Victory: Public service pension manager sells stake in for-profit prisons

After pressure from PSAC to act urgently, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSPIB) has finished selling all its shares in two for-profit prison companies. PSPIB is a federal crown corporation that manages the pension plans of federal public service workers.

According to recent media reports, PSPIB bought shares in CoreCivic and GeoGroup, two U.S.-based for-profit private prison operators involved in the detention of families fleeing dictatorial regimes in Central and South America. They have both been associated with severe overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and children living in squalor, which in some cases have resulted in death.

Prior to the sale, PSPIB’s stake in the two companies was valued at nearly $5 million. In its response to PSAC’s concerns, the pension plan manager said it will work to better integrate environmental, social and governance considerations in its future investments.

PSAC learned of members’ exposure to the for-profit prison industry even after PSPIB indicated in 2019, following inquiries by PSAC, that it did not own any shares of CoreCivic and GeoGroup.

“This is an important victory,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “Our members have told us many times that they don’t want their pensions to profit from human suffering.”

“But our work is not done. The pension plan manager must also stop profiting from the suffering of our elders in private long term care. It must end its sole ownership of Revera long term care homes and work with governments to make them public.”


March 19, 2021