The CORE launches investigation into Levi Strauss Canada
Allegations of Uyghur forced labour in the garment supply chains of Levi Strauss & Co. Inc. in China
Ottawa, ON September 20, 2023 - The CORE, the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, announced today the launch of an investigation into allegations of Uyghur forced labour in the supply chain of Canadian garment company, Levi Strauss & Co. Canada Inc. (Levi Strauss Canada).
The decision by Sheri Meyerhoffer, the Ombudsperson, to launch the investigation follows the completion of the Initial Assessment report, published today. This report relates to complaints about the overseas operations of Canadian companies filed by a coalition of 28 civil society organizations in June 2022.
The Levi Strauss & Co. Canada Inc. Initial Assessment report details the allegation that the company has supply relationships with Chinese companies identified as using or benefitting from the use of Uyghur forced labour. Levi Strauss Canada denies the allegation and maintains their commitment to human and labour rights through its Supplier Code of Conduct. They also challenge the accuracy of the evidence provided, specifically that the allegations are based “on outdated and inaccurate data” and for two of the listed suppliers, the allegations are based on the “suppliers self-reporting” and not facts. Levi Strauss Canada did not make itself available for an initial assessment meeting nor did it provide information verifying its response to the allegations.
Currently, mediation between the parties involved is not an option. However, mediation is available at any stage of the process at the Ombud’s discretion and with the agreement of the parties.
“Considering the complex nature of garment supply chains and gaps in the information provided in the complaint, I have decided to launch an investigation.” said Ms. Meyerhoffer. “An investigation will allow us review the facts independently.”
This report is the eighth Initial Assessment report published by the CORE and the seventh investigation launched by the CORE related to allegations of Uyghur forced labour in the supply chains and operations of Canadian companies filed by the coalition of 28 civil society organizations. Further Initial Assessment reports will be published in the coming weeks.
Sarah Concannon, Senior Advisor - Communications
- The CORE is the first ombud office with a business and human rights mandate to hold Canadian garment, mining, and oil and gas companies working outside of Canada accountable for possible human rights abuses that arise from their operations, including in their supply chains.
- The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) was established in 2019 with Sheri Meyerhoffer appointed as the Ombudsperson by an Order-in-Council.
- The CORE’s complaint process has five stages: 1. Intake; 2. Initial Assessment; 3. Mediation; 4. Investigation; 5. Recommendations and Follow up.
- If the Ombud decides that a complaint is admissible during Intake, the complaint moves to the Initial Assessment stage where the Ombud works with the involved parties to reach a resolution or decide on next steps.
- An Initial Assessment report is published after the completion of the Initial Assessment stage. The report describes the complaint and complaint process to date, the parties and their positions, and provides the reasons for the Ombud’s decision on how to move a complaint forward, including mediation, investigation or to close the complaint.
- To learn more about the CORE’s complaint process, please visit What is the complaint process?
- Complaints may be filed using the CORE’s online complaint form or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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