MAPLE LEAF FOODS INC. | Human Rights Impact Assessment at Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

AGM date
Previous AGM date
Resolution details
Company ticker
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Decent work
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Consumer Staples
Company HQ country
Resolved clause
Resolved, Shareholders request the Board of Directors of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (“Maple Leaf” or the “Company”) to publish a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, with the results of an independent Human Rights Impact Assessment (“Assessment”) identifying and assessing the actual and potential human rights impacts on migrant workers from the Company’s business activities in its domestic operations and supply chain in Canada.
Whereas clause
Supporting Statement
Migrant workers are the backbone of the Canadian food system. In 2021, more than 61,000 migrant workers made up the agricultural and food sectors. Meat product manufacturing was the largest employer of migrant workers among all agri-food subsectors from 2005 to 2016 and was the second largest in 2017.
In Canada, migrant workers continue to face increasingly hazardous and precarious working conditions in the agricultural and food sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened such conditions. Research has found that “migrant workers employed in high-income countries during the pandemic were often deemed ‘essential workers,’ yet they generally endured high-risk work environments without the health, safety, and economic measures that would protect them should they be exposed to COVID-19.”
Workers have also seen a dramatic and dangerous intensification in work. According to the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, migrant workers in Canada reported “working for weeks without a day off, being forced to work long hours, and suffering increased strains, injuries and sickness due to increased pace of work.” Additionally, migrant workers have reported numerous abuses including: wage theft, racial profiling, inadequate housing, exploitation and discrimination.
Considering the severity and saliency of these risks, Maple Leaf’s current policies and commitments appear to be insufficient in mitigating impacts to migrant workers. In its ESG Report, Maple Leaf recognizes that it has not conducted a human rights review or impact assessment to assess how its employees, including migrant workers’ rights, are upheld in its operations[1]. While its Supplier Code of Conduct requires suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect in accordance with recognized international labour standards[2], there is no evidence that Maple Leaf is holding itself accountable against the same standards.
Companies that rely on migrant labour but do not have adequate strategies in place to mitigate impacts to migrant workers operating in their supply chain may face serious material, reputational, sourcing, legal, and regulatory risks.
Shareholders expect Maple Leaf to demonstrate a higher level of commitment and due diligence regarding migrant workers’ rights in order for them to perform their due diligence in accordance with their fiduciary duty. Conducting an independent Assessment would reinforce Maple Leaf’s human rights commitments to its workforce. It will also help the Company to (1) identify any adverse impacts that its activities may have on migrant workers; 2) ensure that the fundamental rights of migrant workers in its supply chain are respected and protected; 3) ensure alignment of its existing policies and practices with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
[1] content/uploads/sites/8/2022/06/MLF_2021_ESG_Index.pdf

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