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Canada: Liberal MP proposes modern slavery bill requiring Canadian companies to report on measures to reduce risk of forced labour

Author: Samantha Beattie, HuffPost Canada, Published on: 17 December 2018

A proposed federal bill is hoping to crack down on Canadian companies that import products tainted by child and forced labour. The Modern Slavery Bill, tabled in the House of Commons Thursday by Liberal MP John McKay, would require companies to publicly release a report every year, detailing what they've done to ensure their supply chains are transparent and free of goods and materials fully or partially produced by children and forced labourers... The bill would also give the Canadian Border Service Agency the power to ban these products and impose fines up to $250,000... As many as 1,200 Canadian companies could be importing products made by children and forced labourers — from bananas to carpets, shoes to emeralds and toys to Christmas decorations, according to World Vision... "Legislation like this is helping companies do the right thing and protect human rights," Lewchuk told HuffPost Canada on Friday. "The reality is currently these issues aren't being talked about very much at all by politicians, so if anything this bill is advancing a conversation."... Only a handful of companies voluntarily disclose (at least in part) how they're addressing the issue, including Gildan Activewear, Loblaw, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Hudson's Bay, according to World Vision... "I appreciate for some companies, a $250,000 fine is the price of doing business," [John McKay] told HuffPost Canada. "A company that doesn't file a report at all will have greater problems with reputation damage, a greater economic impact."

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Related companies: Gildan Activewear Hudson's Bay Loblaw Companies Mountain Equipment Co-op