• The government of Canada is "concerned" about the ethical sourcing practices of its country's apparel suppliers.
  • An initiative will launch requesting information that can be used to compile a set of guidelines that ensure they comply with local laws and international standards on labour and human rights.

The Canadian government is seeking input from the country's apparel suppliers as it sets out to develop a set of guidelines for ethical sourcing.

Through the initiative, launched this week, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is asking garment suppliers for help in developing guidelines for the ethical procurement of apparel. The move is in response to concern about ethically responsible practices in the manufacturing of apparel, particularly items that are supplied to the government.

Questions will centre around the apparel's country of origin and if the business has an ethical procurement policy or practice in place. Suppliers will need to self-certify that they and their direct Canadian and foreign suppliers comply with local laws and international standards on labour and human rights. These rights include freedom from child labour, forced labour, discrimination and abuse, and access to fair wages and safe working conditions.

PSPC says the objective of the exercise is to gather information on suppliers' current obligations with respect to ethical procurement, gather information on the potential impact to suppliers on the implementation of the proposed certification requirement, and to engage with stakeholders in the development and refinement of the proposed certification requirement.

"Our government is committed to improved social and economic benefits by purchasing goods and services from suppliers that operate in an ethically and socially responsible manner," says the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement. "By focusing attention on this outcome, the Government of Canada will be aligning itself with the approach many companies are already taking to ensure the integrity and security of their supply chains."

PSPC says it will meet with suppliers, industry associations and non-governmental organisations to discuss the self certification requirement and current practices on ethical manufacturing and sourcing of goods throughout their supply chains.