The filing deadline for submitting reports under Canada’s novel Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour Act (the “Act”) passed on May 31, 2024. For companies that missed the May 31 deadline, Public Safety Canada recently confirmed that it is accepting late filed reports.

The Act requires all businesses that meet certain operating and financial thresholds to file an annual report to Public Safety Canada describing the steps it has taken during its previous financial year to prevent and reduce the risk of forced labour and child labour in its supply chains. This is a mandatory filing requirement. Failure to file is an offense under the Act which may result in financial penalties and director/officer liability. Companies that have missed the filing deadline should review their statutory obligations under the Act, and if required, file a late report.

How to File a Late Report

Following a brief closure of the submission portal following the May 31 deadline, Public Safety Canada has now reopened its submission portal for companies making a late filing. Reports for 2024 are to be submitted here on the Public Safety Canada website.

All reports filed with Public Safety Canada, including late filed reports, will be published on the online catalogue, available here. The online catalogue is now active and searchable.

Late filed reports will be published with an indication that the report was received after the May 31 deadline. Reporting entities are required to complete an online questionnaire when submitting a report. Responses provided for the online questionnaire are not published on the online catalogue, except for the name of the reporting entity and its jurisdiction of incorporation.

Reporting entities may also file a revised version of a previously submitted report. Submitting a revised report allows reporting entities to update the information provided should its situation change or should any new information become available. If a revised report is submitted, Public Safety Canada encourages reporting entities to publish the updated report on the reporting entity’s website.

Importantly, annual reports and revised annual reports under the Act require formal board approval.

Reporting entities must provide information on the following seven factors in its annual report:

  1. its structure, activities and supply chains;
  2. its policies and its due diligence processes in relation to forced labour and child labour;
  3. the parts of its business and supply chains that carry a risk of forced labour or child labour being used and the steps it has taken to assess and manage that risk;
  4. any measures taken to remediate any forced labour or child labour;
  5. any measures taken to remediate the loss of income to the most vulnerable families that results from any measure taken to eliminate the use of forced labour or child labour in its activities and supply chains;
  6. the training provided to employees on forced labour and child labour; and
  7. how the entity assesses its effectiveness in ensuring that forced labour and child labour are not being used in its business and supply chains.

More details regarding how to complete an annual report is available in Public Safety Canada’s guidance for reporting entities, available here.

Reporting Entity Criteria:

Reporting requirements are determined on a legal entity level. A qualifying entity must be engaged in the following activities:

  • Producing goods in Canada or elsewhere; or
  • Importing into Canada goods produced outside of Canada; or
  • Directly or indirectly controlling an entity that is engaged in one of the two activities listed above.

Additionally, a qualifying entity must either be listed on a Canadian stock exchange, or be an entity that meets the following criteria:

  • a place of business in Canada, does business in Canada or has assets in Canada; and
  • Based on its consolidated financial statements, meet at least two of the following conditions for at least one of its two recent financial years:
    • has at least $20 million in assets,
    • has generated at least $40 million in revenue, and
    • employs an average of at least 250 employees.

Importantly, reporting entities are not limited to Canadian incorporated companies. Reporting entities may include non-residents that are “doing business in Canada”, which according to the published guidance is determined by applying this policy statement published by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Author

Julia Webster is a disputes and international trade lawyer. She advises companies on trade remedies, free trade agreements, blocking measures, customs compliance, anti-corruption laws, economic sanctions, AML compliance, supply chain ethics, and cross-border M&A.

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