Ask Jim Leech why he supports for-profit water
The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan will be holding its annual meeting on Thursday April 7 from 4:45 pm to 7 pm at the Arcadian Court at Bay and Queen streets in Toronto. The meeting will feature presentations by several speakers including the OTPP’s president Jim Leech.
The OTPP website says the meeting offers the opportunity to members to ‘ask the chair or executives a question’. They also note that they ‘invite plan members to ask a question in advance’. Those questions need to be submitted by Wednesday April 6 at 5 pm. The details on their annual meeting – including how to submit a question in advance – can be found on their website at http://www.otpp.com/wps/wcm/connect/otpp_en/Home/Annual+Reporting/Annual+Meeting+and+Webcast/.
The Council of Canadians will be encouraging teachers to attend and submit questions on the Ontario Teacher Pension Plans investments in private Chilean water utilities. The OTPP owns 50.83 percent of the Chilean water utility Essbio and 69.4 percent of Esval.
We recently expressed concern that Jorge Lesser García-Huidobro was named as the new president of the Essbio water utility board of directors. As a majority shareholder in Essbio, it can be presumed that the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan had some say in the selection of this former Coca-Cola Chile Board member to head the water utility.
And we have been further concerned by the news that Chilean president Sebastian Piñera intends to sell the government’s minority stake in utilities Aguas Andinas, Essbio, Esval and Essal, in other words fully privatize these water utilities. It is not known if the OTPP intends to increase its ownership share of these water utlities.
The Council has been calling on the OTPP to divest from for-profit water utilities in Chile and for the ownership of these private, for-profit water utilities to be fully transferred back to public control.
Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow is currently scheduled to speak at the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) human rights forum on this issue in Toronto on Friday April 8, the day after the OTPP’s annual meeting.