On Monday, April 24, at 12 noon, at Phillips Square in Montreal, a national rally will be held to:
- Demonstrate the solidarity of Canadians and Quebeckers with workers in the fast fashion industry in Bangladesh and elsewhere
- Denounce the inaction of Canada, Canadian companies and their overseas subsidiaries to protect the human rights of the people who produce our clothing and other products, and to prevent environmental damage
Support workers in the fast fashion industry!
What happened at Rana Plaza?
On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which housed many textile workshops, was found to have serious structural defects and failed to meet safety standards. Despite their fears on the eve of the disaster, the workers were forced to return. On the morning of 24 April, in less than 90 seconds, the building collapsed, killing more than 1,130 people and injuring more than 2,500, the vast majority women.
What has happened since?
Thanks to the work of the Bangladeshi trade union movement and international solidarity, an international agreement on health and safety in the textile and garment industry was signed by several actors, including major garment brands. It has led to several improvements in building safety. But the textile industry continues to primarily be a source of profit for transnational companies, including many Canadian brands, at the expense of the working conditions of Bangladeshi workers, mostly women, and of the environment worldwide. Moreover, the average salary of these workers is far too low to cover the needs of their families.
What has Canada done to prevent the next Rana Plaza and protect the human rights of fast-fashion workers?
More or less nothing. Ten years after the Rana Plaza disaster, Canada still has no laws in place to effectively prevent the next Rana Plaza disaster, or the other human rights abuses and environmental destruction that continue to be associated with the global operations and supply chains of Canadian companies and companies that import goods into Canada.
What should Canada do now?
Canada should pass legislation to prevent and act against human rights abuses, including labour rights, and environmental destruction by Canadian companies and their suppliers. To date, over 43,000 people have signed the petition for a human rights and environmental due diligence law.
What can we do as Canadians?
- Participate in the Rana Plaza Rally on Monday, 24 April 2023, from noon to 1pm, in Montreal (Tiohtiá:ke), at Phillips Square (Facebook event) (images to share)
- Sign and share the petition for human rights and environmental due diligence legislation
When: Monday, April 24, noon to 1pm
Where: Montreal, Phillips Square
Accessibility: Phillips Square has fairly wide walkways and no stairs. It is also 500m from Place des Arts metro, which is accessible to people with reduced mobility.
Interpretation: Quebec sign language (LSQ) interpretation will be available on site.
Organizers: CNCA, CISO, Development and Peace, Oxfam Canada, AQOCI, and the CQMMF, which marks April 24 as an international day of feminist solidarity each year.
Press conference (before): Prior to the event, at 11am at the Gesù (1200 Bleury), a few minutes walk away. The location is wheelchair-accessible.
Educational activity (after): The rally will be followed by an inclusive education activity at the Gesù (1200 Bleury), a few minutes walk away. The location is wheelchair-accessible. We invite you to bring your lunch.
Campaign: What She Makes (Oxfam Canada)
Campaign: Justice for Global Garment Workers (United Steelworkers of Canada)
Campaign: Rana Plaza Never Again
Comparative Chart: Don’t Mistake Reporting for Accountability (CNCA)
Images: Shareables for the April 24th Rally (CNCA)
Info sheets: Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Legislation in Canada ; model legislation, media backgrounder, FAQs (CNCA)
News: Canadian unions have not forgotten Rana Plaza (Rabble.ca)
News: Groups ask for investigation into Canadian Tire’s ‘poverty-level wages’ at Bangladeshi factories (The Globe & Mail)
News: Ten years since Rana Plaza and still no laws to prevent a similar tragedy (Amnesty International Canada)
Report: Fashioning Justice: A call for mandatory and comprehensive human rights due diligence in the garment industry (Clean Clothes Campaign)
Report: Not Even the Bare Minimum: Bangladeshi Garment Workers’ Wages and the Responsibility of Canadian Brands (Steelworkers Humanity Fund)
Statement: Protect the women who make our clothes: Canada’s unions and civil society organizations call for action (Canadian Labour Congress)
Tool: Companies & Brands Research Tools (Maquila Solidarity Network)
Video: Companies need to do better – Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (Development & Peace / Caritas Canada)
Video: The International Accord on Health and Safety (Clean Clothes Campaign)