At RBC Canadian Open, bank under scrutiny for fossil finance, communities Rave Against RBC

Saturday June 11, 2022

With music, dancing, and a 4.5 metre-tall inflatable prop of RBC CEO Dave McKay, climate defenders gather to disrupt RBC’s Canadian Open


Photo credit: Morgan Yew, @weynagrom

Territories of Indigenous peoples including Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee),  Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Mississauga, Wendake-Nionwentsïo, so-called Toronto, Ontario, Canada – This week, in solidarity with Indigenous land defenders, climate organizers and communities brought a clear message straight to Royal Bank of Canada executives at RBC’s most prominent sponsored event the RBC Canadian Open: end fossil fuel finance and invest in a climate-safe future.

Following an action on Monday, and a disruption of the RBC Canadian Open on Friday, climate defenders gathered today for a “Rave Against RBC” outside the 18th hole within earshot of RBC executives’ private box where they host high-profile clients. 

Organized by youth-led Banking on a Better Future,, and activists and advocates rising in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en and Indigenous land defenders, participants featured DJs and dancing, banners and art reading “RBC: Canada’s #1 fossil bank,” and a 4.5 metre (15 foot) inflatable of RBC CEO Dave McKay on a bed of flames reading “RBC is Burning Our Future.” Digital ads targeting RBC’s financing of fossil fuels bombarded PGA spectators throughout the week.

“Publicly, RBC talks a big game about climate action and Indigenous reconciliation. In reality,  just this month, they’ve proudly bankrolled new financing for fossil fuel projects, making climate chaos like fires, floods, and deadly heat worse,” said Sarah Beuhler, Climate Finance Campaigner. “RBC CEO Dave McKay can’t ignore a 15 foot inflatable of himself, and he certainly can’t ignore the billions his bank finances in climate destruction and Indigenous rights-violating projects."

RBC is Canada’s #1 fossil bank and the fifth worst offender in the world, financing coal, oil, tar sands, and gas to the tune of $262 billion since the Paris agreement was signed in 2016. 

As RBC greenwashes its climate commitments and touts Indigenous reconciliation rhetoric, the bank is financing toxic fossil fuel projects around the world: from Coastal GasLink and Alberta tar sands, to a new LNG terminal in Louisiana, and the East African Crude Oil and TransMountain pipelinescarbon bombs set to trigger catastrophic climate and economic breakdown.

RBC is increasing financing of the dirtiest fossil fuel – tar sands; quietly bankrolling the TransMountain Pipeline; and abetting the world’s longest proposed oil pipeline in East Africa.

Right now in so-called British Columbia, Canada, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and Indigenous land defenders face a stand-off with the RBC-financed Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline and escalating police harassment, surveillance, and brutality on the territory. The RBC-financed project violates Wet’suwet’en rights and title, and lacks consent of Hereditary chiefs, who have been resisting the project for a decade.

There’s a growing and powerful movement rising in solidarity with Indigenous land defenders. Last month, members of the public submitted a Competition Bureau complaint, demanding an investigation into RBC’s misleading advertising about the company’s commitments to climate action while continuing to finance fossil fuel development. 

Over 65+ Hollywood celebrities, hundreds international justice organizations, and thousands of communities are demanding RBC end fossil fuel finance. 

Photo credit: Morgan Yew, @weynagrom