Three corporate entities linked to the bank gave the Saskatchewan Party several thousand dollars in 2019
CIBC, one of the Canada’s big five banks, says it is no longer making corporate donations to political parties in Canada.
CIBC revealed the policy change in response to questions from PressProgress over the bank’s contributions to Scott Moe’s governing Saskatchewan Party in 2019.
In total, CIBC donated a combined of $7,180 to the Sask Party last year through three of its corporate entities: CIBC ($4,000), CIBC World Markets ($2,000) and CIBC Saskatoon ($1,180).
At the same time, the bank also made a smaller $1,000 donation to the opposition Saskatchewan NDP, roughly 13% of what it gave to the governing Sask Party.
In a statement to PressProgress, CIBC Public Affairs director Trish Tervit said the bank had changed its internal policy on donating to political parties.
“While corporate political donations are permitted in certain provinces (Saskatchewan and Newfoundland), CIBC has ended the practice of making political donations in Canada, even where it is permitted,” Tervit told PressProgress.
CIBC has donated tens of thousands to provincial and federal political parties of all stripes across Canada over the past few decades, often providing funds to parties on both sides of the aisle.
While most provinces have already moved to ban corporate political donations, Saskatchewan is one of the last jurisdictions in Canada to allow corporations to donate to political parties (The only other remaining provinces are Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island).
In addition to allowing corporate donations, Saskatchewan’s “Wild West” campaign finance laws also allow corporations to make unlimited donations to parties regardless of whether or not they’re actually based in Saskatchewan.
In 2019, nearly one-fifth of the Saskatchewan Party’s corporate donations came from outside the province.
Clarification: In response to specific questions about the bank’s 2019 donations to the Sask Party, CIBC Public Affairs Director Trish Tervit told PressProgress: “CIBC has ended the practice of making political donations in Canada.”
Following publication of this story, Tervit provided additional information that was not included in her earlier statement clarifying that its donation policy was changed in November 2019. The bank had not previously issued any public statement on the policy change or provided an explanation for the policy change, but it was noted in CIBC’s 2019 Sustainability report.
The only difference between the policy included in CIBC’s 2018 Sustainability report and its 2019 report is a clause relating to provincial political donations. In 2019, CIBC’s largest donation to any provincial party in Canada was the Sask Party.