By Robyn Doolittle
Jackets sold at the Ryerson bookstore that were violating federal laws have been pulled from the racks.
Bookstore manager Kelly Abraham removed the coats Friday afternoon after The Eyeopener contacted him about product tags that were cut or removed, so consumers could no longer tell which country manufactured them.
This is in breach of Canada’s Textile Labelling Act, which states that if the product was imported, “it is then required that the country of origin of that article or part be stated.”
The Trimark-brand jackets in question originate from Malaysia. One jacket’s tag had been cut and re-sewed so that the part of the label displaying the country it came from was covered.
“No, no, no, it’s there,” insisted Director of Ancillary Services John Corallo as he started peeling the seams from the stitched-up tags.
In some cases the jacket was missing the label altogether; other times only the manufacturing country was snipped off.
“No one has been instructed to remove the tags,” Corallo said.
Abraham said the school will most likely be sending the coats back to Trimark. Similar spring jackets were pulled in November, following allegations the brand Outer Boundary–a sister company of Trimark–manufactured its products in sweatshops.
Nancy Lam, director of product and supply chain management at Trimark, said even though its products are made in countries with forced labour, Trimark factories comply with all human rights codes and are “inspected regularly.”
As for where the tags were removed, Lam only knows it didn’t happen at her company.
“I don’t know what stage it would have been cut off. (Products) go through different stages and distributors before it reaches the consumer,” she said.
Abraham also said the damage could have been done at various stages before reaching Ryerson and that the coats had been on the sales floor since fall.
Corallo and Abraham will attend a meeting this week at the University of Toronto to further discuss a “No Sweat” policy.
If implemented, the proposal would prevent the university from selling products made through forced labour.