Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
August 20, 2001
Bishops want more info on clothes
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWa — More information should be made available to the public on where clothes sold in Canada are made, says the social affairs commission of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The commission wants the federal government to revise regulations of the Textile Trading Act so that the information is publicly available on the web site of Industry Canada.
"Increasingly and inescapably, Canadians are recognizing that government has a key role to play in encouraging ethically based business practices," said Archbishop James Weisgerber in a letter to Industry Minister Brian Tobin July 17.
"The bishops of Canada encourage ethical production and consumption activities out of a deeply-held conviction that the economy should serve persons, not the other way around," said Weisgerber.
"We are convinced that providing more information to Canadians on where clothes sold in this country are made would involve only minor changes to current regulations, yet would also lead to potentially significant improvements in garment workers' protection as well as increase ethical options for consumers."
The Ethical Trading Action Group, a coalition of labour, Church, student and human rights organizations has been pressing the government for the changes to the act's labelling regulations since early this year.
Dennis Howlett, national coordinator of the inter-church coalition, Ten Days for Global Justice, said the proposed changes would "strip away the veil of secrecy that allows companies to hide their links to sweatshop abuses.
"It would make it easier for consumers to make ethical choices when they shop."
Weisgerber said maintaining "the current secrecy" around where and under what conditions clothes are sewn does nothing to construct "the more open and fair global economy that many Canadians desire."
The government lobbying campaign is a key element in ETAG's No Sweat campaign, which calls on schools, governments and other public institutions to adopt "No Sweat" purchasing policies to ensure that licensed and bulk-purchased apparel is made under humane working conditions.
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