Canada determined to fight modern slavery

June 24, 2019

On 17 June 2019, the Government of Canada became the 35th country to ratify the ILO Protocol on Forced Labour, which requires countries to take effective measures on protection, prevention, and access to justice.

Photo: JD Hascup


Canada becomes the 35th country worldwide to ratify the 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, which reinforces the international legal framework for eliminating all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons. The ILO estimates that 25 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour. The Forced Labour Protocol requires countries to take appropriate steps to prevent forced labour, protect victims and guarantee them access to effective remedies and compensation.

Canada has taken significant measures to develop its legal and institutional framework for combating trafficking in persons. The prohibition of trafficking in persons is provided for both in the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Moreover, a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking was released in June 2012, covering areas such as information and awareness-raising, assistance of victims and protection of foreign nationals. Canada also provides for the granting of temporary resident permits for victims of trafficking.

“The Government of Canada is a strong supporter of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and their commitment to promoting decent work around the world”, said Chantal Maheu, Deputy Minister of Labour and Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada. “Over the last one hundred years, the ILO has achieved so much in the fight for workers’ rights, and we will continue to work together for equality, inclusion and fairness at home, abroad, in our workplaces and everywhere else.”

“With the ratification of the Protocol, Canada once again confirms its commitment to promoting and implementing fundamental rights at work”, welcomed Moussa Oumarou, ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Field Operations & Partnerships.

On the same day, Canada also ratified Convention No. 81, which calls for an effective system of labour inspection. This ratification, one of the ILO’s four governance Conventions, marks Canada’s commitment to the enforcement of the legal provisions relating to conditions of work and the protection of workers. The new ratifications support the effective promotion of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and marks Canada’s contribution to the ILO’s centenary.