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441-00731 (Justice)

Petition to the House of Commons


  • Modern slavery is deeply embedded in Canadian economic supply chains;
  • Approximately 152 million children are in child labour and 20 million people in forced labour today;
  • It is estimated that more than 1,200 companies operating in Canada that are at risk of being produced by child or forced labourers;
  • Approximately $20 billion (CAD) worth of goods imported each year are at-risk of being produced through modern slavery;
  • Large companies are not required to report measures taken to prevent modern slavery in their supply chains; and
  • Canada has committed to Target 8.7 of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate all forms of child labour by 2025.

We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to pass S-211, An Act to enact the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act and to amend the Customs Tariff, if and when it is passed by the Senate and sent to the House for consideration.

Response by the Minister of Labour

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): TERRY SHEEHAN

The Minister of Labour, with support from the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, is working to advance legislation to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains and ensure that Canadian businesses operating abroad do not contribute to human rights abuses, as reflected in the December 2021 mandate letter commitment.

Further to this commitment, the Government published the Labour exploitation in global supply chains: What We Heard Report ( in March 2022, which provides a summary of past consultations on possible measures to address labour exploitation in supply chains. Stakeholders were invited to review the Report and share any additional feedback. Submissions were received from a range of organizations and individuals and the Government will continue to consider the results of consultations moving forward.

Parliament is actively engaged on this matter and there was unanimous support to have Bill S-211, An Act to enact the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act and to amend the Customs Tariff, studied by Committee. The Bill passed through the Senate in spring 2022 and was referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) with unanimous support in the House on June 1, 2022.

The Government supports the referral of Bill S-211 to FAAE and will look to strengthen the proposed legislation. The committee began its study of the Bill on September 26, 2022, by inviting the Sponsors of the Bill, Member of Parliament (MP) John McKay and Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne, to appear as witnesses.

This is a complex endeavour that requires careful consideration of supply chain legislation appropriate to the Canadian context. It remains a relatively novel undertaking, and the effectiveness of various legislative models is yet to be determined. For that reason, we will continuously re-evaluate and reassess the steps we take on this matter.

Supply chain legislation is just one tool, among many, needed to address forced labour and other forms of exploitation. The Government also has in place a variety of other initiatives to prevent and address exploitation in global supply chains and to promote responsible business conduct (RBC) abroad.

For example, Canada is party to a number of conventions aimed at protecting human rights, including conventions addressing situations of child labour and forced labour. The Government continues to negotiate into Canada’s free trade agreements enforceable obligations to address child and forced labour. Trade sanctions or financial penalties can be imposed on free trade partners that do not live up to these obligations.

In addition, the Government introduced the prohibition on the importation of goods produced in whole or in part by forced labour, which came into force under the Customs Tariff on July 1, 2020. This implemented an obligation in the Labour Chapter of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), and applies to all goods regardless of country of origin.

Furthermore, the Government’s National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking enhances Canada’s efforts to combat human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labour, both domestically and internationally. The National Strategy is a multi-department horizontal initiative centred on prevention, protection, prosecutions, partnerships, and survivors’ empowerment. As part of this National Strategy, the Government of Canada committed to promoting ethical corporate practices by encouraging industry partners to implement changes in their supply chains to prevent and reduce the risk of forced labour in government procurement supply chains.

On the public procurement front, Canada has strengthened its contracting regime to ensure that federal suppliers adhere to the highest ethical standards and treat their workers with dignity. To this end, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has updated its Code of Conduct for Procurement to include expectations for suppliers and their subcontractors on human and labour rights. In addition, PSPC has implemented new anti-forced labour contract clauses to ensure that it can terminate contracts where there is credible information that goods have been produced in whole or in part by forced labour or human trafficking. The clauses also enable contract termination if goods do not clear customs because of breaches under the prohibition on the importation of goods produced with forced labour in the Customs Tariff. PSPC also recently awarded a contract to map international due diligence obligations for businesses to report on actions taken to address the risks of forced labour, human trafficking, and human rights violations in their supply chains. This research will inform ongoing activities designed to ensure that suppliers of goods and services apply the highest ethical and sustainability standards across their supply chains.

On January 12, 2021, in coordination with international partners, Canada announced measures in response to concerns about human rights violations in the People’s Republic of China involving members of the Uyghur ethnic minority and other minorities within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang). These include a specialized Xinjiang Integrity Declaration as a prerequisite for Canadian companies with business ties to the region to receive Trade Commissioner Service support; a business advisory on Xinjiang-related entities; enhanced advice to Canadian businesses; export controls; increased awareness-raising for RBC related to Xinjiang; and a study on forced labour and supply chain risks, which is available on Global Affairs Canada’s website.

At the September 2022 G7 Trade and Investment Ministers Meeting, G7 partners committed to strengthen cooperation and collective efforts towards eradicating the use of all forms of forced labour and child labour in global supply chains. This commitment includes measures that promote corporate due diligence, as well as working to further enhance predictability and certainty for businesses.

The Government of Canada expects Canadian companies operating abroad to abide by all relevant laws, to respect human rights in all their activities abroad, and to adopt best practices and internationally respected guidelines on RBC, such as the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (, and the International Labour Organization Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy ( To this end, Global Affairs Canada released its RBC Strategy in April 2022, which sets out priorities for the Government of Canada to support Canadian businesses active abroad – no matter their size, sector, or scope – to integrate leading responsible business practices into their operations, including throughout their supply chains and to help them mitigate risks. The Strategy strengthens Canada’s balanced approach to RBC, which includes preventative measures, legislation in select areas, and access to dispute resolution.

The Government believes that a whole-of-government approach, including supply chain legislation, will be essential in addressing labour exploitation in Canadian supply chains and meeting Target 8.7 of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate forced labour and, by 2025, end all forms of child labour. We look forward to working closely with Parliamentarians, stakeholders and international partners to strengthen Canada’s approach and global efforts to address forced labour and other forms of exploitation.

Presented to the House of Commons
Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock)
October 4, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00731)
Government response tabled
November 17, 2022
Photo - Arnold Viersen
Peace River—Westlock
Conservative Caucus

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.