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Canadian Modern Slavery Act

Millions of people are victims of modern slavery worldwide. Due to the intricacy of today’s global supply networks, modern slavery is a critical issue. The Canadian Modern Slavery Act aims to combat forced labor and child labor with corporate supply chains.

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What is the Canadian Modern Slavery Act?

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In February 2020, Canadian senator Julie Miville-Dechêne introduced Bill S-211, i.e., the Modern Slavery Act. Accordingly, this act legislates the Fighting Against Forced Labor and Child Labor in Supply Chains Act and amends the Customs Tariff.

The table below provides the timeframe for this act:



February 2020

Introduced by Canadian senator Julie Miville-Dechêne

November 2021

First reading in the Senate

April 2022

Passed in the Senate

May 2022

First reading in the House of Commons

May 2023

Passed in the House of Commons and became a law

May 31, 2024

Subject entities must submit their first reports

What is the Purpose of the Canadian Modern Slavery Act?

The Act’s goal is to carry out Canada’s international commitment to combat human trafficking, namely forced labor and child labor. In particular, the Canadian Modern Slavery Act requires certain government institutions and private-sector entities to report on the steps they have taken to prevent and mitigate the risk of using forced labor or child labor in their operations or supply chains. Additionally, the Act establishes an inspection framework and empowers the Minister to compel an entity to furnish specific information. Moreover, the Modern Slavery Act makes it illegal to import goods produced, in whole or part, through forced labor or child labor.

Child Labor - Bill S-211 Canada

Which Companies Must Comply with the Canadian Modern Slavery Act?

The Act imposes reporting requirements on every entity listed on a Canadian stock exchange that sells, produces, distributes, or imports goods into Canada (or controls an entity involved in any of these activities) if it meets at least two of the following criteria:

  1. Annual assets of at least $20 million
  2. Annual revenue of at least $40 million, and
  3. Average of 250 + employees

Reporting Obligations

On or before May 31 of each year, the government institution or private-sector entity must report to the Minister on the efforts taken during the preceding financial year to avoid and limit the risks of forced labor or child labor at any stage of the manufacturing process. The annual modern slavery report must be available online and contain the following information:

Bill S-211 - Canadian bill against Modern Slavery
  1. The business structure, its activities, and supply chains,
  2. Its policies and due diligence procedures relating to social compliance,
  3. The areas of business operations or supply chains that pose a risk of using forced labor or child labor and the measures taken to evaluate and manage that risk,
  4. Any actions made to remediate forced labor or child labor and any steps taken to compensate for the income losses experienced by the most vulnerable households as a result of these remedial actions,
  5. The training offered to employees regarding this topic, and
  6. How the business evaluates its performance in preventing the use of forced labor and child labor in its operations and supply chains.

The director or officer of the institution or entity must certify that all the information provided in the report is genuine, accurate, and comprehensive. Nevertheless, the report does not require approval from the board of directors.

Notably, the government institution or private entity must make the annual modern slavery report publicly accessible by publishing it prominently on its website.

What are the Consequences of Non-Compliance with the Canadian Modern Slavery Act?

Every person or entity is guilty of an offense and is subject to a fine of up to $250,000 if:

  • It fails to submit the annual modern slavery report; or
  • It neglects to post the report on its website; or
  • It deliberately provides the Minister with incorrect or misleading statements or information.

Furthermore, if a business contravenes the Act, any officer, agent, or director who ordered, approved, consented to, acquiesced in, or engaged in the violation is a party to and guilty of the offense. Hence, that person is also subject to the specified penalty.

Modern Slavery Acts Worldwide

The Canadian Modern Slavery Act is a response to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This guideline requires member nations to develop and implement National Action Plans (NAPs). Besides Canada, other countries have enacted similar legislation and obligations, including:

Forced Labor - Bill S-211

Do you have questions about Social Compliance, including the Modern Slavery Acts and laws against Human Trafficking? Contact Enviropass!