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Canada: Parliamentary report requests Govt. develop legislation that motivates business to eliminate child labour

In November and December 2017, the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development undertook a study on child labour in supply chains. The Subcommittee received testimony and written briefs from representatives from non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academics, the ILO, and Government of Canada officials to inform the drafting of this study. The study includes several recommendations for how Canada can contribute to eliminating child labour and forced labour through its international assistance; support for education, law enforcement and judicial systems; free trade negotiations; engagement with Canadian businesses; procurement policies; and legislative and policy initiatives. 

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Article
16 October 2018

A call to action: ending the use of all forms of child labour in supply chains

[T]he Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (the Subcommittee) undertook a study on child labour in supply chains in November and December 2017... The Subcommittee recommends that the Government of Canada systematically focus on eliminating all forms of child labour, including by enhancing its support for programs that target child labour’s root causes... Despite the progress made by certain industries [with voluntary CSR guidelines and initiatives]...witnesses identified persistent challenges. For example, companies’ internal audits usually extend to only the first tier of production and capture just a single point in time, while human rights violations such as child labour tend to exist further down the supply chain and represent an ongoing issue. Likewise, when best practices are not disseminated, the result is an uneven playing field for businesses. The Subcommittee thus recommends that the Government of Canada enhance its support to Canadian businesses abroad to build their capacity to monitor their supply chains for child labour and to share best practices.

... With due consideration for Canada’s constitutional division of powers, the Subcommittee recommends that the Government of Canada advance legislative and policy measures to further motivate businesses to eliminate the use of all forms of child labour in their supply chains. The Government of Canada will have the benefit of evaluating models chosen by like-minded states... Canada has already taken the first steps towards the elimination of child labour in supply chains. Nevertheless, global progress to eliminate the use of child labour has stalled. The time to take more concerted action, in the form of legislative and policy initiatives that motivate businesses to end the use of child labour, is now.

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Article
16 October 2018

Canadian investors call for transparency from companies on slavery in global supply chains

Author: Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE)

Canadian investors support the recommendation of a Parliamentary report released this week calling for legislation to ensure businesses disclose steps they are taking to address child labour and forced labour in global supply chains, according to the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), the leading investor voice on human rights and responsible investment in Canada.

“No investor wants to be associated with egregious human rights abuses like forced or child labour. An effective and fair regulatory regime helps promote the kind of responsible business practices that de-risk investments and promote positive growth for investors,” says Delaney Greig, Manager of Engagement and Policy at SHARE. “When it’s coupled with clear public disclosure requirements, investors are better able to play their part in ending human rights abuses in global supply chains.”

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Article
16 October 2018

Fairtrade Canada statement on ending child and forced labour in supply chains

Author: Fairtrade Canada

Fairtrade Canada applauds today’s call to end exploitative child labour published by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. The report entitled, “A Call to Action: Ending the Use of All Forms of Child Labour in Supply Chains,” offers concrete, actionable recommendations, including legislative action, to work towards the eradication of child and forced labour in supply chains... “The Canadian Government has the opportunity to become a world leader by creating a model Modern Slavery Act. Given the scope and scale of the problem, no country can turn a blind eye to the realities of modern slavery,” says Julie Francoeur, Executive Director at Fairtrade Canada. “The Government must commit to taking bold and immediate action to address child and forced labour in supply chains.”... To ensure concrete, enforceable actions, this task force should include civil society, trade union, investor, private sector and government representatives operating with clear timelines and deliverables, to advise on the options for and details of supply chain legislation and regulations... The Government of Canada has a moral and ethical obligation to use the recommendations in this report to not ONLY address child and forced labour in Canadian supply chains, but also contribute to the eradication of modern slavery worldwide.

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Article
16 October 2018

Government must enact viable solutions to end child labour

Author: Canadian Labour Congress

“The inexcusable use of child labour and slavery in the operations and supply chains of Canadian companies has to stop,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “Although we are pleased that the Subcommittee’s report recognizes the importance of eliminating these practices globally and proposes a series of recommendations, the report does not go far enough in proposing a comprehensive and concrete plan to address this problem.”... In 2000, Canada ratified ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour, and in 2016 ratified ILO Convention 138 on minimum age. Despite these important steps and growing national and international calls to action, including from the G20 and the UN General Assembly, child and forced labour continue to plague the supply chains of Canadian companies... The CLC supports the Committee report recommendations.

... The elimination of child and forced labour requires a comprehensive approach that includes a package of tools and measures. This package must include the immediate appointment of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise that, as announced by the government last January, is independent and has robust investigatory powers. It must also include legislation mandating human rights due diligence in the business operations and supply chains of Canadian enterprises. The government must also strengthen policy coherence in free trade and investment agreements, general preferential tariffs, international assistance and public procurement.

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Article
16 October 2018

New Government of Canada report calls for legislation to address supply chain risk in consumer products

Author: World Vision Canada

Canada's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development has issued a new report entitled: "A Call to Action: Ending the Use of All Forms of Child Labour in Supply Chains." The report offers realistic solutions, including legislative action, that can and should be adopted to address child and forced labour in Canadian supply chains, according to World Vision, Canada's largest international development and relief organization... World Vision... urges the Government of Canada to immediately take the next critical steps by formally committing to working with civil society, trade unions, investors, and the private sector to design the right supply chain legislation for Canada... "This report reconfirms that it's time for the Government of Canada to introduce legislation to address the risk of child and forced labour in our supply chains," says Michael Messenger, President of World Vision Canada... Other countries are already taking action, Canada needs to commit to federal supply chain legislation or risk falling behind on promoting responsible business and human rights including the protection of children from exploitation and harm."

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