Events planned to promote fair trading practices

Events planned to promote fair trading practices

Guido Fernandez knows how fair trade helps workers and producers.

Fair trade is a system of trading based on treating workers and producers with fairness and respect. Several certifying bodies around the world monitor and audit companies seeking to promote fair trade. Companies shown to foster fair trading practices will be certified.

Fernandez owns Responsible Harvest, a coffee-roasting business in Whitby, which only sells fair trade certified coffee. Fernandez got involved with the fair trade movement 10 years ago while working for a coffee company in his native Colombia.

“I’ve been involved with fair trade for a long time,” he says. “I know first-hand about the benefits of the fair trade movement.”

Fernandez is discouraged that Canadians haven’t shown the interest other countries – particularly in Europe – have in promoting free trade products. Still, he says a fair number of his customers come to him for coffee because he has been licensed as a supplier of fair trade products.

“It hasn’t been publicized that much in Canada,” he says. “Some people are aware. Most of my customers buy my coffee because it’s fair trade … Once people are aware of it, they go for it.”

In the spirit of promoting the practice, Fair Trade Weeks will be celebrated in Canada from May 1-15.

Canada’s leading organization promoting international fair trade, says there are a number of things Canadians can do to help protect people in developing countries from unfair trade practices.

The sixth annual Fair Trade Weeks will be held in major cities across Canada. Many supermarkets and stores will take time to promote fair trade certified products. Events held during the two weeks include information sessions and food sampling.

“The objective is to increase awareness of fair trade and convince more Canadians to join the movement,” Havard says.

Chantal Havard, spokesperson for TransFair Canada, emphasizes that Canadians don’t have to wait for Fair Trade Weeks to help stop exploitation in developing nations.

She explains some of the things Canadians can do to promote the practice.

“There are many things you can do,” she says. “You can start by choosing fair trade products. Then, you can go a step further by promoting it amongst friends and coworkers.”

TransFair is an Ottawa-based organization working with Canadian companies to promote international fair trade practices. It is the only Canadian organization which grants licenses to companies which sell fair trade certified products.

“Our role is to make sure that they purchase from certified organizations in (developing countries),” Havard says.

Most certified products are food, including coffee, tea, fruit and rice. Packaging on fair trade certified products are embossed with a logo.

Havard says she’d like to see the Canadian government take more interest in the fair trade movement.

“We’d like an official recognition from the federal government that fair trade is working and making a difference.”

Fernandez echoes Havard’s sentiments.

“It would be great to have more government involvement,” he says. “If not promoting it, at least using its products.”

For more information on TransFair and fair trade practices, visit

Writer Bio

Deron Hamel's picture
Deron Hamel

Deron joined Axiom News in March 2007, having previously worked as a news reporter for print, online and wire services. He serves as Axiom News’ long-term care pod lead, after several years of writing stories and editorials for our clients in that sector. An award-winning advocacy journalist, Deron has seen first-hand the strengths long-term care brings to the greater health-care sector and through his work he seeks to share successes and best practices.

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