NDP calls on government to put worker safety first

In an effort to make clothing and apparel used by the federal government more ethically sourced, NDP MP Matthew Kellway (Beaches – East York) presented a motion this week calling on the government to ensure that the workers who make the clothing that Canada procures with public dollars have safe workplaces and decent working conditions.

“The government has turned a blind eye to the conditions under which the apparel worn by government workers is made. This is troubling,” said Kellway. “My Motion calls on the government to know and ensure that, at a minimum, the clothes our government procures are made in compliance with local labour laws and basic international labour standards.‎”

Kellway’s motion would require that apparel bought by the federal government, government agencies and crown corporations are made in facilities that comply with international labour standards, including no forced labour and safe and hygienic working environments. It would also put the onus on the government to track and publicly disclose the supply chain for apparel purchases.

“The deaths of 1135 workers in the collapse of Rana Plaza reminds us that sometimes the cheap price of the clothes we wear comes at the expense of workers safety and, too often, their lives,” said Kellway. “Our government should play a part in ensuring that this not be the case.”