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Canadian watchdog to probe Levi’s over forced labour allegations

By Rachel Douglass


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Levi's storefront. Credits: Via Levi's

Levi Strauss Canada is set to face an investigation over allegations of forced labour in what is now adding to the growing list of companies being scrutinised by a Canadian watchdog.

The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) has already launched related probes into the Canadian subsidiaries of Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Diesel and Nike over similar accusations.

Akin to these four companies, among others, the investigation into Levi’s comes after an Initial Assessment report was filed by 28 civil society organisations in June last year in regards to complaints about the overseas operations of Canadian firms.

Claims were centred around potential links to China’s Uyghur region where evidence of forced labour has been found, with Levi’s potentially being among those utilising or benefitting from the practice via its supply chain.

CORE said that Levi Strauss Canada denied the allegations and maintained its commitment to human rights through its supplier code of conduct.

In addition to this, Levi’s also challenged the accuracy of provided evidence, claiming that it was formed on “outdated and inaccurate data” while for two of its listed suppliers, allegations were supposedly based on “suppliers self-reporting” and not facts.

CORE noted that Levi Strauss Canada “did not make itself available for an initial assessment meeting”, adding that mediation between the parties was currently not an option.

In a release, Sheri Meyerhoffer, the ombudsperson, said: “Considering the complex nature of garment supply chains and gaps in the information provided in the complaint, I have decided to launch an investigation.” An investigation will allow us to review the facts independently.”

Workers Rights