Canadian Govt. urged to follow UK's example & introduce modern slavery legislation
Author: Josh Scheinert, iPolitics (Canada), Published on: 9 March 2016
A man is lured abroad by the promise of a good job, only to find out he was lied to. In the 22 years of captivity that follow, he is beaten, chained and starved as he slaves to catch fish that then enter the global supply chain, winding up on grocery store shelves and dinner tables around the world. It sounds fanciful. It’s not...The world’s largest food company, Nestlé, commissioned its own study and confirmed in November 2015 that forced labour, trafficking and child labour could be traced to some of its products (the company’s response is here). Walmart and Costco also have been implicated, as have Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Two of the companies the AP linked to human slavery and fishing, Kongphop Frozen Foods and The Siam Union Frozen Foods, sell to Canada. Knowing this – that fish and seafood products in Canada likely have been caught by human slaves – the question remains: What are we going to do about it? For answers, we can look to recent legislation enacted in the U.S. and U.K. These new laws offer guidance and a practical path forward to end Canadian complicity in modern-day slavery...Last week, President Barack Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act into law. The Act amends a previous law that permitted companies to import goods made by slaves into the U.S. if it was necessary to meet domestic demand. With the loophole now closed, the U.S. can end the import of a number of goods, including fish and shrimp from Thailand, that the U.S. Department of Labor says are connected to child and forced labor. In the U.K., the Modern Slavery Act 2015 entered into force last October. The law imposes transparency and due-diligence obligations on companies to publicize steps they have taken to ensure that their businesses and supply chain are free from human slavery and trafficking. If a company has not taken any steps, it must say so...The Canadian government should follow the U.K.’s lead....the government should also require Canadian companies to take proactive steps to ensure their supply chains are free of slave labour. A 2015 World Vision study confirmed that 87 per cent of Canadians support transparency requirements as a means to combat labour and trafficking issues. Such an approach signals an appreciation for the crucial role businesses and consumers can and must play in ending human slavery.