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Thursday, 9 November 2006

SUPPORT VANCOUVER'S ETHICAL PURCHASING PROGRAM

April 17, 2006
URGENT ACTION ALERT
City of Vancouver cuts funds to implement their Ethical Purchasing Program

Just over a year ago the City of Vancouver became the first Canadian city to approve an Ethical Purchasing Policy to ensure that city apparel is produced under fair working conditions. The City assigned one full-time staff person to enforce the policy. The Vancouver policy is seen as a model by other cities and No Sweat activists across Canada. few days ago, Vancouver’s new City Council gutted the landmark Ethical Purchasing Policy. Even though a report by staff indicated that the City had actually saved money on apparel purchases since the policy was adopted, the Council voted to leave the policy guidelines in place, but cut the necessary funding for a staff member to enforce the policy. “Without staff resources to implement and oversee the city’s ethical purchasing policy, the program has been reduced to an empty gesture,” stated Miriam Palacios, spokesperson for the BC Ethical Purchasing Group, who campaigned to achieve the original policy. The BC Ethical Purchasing Group is asking for Vancouver City Council to revisit the issue and restore the resources required to continue with this important project. As a model for other Canadian cities currently considering Ethical Purchasing Policies, the effective implementation of Vancouver’s policy must be maintained and enhanced. Requested Action: Please write a letter to the Mayor of Vancouver and ask that Council restore the resources to enforce their Ethical Purchasing Policy. We also ask that the Vancouver City staff investigate opportunities to collaborate with other municipal jurisdictions in implementing their Ethical Purchasing Policies.

A model letter and addresses can be found below. Please write your own letter and send copies to MSN.

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SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear Mayor Sullivan;

I am writing from [INSERT YOUR CITY/TOWN] to urge you to reinstate the funding to implement Vancouver’s Ethical Purchasing Policy. Vancouver’s policy is an outstanding example of a city using its tax dollars to protect the most disadvantaged rather than to subsidize unethical practices. Properly enforced, Vancouver’s policy will uphold internationally-recognized standards in the apparel industry. It will protect honest suppliers from unethical competitors who undercut their prices by exploiting workers. Without enforcement, Vancouver’s policy will not achieve the goals for which it was adopted. In adopting your Ethical Purchasing Policy you provided a model for municipalities across Canada to follow. I know that a number of Canadian municipalities are currently following Vancouver’s lead and preparing to adopt ethical purchasing policies of their own. Cutting back the enforcement of Vancouver’s policy sends a negative signal to other Canadians who are trying to do the right thing and look to Vancouver’s example. Please reinstate the funding for staff to enforce Vancouver’s Ethical Purchasing Policy and restore Vancouver’s reputation as a city that is committed to upholding workers rights. I understand that Vancouver city staff reported that the costs of implementation in the past year were less than originally anticipated, and that Vancouver actually saved 14,000 last year on apparel when implementing the EPP. Rather than cutting staff to reduce costs, perhaps it will be possible to identify future savings and give increased effect to the Policy by instructing Vancouver City staff to investigate opportunities to collaborate with other municipal jurisdictions in Canada and the United States in implementing their Ethical Purchasing Policies.

Sincerely

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Send your letters to: Mayor Sullivan at sam.sullivan@vancouver.ca

Please copy your letters to:

“Councilor Suzanne Anton” clranton@vancouver.ca
“Councilor Elizabeth Ball” clrcapri@vancouver.ca
“Councilor George Chow” clrchow@vancouver.ca
“Councilor Heather Deal” clrdeal@vancouver.ca
“Councilor Peter Ladner” clrlee@vancouver.ca
“Councilor Raymond Louie” clrlouie@vancouver.ca
“Councilor Tim Stevenson” clrstevenson@vancouver.ca

And please send a copy of your letters to: info@maquilasolidarity.org
Background information: www.maquilasolidarity.org/nosweat/news/nosweat_update_feb2205.htm
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Maquila Solidarity Network / Ethical Trading Action Group / 606 Shaw Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6G 3L6 416-532-8584 (phone) 416-532-7688 (fax) / www.maquilasolidarity.org

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