NEWS ~ IN THE HOUSE ~ Tabling of Private Member's Bill C-378, An Act to prohibit sweatshop labour goods

Context : Introduction of Private Members' Bills

(please find petition below - svp veuillez trouver la pétition ci-dessous)

Bill C-378. Introduction and first reading

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-378, An Act to prohibit sweatshop labour goods.

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Joliette for seconding the first reading of this bill.

    As members know, Canada is a signatory of the International Labour Organization Convention. It talks about five labour standards that exist within the International Labour Organization and they are enforced here in Canada. They are: the right of association; the right to bargain collectively; the prohibition on the use of any forced or compulsory labour; a minimum age for employment of children; and acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work and occupational health and safety.

    We enforce these regulations and standards here in Canada, but there are often companies abroad that do not enforce them. Because of that unfortunate situation, and because of our clear belief in fair trade policies that set a higher standard around the world, today I am tabling this private member's bill to say that sweat-shop goods should not be brought into Canada. There should not be a way of getting around the ILO standards.

    We must ensure that the right of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining is enforced. In areas where there is compulsory labour, no right to free association and to organize collectively, where those fundamental human rights are violated, Canada should say no to the goods coming from those sweat shops.

    I am very proud to table this bill and I hope it receives support from all members of the House.

    In closing, I would like to thank the students of Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto. With their Voices Through Choices Campaign, they are strong supporters of ending sweat-shop labour.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)


DECEMBER 7, 2011




OTTAWA - Today, Peter Julian, MP (Burnaby—New Westminster) reintroduced Bill C-378, An Act to Prohibit Sweatshop Labour Goods. The bill would prohibit the importation of goods that fail to meet labour standards recognized by International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions and protocols to which Canada has agreed to.


“Instead of exploiting poverty we should be working to make poverty history. If we want to stand up for human rights and discourage the practice of sweatshops, we must first stop marketing products from corporations that do not respect basic ILO labour standards. This will help promote a fair trade policy, it will help advance sustainable practices, domestic job creation and healthy working conditions,” said Julian.


Multinational corporations are attracted to sweatshop ventures and economies because this allows them to relax environmental, safety and health regulations for vulnerable workers and cut their costs by as much as 50 percent. Sweatshop workers are mostly women and children who earn between one and three dollars for a 12-16 hour workday in so-called free trade zones. For them, there is little hope because unionizing is either illegal or extremely and often violently discouraged.


Sweatshop workers are often the victims of numerous human rights violations including starvation wages, unpaid and undocumented overtime, and aggression from their employers to meet crushing quotas all while working in hazardous environments.


“If these practices were occurring in Canada, there would be a massive outcry. We cannot treat it any differently just because it is happening somewhere else” said Julian.


Bill C-378 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.





For more information, please contact:

Peter Julian’s Office at 613.992.4214








OTTAWA – Aujourd’hui, Peter Julian, député (Burnaby-New Westminster), a présenté à nouveau le projet de loi C-378, Loi interdisant les marchandises produites dans les ateliers clandestins. Le projet de loi vise à interdire l’importation de marchandises qui ne respectent pas les normes du travail reconnues par la convention et les protocoles de l’Organisation internationale du travail (OIT) auxquels le Canada est partie.


« Au lieu d’exploiter la pauvreté, nous devrions travailler en vue de l’éradiquer. Si nous voulons défendre les droits de la personne et décourager l’exploitation d’ateliers clandestins, nous devons d’abord cesser de commercialiser les produits fabriqués par des sociétés qui ne respectent pas les normes de travail fondamentales de l’OIT. Nous encouragerions ainsi les pratiques commerciales équitables, la création d’emplois au Canada et les saines conditions de travail », a déclaré M. Julian.


Les multinationales s’intéressent aux ateliers clandestins et aux économies qui en vivent parce que cela leur permet d’échapper dans une certaine mesure à la réglementation en matière d’environnement, de sécurité et de santé qui protège les travailleurs vulnérables, et à leur permettre de réduire leur coûts jusqu’à 50 pour cent. La majorité des travailleurs et travailleuses dans ces ateliers sont des femmes et des enfants qui gagnent entre un et trois dollars pour des journées de travail de 12 à 16 heures dans de soi-disant zones de libre-échange. Il y a peu d’espoir pour ces personnes puisque la syndicalisation est soit illégale, soit souvent violemment réprimée.


Les travailleurs dans ces ateliers clandestins sont souvent victimes de multiples violations des droits de la personne, notamment : des salaires de misère, des heures supplémentaires non payées et non documentées, des agressions pour les forcer à atteindre des quotas écrasants et le travail dans un environnement dangereux.


« Il y aurait un tollé au Canada si ces pratiques y avaient cours. Nous ne pouvons les traiter différemment simplement parce qu’elles se passent ailleurs », a ajouté M. Julian.


Le projet de loi C-378 contribuerait à garantir que tous les biens importés au Canada soient conformes aux exigences de l’OIT, à protéger les emplois et à en créer d’autres tant chez nous que chez nos partenaires commerciaux.




Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec:
Bureau de Peter Julian 613.992.4214