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Addressing Forced Labour in Canada

Workplace Safety

Addressing Forced Labour in Canada

As the nature of work continues to transform, it is essential for both employers and employees to navigate the legal framework governing employment relationships effectively. Against the backdrop of demographic shifts and technological advancements, it's crucial to grasp the intricacies of labour laws to ensure compliance and prevent forced labour in the workplace.

Overview of Canadian Labour Laws

In Canada, labour laws are divided between federal and provincial jurisdictions, each governing specific aspects of employment relations. While federal laws set minimum standards for industries such as banking, transportation, and telecommunications, provincial laws regulate most other sectors, including employment standards, occupational health and safety, and human rights protections.

Canada's first supply chain transparency law, implemented on January 1, 2024, aims to combat forced and child labour by mandating government institutions and businesses to report yearly on the preventative actions taken in their supply chains, which should include having policies, assessing risks, and training employees. By promoting transparency and accountability through assessments and stakeholder collaboration, the law reinforces Canada's commitment to human rights and ethical business practices. It can also help companies identify inefficiencies and build trust with consumers concerned about social and environmental impacts.

Key Labour Standards and Protections

Employment standards and protection from discrimination and harassment are fundamental pillars of Canadian labour laws. These standards aim to safeguard the rights and well-being of workers, ensuring fair treatment and equal opportunities in the workplace. Standards regarding wages, hours, and safety regulations are intertwined with forced labour challenges as they collectively shape working conditions and vulnerabilities for Canadian workers. Specialized forced labour training is essential to ensure compliance with evolving laws, empowering organizations to identify and prevent it effectively while upholding workers' rights and organizational integrity.

However, due to demographic shifts and skill shortages, recruiting and retaining skilled labour have become increasingly challenging. In the second quarter of 2022, 36.9% of Canadian businesses expected challenges in recruiting staff, and 27.6% anticipated difficulties in retaining staff over the upcoming three months. By the following year, those numbers remained virtually unchanged, with manufacturing businesses being the most likely to expect recruitment challenges.

Addressing Forced Labour in Canada

Forced labour remains a pressing issue globally, and Canada has taken steps to address this issue within its borders. The legal framework surrounding forced labour continues to evolve, with recent developments focusing on the importance of identifying and addressing instances of forced labor effectively, aiming to eradicate such practices from Canadian industries. By prioritizing transparency and accountability, Canada seeks to set a precedent for ethical sourcing practices while safeguarding the rights and dignity of workers throughout the supply chain.

The introduction of the “Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act” in Canada this year aims to stop the use of forced labor and child labor in the making of goods, both in the north and internationally. It requires government institutions and businesses to report annually on what they're doing to prevent and reduce the risk of forced labor and child labor in their supply chains. This includes measures like having policies in place to stop these practices, assessing and managing any risks, and providing training to employees.

The law also allows officials to investigate if companies follow these rules and gives them the power to enter workplaces to learn more. Overall, it's about making sure that Canadian-made goods aren't made using forced or child labour and holding companies accountable if they are.

The Importance of Compliance Training

Compliance training plays a pivotal role in ensuring that organizations and employees understand and adhere to labour laws. By providing comprehensive training programs, employers can equip their workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate complex legal requirements effectively. Failure to comply with labour laws can result in significant operational and legal risks, including substantial fines. For instance, under the new Forced Labour Reporting Act, businesses face fines of up to $250,000 for failing to file accurate reports. Therefore, investing in compliance training is not only a legal obligation but also a strategic imperative for organizations seeking to mitigate risks and uphold ethical standards.

From preventing the horrors of human trafficking to addressing emerging ethical challenges such as forced labour, staying informed and compliant is essential. EasyLlama’s Forced Labour training provides Canadian employers with the most up-to-date employee education on these legal requirements, all in one simple and modern course. Our training uses interactive quizzes and real-life video scenarios to help your Canuck company create a culture of ethical conduct in a fair and inclusive workplace. Learn more about keeping your company compliant with a free EasyLlama course preview today!

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