B.C. union gets powerful endorsement from advisory firm on tax transparency demands

Canada’s “worst tax avoider” has tax resolution on ballot at the June 9 AGM

BURNABY – Ahead of the June 9 annual meeting of shareholders of Brookfield Corporation (TSX:BN), influential proxy advisor Glass Lewis has endorsed the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU)’s shareholder proposal calling for greater tax transparency.

Brookfield (TSX: BN) has consistently been identified as one of Canada’s worst tax offenders (Toronto Star, 2017). Brookfield avoided $3.5 billion in tax in 2021 according to a 2022 report from Canadians for Tax Fairness, topping the report’s list of companies engaging in tax avoidance.

Brookfield’s operating business is conducted using “perpetual affiliates” incorporated in tax exempt Bermuda, and the company has dozens of subsidiaries operating in registered in tax havens. Tax avoidance deprives governments of revenue desperately needed to fund essential public services, including health, education, and sanitation.

The B.C. General Employees Union (BCGEU), a long-term investor in Brookfield, believes Brookfield’s limited tax disclosure renders investors unable to evaluate the risks to the company or to ascertain whether the company is engaged in responsible tax practices that ensure long term value creation for the company and the communities in which it operates.

The union’s proposal is modest, asking for a tax using the world’s most utilized reporting standard, the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Tax Standard. The proposal is the first of its kind to go to vote in Canada.

Leading independent governance analysis and proxy voting firm Glass Lewis which advises over 1,200 institutions that collectively manage more than US$25 trillion in assets writes in its report,

We believe that additional reporting in line with the GRI Tax Standard would provide shareholders with understandable information on which they are able to base assessments of the Company's tax-related risks.

In a statement from BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch,

It’s simple. Pushing our portfolio companies on their tax disclosure protects shareholder value. We are pushing for enhanced tax transparency at Brookfield because we want to see an equal playing field for all companies. We believe that best practices by industry leaders will not only create long term shareholder value but will also push regulatory change in a positive direction.

Since 2018, BCGEU’s Capital Stewardship program has leveraged its investor power to earn strong investment returns while advancing issues that matter to working people. Under the union’s program, it has achieved strong ESG commitments from companies including on racial equity, the financialization of housing, climate, human rights, worker rights, and more.

Brookfield Asset Management's annual general meeting will take place on June 9, 2023. The virtual meeting will be available at this link.

View the BCGEU's investor memo.

Review the BCGEU’s shareholder proposal.

For more information, please contact BCGEU Capital Stewardship Office at [email protected].


The B.C. General Employees’ Union represents over 85,000 workers in almost every community and economic sector in British Columbia. Under BCGEU’s capital stewardship strategy, the union has submitted shareholder proposals at some of Canada’s largest companies on topics like human rights, racial equity, and executive compensation. The union’s strategy has succeeded in achieving strong commitments on ESG issues.