99% of CIBC shareholders vote to remain in tax havens

By Amy Chen

CIBC shareholders voted 99%-1% to kill a proposal calling for the bank to pull out of tax havens and other low tax jurisdictions at the corporation’s annual shareholder meeting today in Ottawa.

The proposal put forward shareholder advocacy group MÉDAC received 1,705,074 votes for and 201,212,245 votes against.

CIBC was one of the three Canadian banks named in the Bahama leaks for having helped incorporate and administer over 2,000 Bahamas corporations with names like Bifocal Holdings, Bear With Me Corp. and Zizi Ocean Ltd.

MÉDAC and Oxfam are spearheading a “Stop Tax Havens” advocacy and awareness campaign.

As part of the campaign in February, more than 100 organizations and public figures from the fields of health, education, the environment, trade unions, research, international cooperation, business, arts and culture, Poverty, youth and the defense of human rights issued a joint declaration demanding governments to end the era of tax havens.

“Taxes are necessary to ensure that all people have access to essential public services, such as Health services and education,” the declaration read. “They also provide a framework for economic activity by Development and application of social and environmental standards. They are essential in the fight against Inequalities and allow millions of people out of poverty. A fair taxation therefore benefits To the greatest number”

“However, the current tax system is not fair,” the declaration added. “An international network of tax havens allows multinational corporations and holders of large fortunes to circumvent the tax and thus deprive the Treasuries of States of hundreds of billions of dollars each year.”

CIBC has recently come under fire for axing 130 Canadians and forcing them to train their replacements from India, a move staunchly defended by CEO Victor Dodig.

“I understand that outsourcing isn’t a popular decision,” Dodig wrote in an internal memo. “Companies that stand still don’t stand the test of time.”

CIBC made $1.4 billion profit last quarter, while Dodig earned an estimated $8.5 million last year, an increase of 40% from the year before.

[Image Credit: Oxfam]