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April 29th, 2013

Bangladesh tragedy highlights the need for corporate accountability rules

OTTAWA – Following the Bangladesh factory tragedy, NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) is urging the federal government to ensure that Canadian businesses incorporate greater corporate responsibility in their business practises.

“It is with tremendous sadness and horror that we’ve watched the events in Bangladesh unfold. No one should leave for work in the morning and not make it home,” said Dewar. “The strong Canadian consumer response demonstrates that Canadians feel that it is our responsibility to demand better working conditions in the countries we trade with, and we expect our government to take action.”

An Ipsos Reid survey last year found that nearly 80 per cent of Canadians are willing to take action to ensure that the goods they use aren’t causing hardship or death in other countries. Consumer pressure has prompted some overseas factories to improve labour and safety conditions. There have also been calls for independent auditors to ensure that standards are met and that vendors who fail to meet requirements are excluded.

“While the Retail Council of Canada is holding an urgent meeting, and Joe Fresh is taking steps to investigate the tragedy, all we’ve gotten from the Conservatives are platitudes,” said Dewar. “Canadians deserve better.”