Workers rights in a globalising world: The role of labour provisions in free trade agreements

In cooperation with the Canadian government, the Swiss government and the University of Toronto, the Research Department of the ILO is organizing an international conference ‘Workers rights in a globalising world: The role of labour provisions in free trade agreements’. The conference will take place on 8 May 2014 at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada. The conference is being organized as part of a research project that analyses the effectiveness of labour provisions in unilateral, bilateral and regional trade and investment arrangements, focussing on the different approaches, coherence and the role of ILO. The conference will offer an international forum for discussing emerging issues with regard to the various approaches to labour provisions, their effectiveness as well as practical experiences and lessons learned.


9.00-9.30 Opening and introduction

Peter Pauly, Dean, Rotman School of Management
Duncan Campbell, Deputy Director, Research Department, ILO
Anil Verma, Director, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto
Anthony Giles, Director, Strategic Policy, Analysis and Workplace Information Directorate, Canada 
Damien Vacheron, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland

9.30-10.30 Session I: Labour Provisions in Free Trade Agreements: Standard Setting or Window Dressing?

Moderator: Duncan Campbell, Research Department, ILO, Geneva
  • Michael Trebilcock, Professor, University of Toronto (bio)
  • Susan Ariel Aaronson, Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University (bio)

10.30-10.45 Coffee break

10.45-12.30 Session II: Roundtable with policy makers and social partners from Canada, the US, and the EU

Moderator: Pablo Lazo Grandi, Senior Advisor, Multilateral Economic Affairs Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile

  • Pierre Bouchard, Director, Bilateral and Regional Labour Affairs, ESDC, Canada  (bio)
  • Sébastien Martin, Advisor, Free Trade Agreements/EFTA Unit, SECO, Switzerland (bio)
  • Patrick Pieroni, Trade and Development Policy Adviser, DG Trade, European Commission (bio)
  • Carlos Romero, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Labor Affairs, Office of the US Trade Representative (bio)
  • Jeffrey Vogt, Senior Expert, International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC, Brussels  (bio)

12.30-2.00 Lunch

2.00-3.30 Session III: Various approaches to labour provisions

Moderator: Brian Langille, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Kimberly Elliott, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development, Washington, DC (bio)
  • Tequila Brooks, Attorney and international employment policy specialist, Washington DC (bio)
  • Janice Bellace, Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (bio)

3.30-3.45 Coffee break

3.45-5.00 Session IV: From Theory to practice: Lessons learned and policy challenges

Moderator: Rahul Sen, Professor, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
  • Adelle Blackett, Professor, McGill-CRIMT, Montreal (bio)
  • Howard Mann, Senior International Law Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Ottawa (bio)
  • Karen Tramontano, CEO, Blue Star Strategies, Washington DC (bio)

5.00-5.30 Closing Comments

  • Nancy Donaldson, Director, Washington Office, ILO
  • Marva Corley-Coulibaly, Research Coordinator, Research Department, ILO Geneva
  • Duncan Campbell, Deputy Director, Research Department, ILO, Geneva