Canada's child labour problem

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Increasing supply chain risk in consumer products and Canadian demand for action
​A young girl working in a shrimp processing plant in Bangladesh. Shrimp is a significant Canadian import with a high risk of child labour. Photo/World Vision​
(June 12, 2017)
MISSISSAUGA, ON – Today, on World Day Against Child Labour, World Vision has released a new report on the Canadian links to this global issue. The “Canada’s child & forced labour problem” report uncovers the high risk of child and forced labour in common Canadian household products, the overwhelming Canadian consumer demand for legislative action and other realistic solutions required to address this Canadian issue. 


1) Canadian imports of “risky products” now total $34B, a 31% increase over the past five years. 
  • 42% increase in garment imports from Bangladesh
  • 107% increase in coffee imports from the Dominican Republic
  • 8852% increase in palm oil imports from Indonesia
2) New Ipsos data confirms Canadians care about this issue and demand action more than ever before. 
  • 84% of Canadians feel frustrated by how difficult it is to determine where the products they buy are made, how they’re made and by whom, a 6% increase from 2015.
  • 91% of Canadians agree that the Canadian government should require companies to publicly report on who makes their products and what they are doing to reduce child labour in their supply chains
3) Canada risks falling behind in the global fight to eliminate child and forced labour in supply chains. 
  • Four significant jurisdictions, the UK, California, the Netherlands and France, have all passed legislation to address modern slavery and/or child labour in their supply chains 


“After visiting children around the world, I can say with conviction that child labour is also a Canadian problem. Canada imports products we use every day that have a high risk of child labour attached to them. There are at least 1,200 Canadian companies importing up to $34-billion in goods that may have been made by child or forced labourers overseas,” says Michael Messenger, President, World Vision Canada

“Consumers, companies and governments should all play a part in addressing Canadian links to child labour. While we put pressure on other governments to eliminate child labour from their own countries, we put little pressure on the Canadian companies that source from these places to try to ensure kids aren’t part of their supply chains. And that creates a gap where children are still working. We can join other nations in putting in place minimum requirements that allow consumers to make informed choices that can prompt real action for exploited children,” says Michael Messenger, President, World Vision Canada

  • 85 million children suffering in dirty, dangerous and degrading work (ILO)
  • 21 million people coerced, trapped and intimidated into jobs which put their lives and futures at risk
  • 5.5 million of these forced labourers are children. 


Link to “Canada’s child & forced labour problem” report: HERE
Virtual tour of the link between child labour and household products: HERE