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1 Jun 2022

Steven Chase, The Globe and Mail

Canadian Members of Parliament support bill on company transparency regarding modern slavery, civil society says bill still falls short

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have thrown their support behind a Senate bill requiring government and businesses to annually report on steps they have taken to identify forced labour in their supply chains.

This means Bill S-211 stands a good chance of becoming law once it finishes moving through the House of Commons. The legislation, which has already passed the Senate, also passed second reading in the Commons by a vote of 327-0 on Wednesday. It now heads to committee for further study.

... Bill S-211, Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act, would require government institutions and businesses to submit annual reports to Ottawa outlining any steps taken during the previous fiscal year to prevent and reduce the risk that forced labour or child labour are being used at any step in their supply chains.

Critics say the bill falls short ... .

... “There is no requirement to take any steps. There is no certification scheme, nor attestation that the supply chains are free of forced labour. There is only a requirement to report annually on if you took any steps, and your assessment of how effective they are. There is actually no requirement to report if you identify forced labour,” said Emily Dwyer, policy director at the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability.

... The legislation would take effect as early as January, 2023, if it receives royal assent this year.