International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) is looking to establish the ISSB in order to address the emerging need for global sustainability reporting standards. In October 2020, the IFRS initiated a consultation process seeking input on the potential formation of a global sustainability reporting standards board, and on the Foundation’s own place in that process. After receiving positive responses to its consultation paper, the IFRS launched a working group including other sustainability and standards-focused organizations, and released its views towards the strategic direction to be taken in the formation of the new ISSB, focusing on information that is material to the decisions of investors, lenders and other creditors, beginning with climate-related issues, and extending to other ESG matters. 

Freeland’s letter cites Canada’s credentials as a leader in the fight against climate change, along with key attributes including the country’s diverse and developed economy, central location, and its longstanding support for IFRS Standards.

The Deputy PM also promised financial support for the ISSB operations, including a “significant ‘Welcome Fund,'” to be provided by a coalition of Canadian public and private institutions, aimed at supporting the ISSB’s initial period of operations.