The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise says Canadian clothing companies have limited awareness about whether child labour could be being used in their global supply chains.
The government institution says in a new report that Canadian garment companies face challenges tracing their supply chains from origin to consumer, and aren't always aware of what goes on at of every level of their production.
It says Canada should adopt mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation to ensure clothing companies can successfully address human rights risks within their operations.
The report, which involved interviews with 10 Canadian garment companies as well as five other organizations, found that while confirmed cases of child labour in global supply chains were rare among the companies surveyed, that was likely because of limited supply chain transparency.
The ombudsperson says the success of Bill S-211, a proposed law on forced labour, will depend on how effective Canadian companies are at enhancing transparency in their supply chains, and urged the government to require reporting on every level of production.
A recent report by World Vision Canada found the value of Canadian imports of products at risk of being produced by child labour or forced labour totalled almost $48 billion in 2021.