Twenty-five Canadian organisations have called on the country's retailers and brands to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

Organisations including teachers, students, communities, and trade unions have all signed an open letter urging signing of the Accord. To date, only one Canadian company, Loblaw, has signed the legally-binding agreement

The letter has been sent to companies including Mark's and Sport Chek owner Canadian Tire, Giant Tiger, Hudson's Bay, Sears Canada, and Wal-Mart. Instead of signing the Accord, the companies have joined a voluntary, company-controlled initiative called the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

"The Rana Plaza disaster, in which over 1,100 workers lost their lives, should have been a wake-up call for Canadian retailers and brands that have clothes made in Bangladesh, but it seems most Canadian companies are asleep at the wheel," said Lynda Yanz, executive director of the Maquila Solidarity Network.

"To prevent further disasters from happening, we need to go beyond company-controlled factory audits that have failed to detect and remedy safety hazards over the past decade."

The open letter criticizes the Alliance factory inspection programme for "not being sufficiently independent", for not publicly disclosing the findings from individual factory inspections, and for "failing to give workers and worker representatives an active role in the detection and remediation of hazardous working conditions".

More than 120 brands have signed the Accord, a legally-binding document aimed at making the Bangladeshi garment sector safe and sustainable.

The call comes after a similar move adopted by global labour leaders, urging Swiss retailers Migros and Coop to sign the Accord