The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Vancouver Adopts “No Sweat” Purchasing Policy
The Vancouver city council has moved forward with development of a
sustainable and ethical procurement policy to ensure all items
purchased by the city are manufactured or grown in accordance with
established international codes of conduct regarding wages, workplace
health and safety, forced labour, child labour and freedom of
Approved unanimously, a resolution moved by COPE Councilors Tim Louis
and Raymond Louie requires staff to report back on implementation,
costs and logistics of a policy on preferential purchasing from
ethically respon-sible companies within two months, for implementation
by the end of 2004.
The resolution moves the city closer to fulfilling ethical purchasing
com-mitments made in the final 2010 Winter Olympic Games bid book.
According to experts, sweatshop practices continue to spread throughout
the garment manufacturing industry, undermining interna-tional human
rights guarantees and threatening the working conditions of
manufacturing workers in the City of Vancouver.
The BC Ethical Purchasing Group, a coalition of organizations and
individuals in British Columbia, including Oxfam Canada, the Canadian
Labour Congress, the Vancouver and District Labour Council, the New
Westminster and District Labour Council, the Maquila Solidarity
Network, and student, staff and faculty human rights activists at Simon
Fraser University, Langara College and the University of BC, continue
to urge public bodies to find ways to eliminate public dollars
supporting labour abuses.
Vancouver residents appear to have greeted the decision with sup-port
and even enthusiasm. Despite repeated corporate media attacks and
internal differences over issues such as the introduction of slot
machines and the proposed Richmond Airport Vancouver Skytrain line,
COPE continues to enjoy a huge majority of support from Vancouver
residents, polling as high as 70 per cent approval.