The bill would prohibit the importation of goods that fail to meet the labour standards as set out by the International Labour Organization Conventions and Protocols.
Ottawa (26 October 2009) – Last week, New Democrat International Trade Critic Peter Julian tabled Bill C-463, an Act to Prohibit Sweatshop Labour Goods in the federal Parliament. The bill would prohibit the importation of goods that fail to meet the labour standards as set out by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention and Protocols to which Canada has agreed to.
"Instead of exploiting poverty, we should make poverty history," said Julian. "Governments must challenge multinational corporations to respect the rights of their workers and to stop the exploitation of children and their families. One of the first steps would be to establish a new set of rules to this one sided approach to trade."
Multinational corporations are attracted to sweatshop ventures and economies because this allows them to relax environmental, safety, health regulations for vulnerable workers and cut their costs by as much as 50%.
Sweatshop workers consist primarily of women, and often children, who earn within a range of one to three dollars for a 12-16 hour workday in so-called free trade zones. Unionizing is either illegal, or violently discouraged.
"Bill C-463 would help ensure that all imported goods would meet the requirements of the ILO, help create and protect the jobs of Canadians, as well as those of Canada’s trading partners," said Julian. "It would help promote a fair trade policy which would in turn advance sustainable practices, domestic job creation, and healthy working conditions."
This Bill is the second piece in a series of "Fair Trade" legislative initiatives drafted by the New Democratic critic for international trade.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE