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July 03, 2007


Marie-Eve Allaire

Hi harvey,

Your right when you talk about our responsability as consumers. When I realized the fact that everyone buy gift at the same period (exemple: Christmas time) have a direct impact on the overtime problem in other countries, I have started to do it differently. I have explained that to all my family and friends and told them that they will not receved gift from me for Chritmas. Everyone understand and we start to give different gifts, like services, doing an activity together or gift-certificate that we can use later in the year. I invite other people to do the same and together that could make a difference.


I don't want to disagree with what has been said, I do see it as important. I just find it interesting that we don't notice the same thing, or far worse going on in our own country. I worked on the service rigs in the oil field for a summer between years of college, and I worked for two months without a day off starting at 6 in the morning and often going until 9 or 10 at night, I never had a coffee break and often went without a lunch break. granted the pay was much better, but the same laws were being ignored and the same human rights issues applied. I would say the work environment was worse than many of those over seas and injuries were more frequent and more likely to be covered up, and yet you all still buy gas and oil for your cars. Again, I'm not trying to belittle what is going on in Asia, nor am I trying to get you to boycott oil products, just some food for thought.


Hi Jon,

Thanks for reminding us that this happens in Canada as well.

In no way am I diminishing your experience, but I believe that if you complained to the local labour board, they would have immediately investigated your work conditions and made your employer respect regulated work standards.

In the developing world, when a worker reports something similiar, the government will more often than not just shrug its shoulders.

Once again, your experience is a good reminder that this stuff happens everywhere.



Hi Marie-Eve,

Thanks for the suggestion. As you highlighted, consumers can make a difference.


Zedes Dabuyu

Solutions? What is MEC changing about their production strategy to meet any of the points you raise?


As someone that has physically been to factories in China I'd have to both disagree and agree with what you have written.

Most of these workers choose to work overtime even when they go over the alloted times. These workers get paid by the number of pieces they produce per day, and therefore try to produce as many as possible.

You have to look at their real wages and not their wages after our exchange rate is applied. 1 dollar here buys us a chocolate bar and 1 yuan buys them a chocolate bar in China. The average wage for garment workers ranges between 600-1200 yuan per month. If these factory workers stayed in their home town, they would be making HALF the amount.

Don't get me wrong... I'm not China lover. I'm the exact opposite as I've lived there for 5 years until recently, and have seen many inequalities.

Harvey Chan

Hi Zedes,

The big initiative MEC is working on is harmonizing our efforts with the other brands in the factory If a factory's customers can aggree on the key issues, we will be in a better position to influence alot of the issues.

There are a few factories where MEC is an important customer. At this stage, we're trying to get the factories to recognize and agree on the issues. This is step one in getting the factory to improve in a lasting manner.

As a side note, we are the major customer in one Canadian factory, which has a very indifferent attitude towards this and other portfolios. Sometimes, being an important customer doesn't matter.

Thanks for your question.

Harvey Chan

Hi Shockr,

I think we are saying the same thing. If you haven't seen it yet check the blurb on this blog title "Is life better...?"


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