Consumer Protection and Labelling Laws

We want to encourage Canadians to buy sustainably sourced products, but how do we know that sustainable products are truly sustainable? The current labelling landscape makes this difficult: there are hundreds of labels and dozens of corporate programs all claiming to be sustainable.

RESEARCH AND PLAN FOR FAIR TRADE AS A NATIONAL STANDARD

Within fair trade, the various labels diverge dramatically when it comes to the rigour and impact of their associated standards. Developing a national standard for fair trade has the potential to reduce label fatigue and uncertainty in the marketplace, and also protect consumers. One label and one set of standards would bring clarity.

As we explore this possibility, we will research how

  • The organic sector achieved harmonized labelling and standard consistency.
  • Halal successfully lobbied the Canadian government to legislate that any brand using the term “Halal” must be certified by a third party.
  • European nations, like France, have approached creating a national fair trade standard.

We want to see the federal government investigate the feasibility of creating a national fair trade standard.

IMPROVE TRANSPARENCY OF CORPORATE OWNERSHIP

We ask people to make purchasing decisions based on social values, but we don’t equip them with the right tools. With the global conglomeration of brands and labels, there is no real way for consumers to know which company they are actually buying from—unless they research each product and brand. This lack of transparency creates confusion and hinders our ability to purchase ethically and support companies that act in a socially and environmentally friendly manner.

We want to see the federal government legislate that corporate ownership must be identified on all product packaging, so consumers can choose which companies to support.