Canada move towards Modern Slavery Act

The Canadian government have taken another step towards implementing a modern slavery act, with an statement that consultations on corporate supply chain legislation will commence this year. The announcement comes in response to an October 2018 report titled A call to action: ending the use of all forms of child labour in supply chains, which highlighted modern slavery in Canadian supply chains.

The introduction of supply chain legislation is also supported by the corporate world, with new study finding that 76% of corporate respondents believe supply chain legislation “could benefit their company” and 88% of companies noting that they have experienced modern slavery related challenges. For the full study, click here.

According to President and CEO of World Vision Canada Michael Messenger, “the need for Canadian supply chain legislation is urgent. Each year, more than $34 billion of products are imported into Canada that may have been made by child or forced labour. Millions of children's futures depend on this legislation”. Messenger highlighted that support for legislation is high amongst citizens, with 91% of persons polled agreeing that the government should take this step. Since December, over 50,000 Canadians have signed a petition supporting the legislation.

The move has been supported by members on both sides of politics, and the issues is considered to”transcend partisan politics”. Bill Chambers, Presicent and CEO of Save the Children Canada highlighted this, stating that "Reducing the likelihood of child labour and human rights abuses in corporate supply chains transcends partisan politics and is something all political parties and leaders should rally behind. The coalition of NGOs looks forward to working closely with the government and others in the months ahead to contribute their expertise to a time-bound and inclusive process towards this legislation."

The report that sparked the discussion around modern slavery was published by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Subcomittee on International Human Rights. According to a government spokesperson, parliament have "fully reviewed the findings of the committee's report and will aim to achieve the goals it has identified".

For the full report, click here.

Sonja DuncanComment