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6 Feb 2020

Janice Dickson, The Globe and Mail

Parliamentarians introduce modern slavery bill in the Canadian Senate that would require companies to disclose forced labour in their production process

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"Proposed bill would require Canadian companies to disclose forced labour in their production process," 6 Feb 2020

Canadian companies should be required to disclose whether their products are made through forced labour, three parliamentarians said as they introduced new legislation in the Senate... [The bill] would require some companies to disclose what they are doing to prevent and reduce forced labour used at any step of the production process... [and give the] Minister of Public Safety the power to order an investigation if the company fails to comply, and it would amend the Customs Tariff to allow for a prohibition on the importation of goods manufactured or produced by forced labour or child labour. If a company fails to comply with the reporting requirements or obstructs an investigation into the company, it could face a fine of $250,000... Liberal MP John McKay said it would be companies of significant size – such as 250 employees, or $40-million in sales, or which have $20-million in assets or are listed on a stock exchange – that will be required to file a report with the Public Safety Minister

... [D]irectors and officers of the company will have a personal liability if they fail to file, or if the information filed is false or misleading... [I]f the minister is not satisfied with the report, they will have the powers to conduct an investigation, which could include access to the premises and seizure of materials, such as computers and documents... “While this bill does not address working conditions or provide a provision for whistleblower protections, IJM Canada recognizes the acceptance of this bill would prepare the ground for further legislation, which would do much more than impose the strong reporting requirements that are being proposed here,”... said [Kevin] Dixon [at IJM Canada].