Potential suppliers of uniforms for Mounties, park wardens, prison guards and soldiers must now promise to pay fair wages and shun child labour in their foreign factories.

Under new federal procurement rules, bidders must sign a certification letter that says they will uphold eight principles for safe and humane working conditions set out in international conventions.

"Our department is committed to purchasing goods and services through an open, fair and transparent process from vendors who operate in an ethically and socially responsible manner and observe international and local laws, norms and standards on labour and human rights," said Public Services and Procurement Canada spokesperson Michèle LaRose. 

Government contracts for apparel are worth about $127 million a year. About 88 per cent of that clothing is already made in Canada — mostly uniforms for various federal workers, such as border guards and Coast Guard employees.

Simon Lewchuk, policy adviser on child rights and protection for World Vision Canada, said the move to strengthen the procurement policy is necessary but doesn't go far enough. He called the new guidelines "a step in the right direction," but added they must be accompanied by other government actions. Read More