May 2, 2022
The Liberal government has plans to “eradicate” slave-made imports already banned under the Customs Act, according to Public Works Minister Filomena Tassi.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the pledge follows the Senate’s approval last Thursday of a private bill mandating public reporting on ethical contracting by large Canadian corporations.
“This is critically important,” Tassi testified at the House of Commons government operations committee. “We know Canadians would not support any use of forced labour in our supply chain.”
“I am going to work with the minister of labour to move forward on legislation to eradicate forced labour in supply chains,” said Tassi. “I think it is really important. We have made some steps forward.”
Tassi said the Department of Public Works now includes standard language on ethical contracting in agreements with suppliers. “There are now terms and conditions in contracts that state if there is forced labour that is used we can terminate the contract,” said Tassi. “It gives us the power to do that.”
Liberal MP Majid Jowhari (Richmond Hill, ON) asked what was being done to ensure Canada is procuring ethically sourced goods.“The forced labour issue is one that’s important to me,” replied Tassi.
The Senate on April 28 passed Bill S-211 An Act To Amend The Customs Tariff that would mandate annual reporting by importers with a minimum $40 million in revenues on measures taken to ensure goods are not slave-made. The bill is pending in the House of Commons.
Advocates testifying on March 1 at the Senate human rights committee criticized the bill as weak. “Bill S-211 does not require companies to stop using and profiting from child or forced labour,” said Emily Dwyer, policy director with the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability.