Below is the cover letter of a joint submission by Above Ground and the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability to the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery ahead of his country visit to Canada. Our complete submission is available as a PDF.
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
Call for submissions ahead of visit to Canada
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.
Karen Hamilton, Director, Above Ground
Aidan Gilchrist-Blackwood, Network Coordinator, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability