May 3rd, 2023
New Democrats call for real action on forced and child labour in Canadian supply chains
OTTAWA – On Wednesday, New Democrats will vote against a private member’s bill that does nothing to fight forced labour and child labour in Canadian supply chains—S-211. Instead, the NDP will keep fighting for bills introduced by NDP MPs in this Parliament, C-262 and C-263, which would require businesses to establish processes to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights abuses and ensure companies are liable when they cause harm in their global operations.
“Many Canadian companies actively profit off of unsafe working conditions in their international supply chains. Canadians want to be reassured that the products they buy come from ethical sources. New Democrats have long called for legislation to hold Canadian companies accountable for human rights abuses, labour rights violations, and environmental destruction. Bill S-211 does none of this,” said NDP foreign affairs critic MP Heather McPherson (Edmonton Strathcona). “Bill S-211 gives the appearance of taking action while requiring no changes from companies operating globally that may use child or forced labour.”
The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), a network of 40 organizations and unions from across the country, does not support Bill S-211 and has described the bill as “a diversion” that may dampen growing momentum to address corporate abuse abroad.
“We wanted to make this bill work, and we proposed six strong amendments at the committee stage, all of which were rejected for no good reason,” said McPherson. “Instead, the Liberals chose to fast-track a weak bill rather than make necessary changes to ensure this legislation would have teeth. The NDP will keep pushing for mandatory due diligence legislation to ensure that Canadian companies are not contributing to human rights abuses abroad.”