On October 1, Toronto City Council strongly endorsed the idea of becoming a
No Sweat city. Councillors voted unanimously in support of a resolution calling on the City to “enact a purchasing policy requiring the purchase of garments, uniforms, or other apparel items from No Sweat manufacturers.”
The aim of the No Sweat policy, which has yet to be developed, will be to improve working conditions in the garment industry by requiring city suppliers to respect international labour standards and local labour laws.
The City of Toronto’s Director of Purchasing is expected to work with the “No Sweat Toronto” coalition in developing the policy. Coalition members include MSN, UNITE, Oxfam Canada, Toronto and York Labour Council, Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Canadian Council for Reform Judaism, high school students, local garment manufacturers, and municipal employee unions. The Coalition is calling on the City to adopt a policy that requires public disclosure of factory locations and independent monitoring so citizens can know where and under what conditions city uniforms are made.
In April, the coalition demonstrated broad support for the No Sweat initiative in a series of rousing deputations before City Council’s Administration Committee. But the coalition faces an uphill battle. Once the No Sweat policy has been drafted by city staff, it must be approved by the Administration Committee before it can go to City Council for approval.
Since April, the chairmanship of the Administration Committee has shifted to Doug Holyday, an unabashedly right wing councillor from Etobicoke. Over the last two years, the City of Toronto has made more than $6.1-million in apparel purchases. The No Sweat motion, brought forward by Councillor David Miller (Parkdale-High Park), is an important first step toward ensuring that these garments are not being made in sweatshops.
Campaigns for No Sweat purchasing policies are also underway at municipalities in British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. For information on how to start a No Sweat campaign in your community, including the City of Toronto resolution, a model resolution and model purchasing policy, and other campaign materials, please contact MSN or visit our website: http://www.maquilasolidarity.org
Maquila Solidarity Network / Ethical Trading Action Group
606 Shaw Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6G 3L6
Tel: (416) 532-8584 / Fax: (416) 532-7688