Temporary foreign workers and Canadian Mines

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Temporary foreign workers and Canadian Mines

Union's Decry Influx of Foreign Mining Workers

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/unions-decry-influx...

"We believe this mass importation of labour is completely unnecessary and is simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal-mining in China..."

Regions: 
kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Here is a good article about the situation from the Tyee yesterday.  Unlike the "national" paper the Tyee had been reporting on this story since February.

Quote:

"Premier Christy Clark today announced financing worth $1.36 billion for two major investments which will eventually create over 6,700 jobs. 'This investment clearly shows how confident China is in British Columbia's world-class mining resources and strong investment climate,' said Premier Christy Clark. 'These two projects support our BC Jobs Plan and according to the companies will create over 6,700 jobs and other economic benefits for British Columbians.'"

What the provincial leader didn't mention was that most of the direct mining jobs would go to temporary foreign workers brought to mining camps in the northeast of the province from China. Now, as British Columbians get a closer look at the deal's implications, the government is facing criticism from a local union that says the use of temporary foreign workers will deny jobs to Canadians and expose the temporary workers to exploitation. Environmentalists are piling on, saying that the climate destabilizing coal should remain in the ground because of its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. And a local First Nation isn't budging in its firm rejection of the mine.

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/10/15/China-Temp-Miners/

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

As well this morning this Oped appeared in the Tyee.  The first settler, coastal communities in BC were the coal mining towns like Cumberland and Nanaimo. That history is one of racist exploitation and disregard for the lives of Asians employed at less wages than their white counterparts.

Quote:

BC's history of exploiting foreign workers

Racism? Yes. Up to 2,000 Chinese temporary foreign workers at as many as four mines with heavy Chinese investment will be paid less than Caucasian or other workers of different ethnic origins in the mining industry.

That's one big reason why they're coming here -- because underground machinery mechanics will be paid $25 to $32 an hour according to one coal company's job ads -- rather than Canadian mining industry rates of up to more than double that.

The Chinese workers will live in isolated camps at the underground mines in northeast B.C., just as in previous centuries.

Like their predecessors in the 1870s who came to work in B.C. coal mines, they will not have a vote in this country.

And like 6,500 Chinese workers brought to Canada to construct the CPR railroad through the mountains from 1880 to 1885 where at least 600 of them died on the job, they will also be doing some of the most dangerous work in the world.

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/10/16/Chinese-Temp-Miners/

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Can this be blocked? Overturned?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thanks for that update, kropotkin. Truly galling stuff.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

It gets worse.  The Chinese miners are being forced to pay for their jobs. $12,500 if the reports are correct.

Quote:

One of the recruiters, who claimed to be working for a British Columbia-based company called the Canada CIBS Investment and Trade Group said 30,000 yuan ($4,700 CAD) is paid upon a contract being signed in China, and an additional 50,000 yuan ($7,800 CAD) is paid over 20 months after arrival in Canada.

"We are an employment agency and we need to charge you an agent fee," wrote the recruiter in a conversation in Chinese via QQ, a Chinese version of MSN Messenger.

"Before you leave China, you must pay us 30,000 yuan, when you live in Canada, you must pay the rest -- 50,000 yuan."

According to China's state-run media outlet Xinhua, a coal miner in China earns about 1,000 yuan a month, making the upfront agency fee two-and-a-half-year’s salary for workers who accept the offer.

The recruiter said the employer will deduct the remaining recruiter's fee from workers' paycheques, about $400 CAD a month.

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/10/18/Chinese-Temp-Miners/

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Not only do we need to fight against the exploitation of foreign temporary Chinese coal mine workers, we also need to fight to stop coal exports from this province. We have to get humanity off of our adiction to coal and other fossil fuels, which is literally cooking our planet.

[url=http://wildernesscommittee.org/coal]Coal Free BC|Wilderness Committee[/url]

Quote:
Currently there are over 12 new coal mines proposed in BC. On Vancouver Island, there are plans for three new mines in the Comox Valley, and a coal port in Port Alberni. Local opposition has highlighted the impact this proposal would have on drinking water, and on the thriving Fanny Bay oyster industry. In the Peace River region of northeastern BC, new coal mines threaten critical habitat for the endangered caribou herds that were once plentiful in the region. The mighty salmon rivers of the Sacred Headwaters are also at risk from a giant open-pit mine proposal. And additional proposals in the Kootenays will intensify the existing mining activity in the Elk Valley, and move further into intact wilderness.

