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$798.2 million (CAD) in Canadian imports of common makeup products are at risk of having child labour in their supply chains.
If I can, I would definetely go to school. But I have to work here to earn,” says ten-year old Pavan, as he cracks a chunk of earth using his spade and pulls it down. Pavan, his eight-year-old brother Kumar and their mother immediately get busy digging through the rubble to pick mica flakes. Photo/World Vision India.
(June 12, 2018)
Child labour risk in Canada’s $11.5 billion cosmetics market
Mississauga, ON – Today, on World Day Against Child Labour, World Vision has released a new report on Canadian links to this global issue. The “Hidden Cost of Beauty” report uncovers the high risk of child labour in Canada’s multi-billion dollar cosmetics market and stresses the need for legislative action and other realistic solutions to address this Canadian issue.
Many Canadians are unaware that incandescent makeup usually contains mica – a highly desired natural material used in cosmetics and many other common products Canadians buy. Unfortunately, mica is linked to one of the worst forms of child labour and human suffering, according to the report. A quarter of the world's mica comes from illegal mining in India, where over 22,000 children work in dangerous conditions that put their health and life at risk, creating an unacceptable risk that mica mined by children is ending up in the items we buy here in Canada.
  • $798.2 million (CAD) in Canadian imports of common makeup products are at risk of having child labour in their supply chains (eye, lip and face makeup and nail preparations)
  • 136% increase in the value of risky makeup products sold in Canada over the past 10 years
  • Other at-risk products potentially containing mica include sunscreen/lotion (up to $1.2B), deodorant/antiperspirant ($125M), toothpaste/dental care ($201M), shampoo ($216M)
  • Consumers are unable to inform themselves about ingredients in common makeup items. Many products are not labelled clearly nor are they coded for their contents

“Mica mining is one of the worst forms of child labour because the work is dirty, dangerous and degrading. It puts their lives at risk today while putting their future in jeopardy. As a consumer and as a parent, I’m concerned that the products I buy contain child labour. More needs to be done because Canadians are being left in the dark and can’t make informed choices that can lead to real change for exploited children. It has to stop,” says Cheryl Hotchkiss, Child Advocate, No Child for Sale Initiative, World Vision Canada.
“Child labour is a global problem, but it’s also a Canadian problem. Billions of dollars of beauty and other products that have a high risk of being made by children are imported into our country every day. There is a clear opportunity for the Canadian government to address our country’s link to child labour by introducing supply chain transparency legislation. The UK and other jurisdictions have brought in new laws, it’s time for Canada to be a leader on this issue too,” says Michael Messenger, President and CEO, World Vision Canada.

Digital media kit with “Hidden Cost of Beauty” report, photos, stories of child miners in India: HERE
Information on child labour in Canadian supply chains: