A new report, entitled “Who benefits? An Investigation of Foreign Ownership in the Oil Sands,” has revealed that 70 percent of Canadian oil sands production is owned by foreign companies and shareholders.

The report was published by Canadian environmental groups Environmental Defence, Équiterre, and Stand.earth.

According to their findings, the majority of profits from the industry are leaving the country. Between 2012 and 2016, foreign-controlled operational profit rose from 31.6 to 58.4 percent.

In the first three quarters of 2019, the Big Five oil sands companies – Suncor, CNRL, Cenovus, Imperial Oil, and Husky – transferred roughly $8 billion to their predominantly foreign shareholders.

This chart from the report contrasts the percentage of Canadian versus non-Canadian ownership of some of the most prominent oil sands companies.

The data highlighted in the report refutes a key talking point of Alberta’s United Conservative government. Premier Jason Kenney has repeatedly accused environmentalists and advocacy groups of being part of a foreign-funded conspiracy, even going so far as to launch a public inquiry.  A data-based analysis of these same groups has shown that Conservatives’ claims aren’t based on evidence.

Meanwhile, the new report investigating foreign ownership of the oil sands has flipped the script on the Kenney government. While the Premier continues to portray climate action and its proponents as “un-Canadian,” the very industry he defends has been unmasked as a largely foreign enterprise.