Quote:
Deltaport is currently undergoing an expansion, increasing capacity by 50 per cent by adding a third berth and making the port the largest container terminal on Canada’s west coast. The
Vancouver Port Authority is now also pushing ahead with plans to add a second terminal, which
combined will result in more than a three-fold increase in capacity. The so-called Terminal 2 project could industrialize over 1000 hectares of agricultural land and destroy a key bird habitat that's part of the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds. Additional port capacity would also be created at Neptune Terminals in West Vancouver, Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody and Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert.

This indicates an opening for a united front campaign in BC involving opponents of coal mining; immigrant rights activists opposed to the Temporary Foreign Worker program; and opponents of the Deltaport expansion, including oppoents of the Speical economic zone the federal and provincial governments want to bring in at the port, where Canadian labour standards are to be shredded.

NorthReport

Unions slam 'mass importation' of Chinese workers for B.C. coal mine

 

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Unions+slam+mass+importation+Chinese+worker...

 

A major B.C. labour organization denounced on Monday the “mass importation” of Chinese workers to mine coal in the northeast part of the province, saying it is “preposterous” to suggest British Columbians don’t have the skills to fill close to 2,000 full-time jobs destined for foreign workers.

“We want to register our grave concerns about the uses and abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program as it relates to projects in British Columbia,” the organization told Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Christy Clark in an open letter.

It was issued by the Bargaining Council of the B.C. Building Trades Unions, made up of 15 unions representing 35,000 craft construction workers, including underground miners.

“We believe this mass importation of labour is completely unnecessary and is simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal mining in China,” wrote BCBCBTU President Mark Olsen.

“The coal mining in that country is patently unsafe and the industry there shows little regard for the life, health and well-being of the workers in that country.”

The organization was reacting to the disclosure in The Vancouver Sun that a consortium of companies, mostly Chinese, are planning to bring anywhere from 1,600 to just under 2,000 Chinese nationals to B.C. in coming years to work in four proposed underground mine projects.

Permits under the TFW program have already been issued to 201 Chinese nationals to work in the most advanced of the four, the Murray River project near Tumbler Ridge, which is at the environmental review stage.

It is slated to begin full production in 2015. The other three projects are at various stages of development and have many more hurdles to overcome before becoming operational.

The TFW program brought in just over 190,000 workers to fill jobs in Canada in 2011, including roughly 46,000 in B.C. Companies usually must show in advance that they can’t find the workers inside Canada before they can seek TFW permits.

The president of Canadian Dehua International Mines Ltd., a Vancouver-based company working with Chinese firms in all four projects, said last week the companies had no option but to hire experienced Chinese workers, since most Canadian coal mines are open-pit operations.

NorthReport

B.C coal mine’s temporary workers from China will be here for years, maybe decades 

Mines are not prepared to pay enough to attract Canadian workers, say employment experts

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/metro/Coal+mine+temporary+workers+wi...

The hundreds of “temporary” foreign workers coming from China starting this autumn to work in northeastern B.C. coal mines will end up staying for years, if not decades, predicts the president of a B.C.-based employment agency.

And some of them may end up getting ripped off and even going home in caskets if the B.C. government doesn’t ensure proper regulation, said Kael Campbell, president of the Red Seal Group, a Victoria firm that helps match companies with skilled tradespeople across Canada.

“There is a true shortage of workers in northern B.C.,” said Campbell, a former employment standards officer in the B.C. Labour Ministry. “These Chinese workers are not going to be replaced by Canadians in this current economy. They will likely be nominated by the company for permanent residency and work in northern B.C. for years, if not decades.”

Campbell said he has no problem with the argument from government and industry officials that the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program is an economic necessity.

“Chinese coal miners built towns like Cumberland, B.C., and were a huge part of the founding of Canada (by working) on the railway.”

But he said there should be a long-term plan to integrate the workers that goes far beyond the employer’s plan to teach each of the 200 workers recently approved by Ottawa a list of 100 English words related to safety and technical matters.

“We really have to question how a miner who knows 100 words in English will know what their rights are or how to follow” government-mandated safety procedures.

He cited one incident in 2007 when two Chinese nationals brought to Canada under the TFW program died when the roof of a holding tank collapsed over their heads at an oilsands project north of Fort McMurray.

