Canada’s Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, has announced the country’s support for a joint initiative with the International Labour Organization entitled “Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Sector” in Bangladesh, according to a press release from the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.
“Stimulating sustainable economic growth is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty, increasing security and encouraging equality. Canada's support for this initiative is helping to ensure that Bangladesh is better equipped to provide safe and healthy employment for its people,” said Minister Paradis in the statement.
“Canada is working to build prosperity, security and stability in South Asia, and fostering sustainable economic growth in Bangladesh is an essential element of this,” the Minister added.
Canada's assistance will help ensure that Bangladesh's garment factories are properly assessed for fire and building safety, unsafe factories are identified for remediation, and that robust and transparent labour inspections are carried out.
The initiative will help create improved legislation and regulation of working conditions for women, men and the disabled, beginning in the ready-made garment sector, and later expanding to all sectors, to safeguard the rights of all workers.
Improving working conditions in Bangladesh's ready-made garment industry is imperative, and the project will address the complex and serious challenges facing the sector, and secure lasting improvements to working conditions, in line with international labour standards, Minister Paradis said.
As per the announcement, Canada will provide $8 million support to the joint initiative with the ILO over a four-year period till 2016. The Netherlands and the UK have already committed $7.8 million and $7.5 million to the project, while the ILO will provide $2.1 million.
The initiative will provide technical support to Bangladesh's National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire and Building Safety and the ILO-brokered Joint Statement adopted in May 2013 by the tripartite partners (government, employers' and workers' organizations).
Coordination will include with other initiatives developed to respond to the challenges facing the sector, which include the North American brands-led Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, to which Hudson's Bay Canada, Walmart Canada, the Canadian Apparel Federation and the Retail Council of Canada are signatories.