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March 22, 2021

An Open Letter to Members of the Senate on Ending Modern Slavery

ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson joins with Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Rev. Dr. Karin Achtelsetter, Executive Director of Canadian Lutheran World Relief, and Will Postma, Executive Director of Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund in writing to express support for Bill-S-216 and ending modern slavery.

The full letter follows. Download a PDF here.

The Honourable Members of the Senate
The Senate
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A4
March 22, 2021

An Open Letter to Senators on Ending Modern Slavery

Dear Senators,

We write to express support for Bill S-216, the Modern Slavery Act, and to encourage you to support the referral of the Bill to committee for further review and enhancement.

On October 29, 2020, Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne reintroduced the Modern Slavery Act in the Senate on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. The Modern Slavery Act would require large companies to report annually and publicly on the measures they are taking to prevent and reduce the risks of forced labour and child labour in their supply chains. It would also provide penalties and fines for non-compliance or false reporting, and prohibit the import of goods manufactured or produced, in whole or in part, by forced or child labour.

Anglicans and Lutherans across Canada believe in dignity for all people and we are working towards a truly just, healthy and peaceful world. As churches and relief and development organizations, we work with partners around the world who call on us to make Canada more accountable in its global practices and ensure that our decisions here do not result in negative outcomes for people in other parts of the world. We are actively working to build awareness of human trafficking and forced labour among our members in order to mobilize action to end these horrific crimes: https://www.anglican.ca/issues/human-trafficking/, https://elcic.ca/CompassionateJustice/AddressingHumanTrafficking.cfm. We join our voices with many other civil society organizations in supporting the passing of the Modern Slavery Act.

We believe that the Modern Slavery Act represents an important first step towards greater action by Canadian companies to address child and forced labour and other human rights risks in their operations and global supply chains. There are an estimated 152 million children in child labour globally, and 25 million victims of forced labour, including a disproportionate number of women and girls. The ILO, IOM, OECD and UNICEF report that up to 26 per cent of child labour is linked to exports and global supply chains, particularly in their lower tiers.1 Improving tracking of supply chains and requiring remedial action would not only demonstrate Canada’s commitment to responsible business practices but would also improve and stabilize the Canadian investment environment. We thank you for your consideration of this important issue. We look forward to your response, and the possibility of working with you to end modern slavery, forced labour, child labour and human trafficking.

Yours in Christ,

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC)

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)

Mr. Will Postma, Executive Director
Primate’s World Relief and Development (PWRDF)

Rev. Dr. Karin Achtelsetter, Executive Director
Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR)

cc Council of General Synod, ACoC
National Church Council, ELCIC
PWRDF Board
CLWR Board
In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
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