2024 March 12

Electronics Watch awarded contract by government of Canada

Electronics Watch will be carrying out a project for the Government of Canada entitled ICT hardware products supply chain monitoring for risk mitigation of human trafficking, forced labour and child labour.

The one-year project is designed to improve socially responsible public procurement of electronics products, and increase transparency in supply chains. Ultimately, the Government of Canada aspires to become a leader in the field, setting a positive example in Canada and beyond.

With its National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, Canada has already made a commitment for its central purchasing to tackle forced labour and child labour in government procurement supply chains. There is growing international support for such initiatives: the UK, the US and Australia already focus regulatory and procurement efforts on eliminating modern slavery and forced labour in their global supply chains, and the EU is considering an import ban on products made with forced labour.

In this project, Electronics Watch will be working for Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), the central purchasing agency for the Canadian government, and Shared Services Canada (SSC).

PSPC has already conducted an initial risk assessment of their supply chains indicating electronics as high-risk goods, and now seek to build both internal and vendor capacity to identify and address forced labour.

This is where Electronics Watch comes in.

This year, we will be carrying out forced labour and child labour risk assessments on the ICT products in their supply chain, with a focus on computers, notebooks, tablets, smartphones and other ICT devices.

We will also analyse PSPC and SSC current procurement practices to develop guidance on tendering procedures and contract management, including factory disclosure processes and recommendations for model contract clauses. In addition, we will hold awareness-raising sessions with suppliers and provide guidance on supplier engagement.

Björn Claeson, Executive Director of Electronics Watch, said:

"We applaud the Government of Canada for taking a whole-of-government approach to fighting human trafficking and forced labour in global supply chains, and to developing an effective human rights due diligence framework. The Government of Canada has recognised that this includes using its considerable procurement leverage to promote and protect the rights of workers who make the products it buys. Electronics Watch is honoured to be contributing to this endeavour and looks forward to a journey of learning and impact."