Global Affairs Canada recently announced new measures to address human rights abuses in Xinjiang, China. Also, Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service issued a joint advisory on the issue of human rights violations in China.
Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service have issued the following advisory to bring attention to human rights violations in China affecting Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) to help Canadian firms and stakeholders understand the legal and reputational risks posed to companies whose supply chains engage with entities possibly implicated in forced labour.
In coordination with the United Kingdom and other international partners, Canada is adopting a comprehensive approach to defending the rights of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, including by advancing measures to address the risk of goods produced from forced labour from any country from entering Canadian and global supply chains and to protect Canadian businesses from becoming unknowingly complicit.
Canada’s approach includes the following seven measures:
- The Prohibition of imports of goods produced wholly or in part by forced labour;
- A Xinjiang Integrity Declaration for Canadian companies;
- A Business Advisory on Xinjiang-related entities;
- Enhanced advice to Canadian businesses;
- Export controls;
- Increasing awareness for Responsible Business Conduct linked to Xinjiang; and
- A Study on forced labour and supply chain risks
In addition, in the Declaration, companies are required to affirm they have not knowingly sourced, directly or indirectly, products or services from a supplier implicated in forced labor or other human rights violations in the XUAR.
Declarations remain in effect for five years. During that period, the company has an ongoing obligation to report to the Trade Commissioner Service any material changes to statements in its Declaration concerning its business practices pertaining to the XUAR.
CBSA Customs Notice 20-23 speaks to import prohibition on goods produced wholly or in part by forced labour. Goods mined, manufactured or produced wholly or in part by forced labour; under the Customs Tariff Act prohibits the importation from all countries of goods produced, in whole or in part, by forced labour. This prohibition is enforced by the Canada Border Services Agency. The Advisory cautions companies to ensure their supply chains do not violate this import prohibition.
Canada has one of the strongest export-control systems in the world and respect for human rights is enshrined in our export-control legislation. All permit applications for controlled items are reviewed under Canada’s extensive risk-assessment framework, including the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty criteria, which are included in the EIPA.
Under the EIPA, controlled goods and technologies cannot be exported from Canada where there is a substantial risk that they could be used to commit or to facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, or serious acts of gender-based violence.
The Government of Canada evaluates every export permit application on a case-by-case basis to determine what the goods, services or technologies will be used for, where they will be used, and who will use them, among other factors.
Canadian companies requiring assistance or advice should contact the Trade Commissioner Service in Ottawa, Regional Offices in Canada or Embassies, High Commissions or Consulates abroad.