Help us combat forced labour

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Help us combat forced labour

Forced labour is a pervasive and unacceptable problem in global supply chains, affecting an estimated 24.9 million people worldwide. To help address this situation, the Government is taking action to ensure that products associated with this practice do not enter the country.

Prohibition on the importation of goods made by forced labour

As of July 1, 2020, as part of the implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, it is illegal to import goods that are mined, manufactured or produced wholly or in part by forced labour.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has the responsibility to provide integrated border security and facilitate the flow of legitimate travellers and goods entering Canada. The Agency takes these responsibilities seriously. Speaking generally, all goods entering Canada may be subject to a more in-depth exam. The CBSA uses a risk management approach when determining which goods entering Canada require a secondary examination.

As outlined in CBSA Customs Notice 20-23, goods that are mined, manufactured or produced wholly or in part by forced labour will be prohibited from entering Canada pursuant to tariff item No. 9897.00.00 of the Customs Tariff

The CBSA’s role is to apply the tariff when it has sufficient evidence to do so. Tariff classification determinations are made on a case-by-case basis for each specific importation intercepted, based on available supporting evidence and analysis. Shipments containing goods suspected of being produced by forced labour are detained at the border for inspection by a border services officer. If in the judgement of the officer the goods were produced by forced labour, the officer will apply the tariff classification under chapter 9897 and prohibit the goods from entering Canada. To date, the CBSA has not applied the tariff prohibition against goods for production by forced labour.

CBSA enforcement action is supported by information provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), which conducts research on potentially problematic supply chains.

Advisory on doing business with Xinjiang-related entities

Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service have issued an advisory to bring attention to human rights violations in China affecting Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) to help Canadian firms and stakeholders understand the legal and reputational risks posed to companies whose supply chains engage with entities possibly implicated in forced labour. Please visit the following link for more information: Measures Related to the Human Rights Situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The role of government suppliers

As the Government’s procurement authority, Public Services and Procurement Canada is reminding all suppliers of their obligation to ensure that their supply chains are free of forced labour. Ethically, it’s the right thing to do, and from a business perspective it could prevent costly import challenges.

Combatting forced labour will require a sustained and shared effort. We are committed to working closely with suppliers to ensure that Canada is doing its part to address this serious problem.

Additional Action Against Forced Labour

PSPC has recently launched a consultation process to update our Code of Conduct for Procurement to outline Canada’s expectations for suppliers regarding human and labour rights. We are seeking input from the supplier community, non-governmental organizations, and experts, on proposed updates to the Code of Conduct for Procurement. We will continue to engage stakeholders to ensure the Code remains relevant.

We have also launched a Request for Proposals to conduct a risk assessment to identify which goods we purchased are at risk of having been produced using human trafficking, forced labour, and/or child labour. We anticipate awarding this contract in the coming weeks. The findings of this assessment will help us to develop an evidence-based approach to protect procurement supply chains from exposure to forced labour.

Learn more about forced labour

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have a number of helpful resources for businesses to learn about supply chain risks and potential mitigation strategies.

We encourage our suppliers to review the information below:

UN OHCHR

OECD

OSCE