IN THE NEWS ~ MP puts sights on sweatshop labour

Burnaby Now
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A local MP is throwing his efforts into battling sweatshop labour. Earlier today, Burnaby-New Westminster, MP Peter Julian, who is the international trade critic for the NDP, tabled a bill titled Act to Prohibit Sweatshop Labour Goods.

The bill would prohibit the importation of goods that fail to meet the labour standards set out by the International Labour Organization Convention and Protocols. "Instead of exploiting poverty, we should make poverty history," said Julian.

"Governments must challenge multinational corporations to respect the rights of their workers and to stop the exploitation of children and their families. One of the first steps would be to establish a new set of rules to this one-sided approach to trade."

Julian says that corporations are attracted to sweatshops because it allows them to relax environmental and safty regulations and cut their costs by as much as 50 per cent. Most sweatshop workers are women, or children, who earn between $1 and $3 per day for 12 to 16 hour workdays.

"Bill C-463 would help ensure that all imported goods would meet the requirements of the ILO, help create and protect the jobs of Canadians, as well as those of Canada's trading partners," said Julian. "It would help promote a fair trade policy which would in turn advance sustainable practices, domestic job creation, and healthy working conditions."

Julian is currently working on a series of "fair trade" legislative initiatives.

© Burnaby Now 2009