NO Sweat (August 2005)

With over 23.6 million workers worldwide, together, the apparel and textile industries are the largest employer in the world. But they're failing the very people who manufacture the goods that line their pockets.

  • Working with the Maquila Solidarity Network, Students Against Sweatshops-Canada, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, and the Canadian Labour Congress, Oxfam Canada seeks to defend the rights of garment workers overseas and in Canada.
  • Under the slogan, "Exploitation is never in fashion," Oxfam's national campaign seeks to convince universities, school boards and municipal and provincial governments to adopt ethical purchasing and procurement policies
  • Over the past five years, the NO SWEAT campaign has achieved some notable successes in Canada including:
    • Since 1999, companies producing clothes for the University of Toronto (U of T) have to ensure that every garment is produced under humane working conditions and agree to independent monitoring of factory conditions.
    • University of British Columbia organizers have been successful in establishing ethical purchasing policies at the UBC bookstore.
    • The city of Vancouver recently implemented Canada's most comprehensive ethical purchasing policy thanks to the like-minded efforts of groups like the Candian Labour Congress and Oxfam.
    • The City of Toronto is in the process of adopting No Sweat policies.
  • The result of the No Sweat campaign means workers receive fair wages and work in safe and humane conditions.
  • What you can do: purchase “Sweat Free’ clothes, inform others about the issues, put pressure on governments and corporations to adopt ethical purchasing policies.