Susan Rich, Shaw Industries director of corporate communications, has released a statement about an issue regarding importing specific hardwood flooring products into Canada. Her statement follows:
"In December, Shaw learned that Canada does not permit the importation of goods manufactured with prison labor. Several years ago, we acquired a hardwood company [Anderson Hardwood Flooring] which has a successful track record of manufacturing through a government-approved prison industry enterprise (PIE) program. This voluntary program employs inmates to handcraft some of our hardwood flooring products. Since this long-standing PIE program is authorized by our government, we never questioned whether exporting these products to Canada would be permitted.
"We confirmed the Canadian prohibition just prior to the holidays and immediately filed a voluntary disclosure with Canadian customs. We stopped accepting Canadian orders for products manufactured through these programs and ceased shipping the impacted products to Canada. We then informed our sales force and notified our customers. We regret this misfortune and any inconvenience that addressing it may cause our customers and sales associates in Canada.
"Shaw is cooperating with Canadian customs and is not anticipating any penalties or fines related to this issue. As always, Shaw’s core values of honesty and integrity have been upheld during the evaluation and management of this issue.
"Additional Information on Shaw's PIE Program: The PIE program employs inmates to handcraft some of our hardwood flooring products. Through the entirely voluntary program, participants earn comparable pay to civilians in their region. Wages are apportioned by the state for victims' restitution, room and board, inmate savings, family allocation and spending. We have successfully employed many inmates after their release from prison. For inmates working in the program for at least one year; the likelihood of an inmate returning to prison after release drops to 11 percent - as compared to the national average of 68 percent."