Skip to content

Council of Canadians and allies release report on NAFTA at 20

The Sierra Club, Sierra Club Canada, the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade, the Institute for Policy Studies, and the Council of Canadians have released a report titled, ‘NAFTA: 20 Years of Costs to Communities and the Environment’.

The report finds that NAFTA:

– facilitated the expansion of large-scale, export-oriented farming that relies heavily on fossil fuels, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms;

– encouraged a boom in environmentally destructive mining activities in Mexico;

– undermined Canada’s ability to regulate its tar sands industry and locked the country into shipping large quantities of fossil fuels to the United States;

– catalyzed economic growth in North American industries and manufacturing sectors while simultaneously failing to safeguard against the increase in air and water pollution associated with this growth;

– weakened domestic environmental safeguards by providing corporations with new legal avenues to challenge environmental policy making.

The report cautions, “Despite these and other effects of NAFTA, major new trade negotiations—one transatlantic, another transpacific, and a Pacific Alliance uniting several Latin American countries—may dramatically expand the NAFTA model of corporate-dominated governance.” And it also notes, “The investment chapter in the Canada-EU agreement has been called ‘the most investor-friendly set of corporate rights’ ever negotiated in a Canadian trade or investment agreement by one legal expert who has seen a copy of the still secret text.”

It concludes, “The evidence is clear but rarely recognized by North American policymakers who would rather expand NAFTA’s most destructive trade rules through transpacific and transatlantic negotiations that will make environmental protection even more difficult. Trade agreements must protect communities and the environment—NAFTA clearly does not. Governments must remember the legacy of NAFTA.”

To read the 20-page report, please click here.