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Submission to UN expert on contemporary forms of slavery

In a joint submission with the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, we’ve written to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery to share our concerns that Canadian laws are inadequate to prevent or remedy forced labour in companies’ supply chains.

The UN special rapporteur on contemporary form of modern slavery, meeting with representative of Canadian civil society organizations in Ottawa, August 2023
A photo from our subsequent meeting, alongside other civil society groups, with Professor Obokata in August 2023.

Professor Tomoya Obokata
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

May 31, 2023

Dear Professor Obokata,

Above Ground and the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) welcome the opportunity to inform preparations for your upcoming visit to Canada. What follows is a brief by Above Ground outlining gaps in existing Canadian laws and policies on forced labour abroad, and including commentary from the CNCA on Canada’s new corporate reporting law, the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act. We show that Canada lacks measures requiring companies to exercise due diligence, its forced labour import ban has gone largely unenforced, and its new law requires no action by companies to address the issue.

We would also welcome the opportunity to meet with you during your visit.

Above Ground works to ensure that companies based in Canada or supported by the Canadian state respect human rights and the environment wherever they operate. Above Ground is a member of the CNCA.

The CNCA advocates for mandatory corporate accountability standards for Canadian companies operating abroad. The network brings together forty human rights, environmental, labour, faith-based and solidarity groups from across Canada. It represents the concerns of millions of Canadians and is connected with communities, workers, Indigenous peoples, and environmental and human rights defenders from around the world.

Sincerely,

Karen Hamilton
Director
Above Ground

Aidan Gilchrist-Blackwood
Network Coordinator
Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability

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Read the full submission: