Would you buy shares in an immigration detention centre?

July 12, 2019 | Dan Rudisuela


Responsible investing involves knowing which companies you own and being comfortable with how those companies make a profit. Would a for-profit prison running controversial detention centres make the cut?

The very existence of migrant detention centres in the US is controversial. The reports on the conditions at these facilities are raising concern internationally for the human rights of those detained. While many of us read the headlines and see the people behind the stories, others see the business opportunity.

Business is booming for private prisons in the US under the current administration and GEO Group Inc. is one of the big players in this sector. Until recently, many Canadians unknowingly had a vested interest in GEO Group's bottom line; both the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPPB) were invested in the company.

Amid public scrutiny, both the CPP and OTPPB have sold their shares in GEO Group and have reiterated their commitment to investing responsibly. However, the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, another large crown corporation that manages public sector pensions and government funds, has chosen to remain invested in for-profit prisons.

We don't hold GEO Group in any of our portfolios. We see Responsible Investing as simply Investing. We do this because we believe in transparency, in understanding the values of the families and organizations that we work with and in sleeping well at night. You can read more about our commitment to responsible investing here.  

Click here for the recent CBC news story on pension plans investing in for-profit prisons and here to reach out to me directly.