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The CORE launches investigation into Zara Canada Inc.

Allegations of Uyghur forced labour in the garment supply chains of Zara Canada Inc. in China

Ottawa, ON November 6, 2023 - The CORE, the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, announced today the launch of an independent fact-finding investigation into allegations of Uyghur forced labour in the supply chain of Canadian garment company, Zara Canada Inc. (Zara).

The Ombud’s decision follows the completion of an Initial Assessment report on the subject. The report, published today, relates to a complaint filed by a coalition of 28 civil society organizations in June 2022.

The Zara 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. Zara denies the allegation, stating that the complaint is inadmissible because the alleged human rights abuses do not arise from its operations. It claims to have no commercial relationship with any factory in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

In order to address the allegations raised in the complaint, and to assess whether the allegations arise from the operations of Zara, the Ombud has decided to launch an investigation using independent fact-finding.

Zara declined to participate in mediation because it believes the complaint to be inadmissible, this is not currently a viable option. However, mediation is available at any stage of the process at the Ombud’s discretion and with the agreement of the parties.

“While mediation is not possible at this time, our process is flexible and may move from investigation to mediation with the consent of both parties,” said Ms. Meyerhoffer. “However, regardless of our approach, all parties are expected to act in good faith by actively participating throughout the entire complaint process.”

This report is the ninth Initial Assessment report published by the CORE and the eighth investigation launched by the CORE related to allegations of Uyghur forced labour in the supply chains and operations of Canadian companies filed by a coalition of 28 civil society organizations. Further Initial Assessment reports will be published in the coming weeks.

Media Contact

Sarah Concannon, Senior Advisor - Communications



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