Has your favourite Canadian fashion brand been Naughty or Nice this year?

November 21, 2022

Major Canadian fashion brands – like lululemon, Joe Fresh, Aritzia, Herschel Supply Co and Roots – all need to pay living wages to the women who make our clothes.

As Canadians hit the Black Friday sales and start their holiday shopping, Oxfam Canada has released its first ever Naughty or Nice list, which calls out popular brands that have failed to make credible commitments around living wages and continue to hide where their clothes are made by not publishing the names and locations of their global supplier factories. None of the five brands assessed made it onto the Nice list this year.

“Two major clothing companies in Canada – Herschel Supply Co. and Roots – ended up on the Naughty list since they failed to make a public commitment to a living wage or take the basic step of publishing key information about where they manufacture their clothes. They’ve offered zero transparency on their supply chains,” Dana Stefov, women’s rights policy specialist at Oxfam Canada, said.

“Canada is one of the world’s major apparel markets, with retail sales totaling US$34.93bn in 2022.  With most clothing sold in Canada imported from lower-income countries, all Canadian brands need to ensure the women who make our clothes are paid a living wage.”

A living wage means enough money is earned in a 48-hour work week to cover basic essentials for a family including food, housing, healthcare, clothing, transport, education and some money for unexpected events.

“A living wage is not a luxury, but is a minimum that all working people should be paid if they are to escape the cycle of poverty,” Stefov said. “With the cost of living rising everywhere, we know that not all workers are being paid enough to afford a decent life for themselves and their families. Brands’ failure to ensure a living wage is paid in their supply chains means hundreds of thousands of women who make clothes destined for Canadian stores live in poverty.”

While those two companies have found themselves on the Naughty list, both Joe Fresh and Aritzia are ‘A Bit Naughty’ with the brands still not committing to a living wage and their supply chain transparency still somewhat opaque.

The one company that landed on the ‘Almost Nice’ list was lululemon. The athletic leisurewear company based in Vancouver received top marks for supply chain transparency and came the closest to making a public commitment to a living wage but fell short by not providing a clear timeline with verifiable milestones.

Currently, a very small amount of the retail price we pay for our clothes actually goes to the women who make them. While labour costs may vary by apparel product, wages for production scarcely exceeds three per cent of the price that is paid for a product in a shop. This equates to just 30 cents for a $10 t-shirt.

“Canadian brands make big profits, and they must leverage their buying power to change the system and stop the exploitation of workers,” Stefov said.

“They can be part of lifting women out of poverty while still producing affordable, good quality products. Brands have the power and the responsibility to ensure the workers who make their clothes can live with dignity.

”In this most profitable time of year for retailers, Canadians are demanding the big clothing brands they know and love to ensure the payment of living wages, so the workers making their clothes can earn enough to live on.”

– 30 –

 Notes to the editor:
  •  In 2021, Oxfam Canada launched the What She Makes campaign to galvanize Canadian fashion brands around labour rights and improving the working conditions of the millions of garment workers who toil in factories to meet their clothing orders.  More than 44,000 Canadians have pledged their support for the campaign to date.
  • On November 20, Oxfam Canada and supporters of the What She Makes campaign staged a public rally and information picket at the Joe Fresh location (589 Queen Street West) in downtown Toronto.  Holiday shoppers got to learn about the working conditions of the women who make our clothes through a pop-up shop set up on the sidewalk outside a Joe Fresh store. Photos are available on request.
  • All brands featured in this year’s Naughty or Nice list were provided an opportunity to comment on the findings prior to launch.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Paula Baker
Media Relations
(613) 240-3047

Share this page: