November 17, 2021
TORONTO — The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) says it has intercepted a shipment from China on the grounds that the products were made using forced labour.
The CBSA confirmed in an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca that it had intercepted a shipment of women’s and children’s clothing originating from China that was received in Quebec.
The agency declined to share any details about the importer, citing confidentiality rules in the Customs Act.
It’s the first acknowledgement of an interception of its kind since the federal government amended the Customs Tariff to officially ban the import of goods made wholly or in part by forced labour.
These new laws came into force in July 2020, as part of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement, amid widespread reports from human rights advocates that China has subjected Uyghurs and other Turkic minority ethnic groups to forced labour in Xinjiang province.
The CBSA says it will continue to work alongside Employment and Social Development Canada’s Labour Program to investigate complaints and allegations pertaining to imports made using forced labour.
“Unlike most other inadmissible goods, there is no visual indicator for a border services officer to validate the labour standards by which a particular good was produced,” a spokesperson from the agency said.
“It takes research and coordination amongst all stakeholders to establish reliable and actionable sources of information to administer the prohibition.”