TORONTO — The crown corporation that controls pensions for Canadian public service workers, Canadian Armed Forces soldiers and RCMP officers invested millions of dollars last year in American companies that operate private prisons and immigrant detention centres.
PSP Investments, which invests pensions for federal government employees, owns shares worth US$2.7 million in The GEO Group and about US$2 million in CoreCivic, according to a quarterly report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Feb. 12.
Both companies are among the largest private prison operators in the U.S. and also run immigrant detention centres.
A spokesperson for a union that represents Canadian public sector workers says its members are “categorically opposed” to these pension fund investments.
“Our belief is that those functions are better performed by the public sector, as opposed to the private sector,” James Infantino, a pensions and disability insurance officer with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), told HuffPost Canada.
“It creates all sorts of problems.”
PSP Investments operates independently from the government.
A spokesperson for PSP Investments said the stock in CoreCivic is part of a portfolio that mimics the moves of the S&P 600 index.
“As a global investor, PSP Investments has a significant allocation to public markets which we manage internally and externally, using a combination of actively-managed and index-replication strategies. Our CoreCivic investment is held in our passive index replication portfolio which follows the S&P 600 index,” Verena Garofalo said by email.
She did not respond to HuffPost’s follow-up question about whether the same was true for The GEO Group.
A spokesperson for the president of Canada’s treasury board, Jean-Yves Duclos, did not provide a statement by the time of publication.
Outrage ballooned under Trump
Backlash to the immigrant detention industry, and these two companies in particular, exploded over the past four years as former U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration increased the number of immigrants detained, increased the outsourcing of their detainment to private companies and separated thousands of children from their detained parents.
The GEO Group and CoreCivic together built seven of the 20 biggest new detention centres during Trump’s presidency, according to a 2020 report by the American Civil Liberties Association. Both companies make about 25 per cent of their revenue from contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the report said.
Public campaigns in 2018 and 2019 pressured banks that financed The GEO Group and CoreCivic through …read more