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Nov 14, 2023

SMBs struggle with new anti-slavery law

With most Canadian businesses preparing to comply with new federal anti-slavery legislation, more than half of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) say they are worried about their ability to properly assess and manage supply chain risks and meet reporting timelines, says a KPMG in Canada survey. Fifty-six percent of SMBs in Canada are concerned about their ability to map out forced labour and child labour risks across their entire supply chain and 54 percent worry about their ability to manage those risks.

Canada’s Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act requires public and certain private companies to review and assess working conditions in their overall supply chain and first report on their efforts to eliminate these practices by May 31, 2024. Companies will be required to report annually to show continued progress in reducing forced and child labour practices. For businesses, the law creates an expanded level of accountability and transparency and encompasses goods sourced from countries with weak or non-existent labour protections for adult workers and children. 

“Some companies may not be aware of who the workers are that produce their goods and raw materials, because they rely on outsourcing and contract labour that is so often hidden from view,” says Jillian Frank, a KPMG law partner and national environmental, social, and governance (ESG) legal services lead for KPMG in Canada. “As our survey shows, while most business leaders are aware of the new law, many are concerned they don’t have the ability to assess working conditions in their extended supply chain to identify any abusive working conditions.” 

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