Canadian miners increase efforts to prevent child and forced labour in the supply chain

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) today announced the addition of two new components to its Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM®) initiative to contribute to global efforts in preventing the use of child and forced labour in the mining supply chain, and to provide the information needed to demonstrate the responsible sourcing of minerals and metals.

Despite the fact that Canada has rigorous legal measures in place to prevent child and forced labour, this action was undertaken because MAC's TSM initiative has been expanding internationally. These additions to TSM build on the program's commitment to continuously improve the social and environmental performance of the industry.

This work also responds to the needs of organizations such as the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition to ensure and demonstrate that such labour practices have no place in their supply chains. For example, Apple's recently-updated Supplier Responsibility Standards included TSM, but noted that the program did not cover child or forced labour. This prompted MAC to take action to strengthen TSM in this important area.

The new measures incorporated into TSM are designed to ensure that child labour and forced labour have no place in mines that participate in the program. Participating companies are required to commit to "respecting the rights of our workers and not engaging in practices of forced or child labour, as defined in ILO Conventions 29, 138 and 182." To ensure this commitment is being adhered to, independent verifiers will assess whether participating mines have processes in place to ensure that there are no instances of child and forced labour in their business.

This enhancement to TSM also builds on MAC's recent announcement of a new membership commitment requiring member companies to implement the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. By adding these additional requirements, TSM is well-positioned as a go-to standard for the global mining industry.

"The steps we are taking today sends a powerful signal that the Canadian mining industry is absolutely committed to the international effort to prevent and eradicate instances of child and forced labour in the global mining industry and the wider mining supply chain.," said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, Mining Association of Canada. "This is an enriching and exciting opportunity to work with corporate leaders to ensure they have the information they need to take comfort that the metals and minerals used in their products are being mined responsibly and respectfully."

"These additions continue TSM's progressive evolution in driving world-class responsible mining standards and meeting industry expectations. The addition of child and forced labour components as well as transparency requirements are a key part of creating complete coverage and broad accountability in the mining sector," said Bob Mitchell, Vice President of Social and Environmental Responsibility, Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC).

"World Vision Canada welcomes this step in the TSM program to address child and forced labour by the mining industry (…) We call on all companies to implement robust policies and due diligence procedures to prevent adverse human rights impacts—particularly those affecting children, such as child labour," noted Harry Kits, Sr. Director, Advocacy and Government Engagement, World Vision Canada.

"Every child has the right to a childhood. We are very pleased to see the Canadian mining industry take this important step forward towards safeguarding this right, and protecting children from dangerous work," said  Meg French, Chief Program Officer, UNICEF Canada.

For more information about the EICC's Responsible Raw Materials Initiative, visit:  http://www.eiccoalition.org/initiatives/rrmi/