Government of Canada publishes report on labour exploitation in global supply chains

News release

March 11, 2022              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to upholding human rights and international labour standards. That means making sure that goods produced by forced labour do not enter Canada and that Canadian companies operating around the world observe responsible business practices.

Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour, announced the release of the Labour Exploitation in Global Supply Chains: What We Heard Report. This is an important step towards the Minister of Labour’s mandate commitment to introduce legislation to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains and advance concrete action to ensure that Canadian businesses operating abroad do not contribute to human rights abuses.

Throughout consultations stakeholders were clear that labour exploitation, including forced labour, is unacceptable and that the Government of Canada should take further action to prevent it. Participants agreed that the goal of any legislation should be to increase business awareness around forced labour and to improve practices. There was also a general consensus that legislation should be seen as one piece of a broader approach to addressing labour exploitation in supply chains.

While participants did note short-term costs associated with addressing forced labour, the long-term benefits were highlighted, particularly as more and more consumers are prioritizing ethical and transparent businesses. Stakeholders are invited to review the Report and share any additional feedback by April 8, 2022.

Over the past two years, the Government has introduced a number of initiatives to help tackle labour exploitation in global supply chains, such as a prohibition under the Customs Tariff on the importation of goods produced in whole or in part by forced labour and an updated Code of Conduct for Procurement to outline expectations for suppliers regarding human and labour rights. Forced labour is a complex problem that requires considerable work and collaboration between governments, industry and civil society.

The Government of Canada is also examining global best practices and analyzing key elements that are often part of supply chain legislation, in order to determine the appropriate approach for the Canadian context.  


“Forced labour is unacceptable in Canada or anywhere in the world. Our government will eliminate forced labour from our supply chains and make sure that Canadian businesses do not contribute to human rights abuses.”

– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour

“The Government of Canada is committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards for government procurement by ensuring that federal suppliers comply with international labour and human rights laws. With measures such as anti-forced labour contract clauses, we continue to support the Minister of Labour in protecting procurement supply chains from exposure to forced labour and human trafficking.”

– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Quick facts

  • Between May and July 2019, the Government of Canada received more than 120 online survey responses, sought the views of national Indigenous organizations and held in-person roundtable discussions in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver with more than 55 stakeholders. As part of this work, the Government of Canada has also gathered information on lessons learned and best practices from international partners and organizations

  • The International Labour Organization defines forced labour as all work or service which is demanded from any person under threat of a penalty and for which the person is not a willing participant. Signs of forced labour often include restriction of movement, withholding of wages, charging of prohibitive recruitment fees to at-risk groups, and intimidation or threats.

  • The International Labour Organization estimates there are nearly 25 million victims of forced labour worldwide. 

  • Since July 1, 2020, the Customs Tariff has prohibited the import into Canada of goods mined, manufactured or produced by forced labour.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Daniel Pollak
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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