Modern Slavery Act

An Act to enact the Modern Slavery Act and to amend the Customs Tariff

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2020.

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of March 12, 2020
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment enacts the Modern Slavery Act, which imposes an obligation on certain entities to report on the measures taken

to prevent and reduce the risk that forced labour or child labour

is used at any step in the production of goods in Canada or elsewhere by the entity or in the production of goods imported into Canada. The Act

provides for an inspection regime and gives the Minister the

power to require an entity to provide certain information.

This enactment also amends the Customs Tariff to allow for a

prohibition on the importation of goods manufactured or produced,

in whole or in part, by forced labour or child labour.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

COVID-19 Pandemic and Other MattersGovernment Orders

August 12th, 2020 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Chair, in the previous Parliament, the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood introduced the modern slavery act to combat slave labour. It has now been introduced in the other place as Bill S-211. Will the government commit to supporting this bill?

July 21st, 2020 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Professor of Law and President, International Commission of Jurists Canada

Errol P. Mendes

I can address that first.

On the ombudsman, as you know, there's been a controversy about whether or not there are sufficient tools to be able to carry out what some of the NGOs and others wanted it to do. I don't think it's the right mechanism. I think what is the right mechanism is a law that just came into force on July 1, 2020 under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which now says that importation of forced labour products, either in whole or in part, should be prohibited.

How do we do that? There was a bill, Bill S-211, that was being forwarded by John McKay, one of your colleagues, and a senator, which would require mandatory reporting on whether or not companies have taken all due diligence in making sure that they don't bring in products based on modern slavery or forced labour. Some have said that's not going far enough.

My actual recommendation to this committee and the full committee is to focus on what other countries like France are doing, which I think is the most effective. It requires a law of due diligence that forces companies, in advance, to show that they are not involved in modern slavery or forced labour and requires that the senior officials of these companies state in advance that they have checked to make sure there are no products coming in of forced labour, and there are penalties if they fail to do so.

I think we should look to Europe, to France for sure, to think about how we go further than what we have already. I'm not sure the ombudsman is a sufficient mechanism for that.