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Supermax: Only Federal Govt of Canada contract on hold

KUALA LUMPUR: Supermax Corp Bhd says only the Federal Government of Canada contract has been put on hold and an independent audit report is underway as it tackles a fresh round of inquiries, this time from Canadian authorities, over its labour practices.

It was commenting on a Nov 14 news report entitled “Canada pauses imports from Supermax over forced labour concerns” whose headline it deemed “misleading and not accurate”.

In a Nov 15 filing with Bursa Malaysia, Supermax clarified that only the Federal Government of Canada contract is on hold pending the submission of an audit report by a US-based independent auditor, which will be made available in the fourth week of November.

Canada’s Public Services and Procurement department had said in a Nov 10 statement that it had asked six suppliers sourcing for gloves in Malaysia, including Supermax Healthcare Canada, to provide information on its labour and human rights practices.

The Canadian authority said it was awaiting a report from Supermax Healthcare Canada, which was expected in mid-November 2021.

“In the interim, additional deliveries from Supermax Healthcare Canada to the Government are being held,” it said.

Following these developments, Supermax said it would speed up the process of its undertaking to meet the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards on migrant workers, but expressed its disappointment that “due consideration” had not been given to efforts that began in 2019.

“The Supermax Group had embarked on its undertaking to meet the ILO standards on migrant workers since 2019.

“The process has well started and Supermax is surprised that due consideration has not been given to the fact that corrective steps have started and improvements made to labour welfare,” it said.

The Canadian market represents about 9% of the group’s total market share, although Supermax said this fluctuates based on successful tender awards for each year.

Supermax added that all other personal protective equipment products under Supermax Canada’s portfolio such as surgical face masks, glove imports from other suppliers, gowns and dental products, are not affected by the ban.

“The duration of the withholding of contract would also determine the extent of the adverse financial impact. However, the Company does not foresee any material impact operationally,” it said.

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