The Alberta government confirmed in June of 2008 that an investigation determined the workers were being shortchanged.

The widow of one of the accident victims, Ge Genbao, said her husband told her he would make the equivalent of $600 a month. He should have been making $30 an hour, or at least $4,800 a month, plus overtime and benefits, according to the union that represented the workers, the Edmonton Journal reported.

SSEC Canada Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of Chinese state-owned oil giant Sinopec, pleaded guilty last month of failing to ensure the safety of the workers killed and injured in the accident during construction of the Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s $10.8-billion Horizon oilsands project.

The Crown is seeking a fine of $500,000, according to the Edmonton Journal. Sentencing is set for Jan. 24.

Campbell estimates that about 15 per cent of temporary foreign workers in B.C. are scammed out of part of their pay, often by middlemen in Canada or in the country of origin.

He said the B.C. Employment Standards Act, which covers temporary foreign workers, has a maximum penalty of $10,000, far short of the $100,000 fine and two-year jail sentence that can be imp

NorthReport

Jobs minister says province needs foreign workers to meet labour shortage Union writes letter to provincial, federal governments opposing use of Chinese miners in B.C

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Jobs+minister+says+province+needs+foreign+workers+meet+labour+shortage/7402394/story.html#ixzz29gisY9jR

A major B.C. labour organization is denouncing the "mass importation" of Chinese workers to mine coal in the northeast part of the province, saying it is "preposterous" to suggest British Columbians don't have the skills to fill close to 2,000 full-time jobs destined for foreign workers.

"We want to register our grave concerns about the uses and abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program as it relates to projects in British Columbia," the organization told Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Christy Clark in an open letter on Monday.

It was issued by the Bargaining Council of the B.C. Building Trades Unions, made up of 15 unions representing 35,000 craft construction workers, including underground miners.

"We believe this mass importation of labour is completely unnecessary and is simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal mining in China," wrote BCBCBTU President Mark Olsen. "The coal mining in that country is patently unsafe and the industry there shows little regard for the life, health and wellbeing of the workers in that country."

The organization was reacting to the disclosure in The Vancouver Sun that a consortium of companies, mostly Chinese, are planning to bring anywhere from 1,600 to just under 2,000 Chinese nationals to B.C. in coming years to work in four proposed underground mine projects.

Permits under the TFW program have already been issued to 201 Chinese nationals to work in the most advanced of the four, the Murray River project near Tumbler Ridge, which is at the environmental review stage.

B.C. Jobs Minister Pat Bell said Tuesday he has no concerns that worker safety will be compromised or that workers will not receive fair wages at the Murray River project. He said he suspects the "election cycle" - B.C. voters are heading to the polls next May - is motivating union opposition in this province to the TFW program.

Bell said there is no basis for unions like the United Steelworkers to make claims they have members who can fill those jobs. He singled out one example, an underground coal mine in Grande Cache, Alta., where Steelworkers members are already employed yet temporary workers were brought in to provide additional needed labour. The mine is advertising for more underground coal miners on its website.

NorthReport

卑诗招聘中国劳工持续发烧∶资方为低薪找华工 加拿大家园 iask.ca 2012-10-17 09:21 来源: 世界新闻网 作者:

 

劳工团体高分贝严词批评卑诗引进中国矿工。(网路照片) 家 园 论 坛

卑诗招聘中国劳工议题持续发烧,代表15个工会的卑诗建筑贸易工会谈判委员会(Bargaining Council of the B.C. Building Trades Unions)向总理哈珀及卑诗省长简蕙芝发出公开信,严厉批评大规模引进中国劳工采矿的做法,认为这是聘用低薪矿工的手法,与加拿大的产业职场文化将格 格不入。

http://www.iask.ca/news/canada/2012/1017/161779.html

NorthReport

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radiorahim radiorahim's picture

It's the new global feudalism.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Here is an article explaining what anyone with a brain knew all along. Miners can be trained in a 6 week course and they are doing it south of the border as we speak. Gee running that equipment looks way beyond the comprehension of Canadian unemployed workers,  grrr!!

Bill Tielman wrote:

And if you doubt that China-owned coal companies had no choice but to import their own workers to B.C. because no trained, experienced miners are available, prepare to get downright furious.

The reason is simple. Neither the coal companies nor the federal or B.C. governments wanted to train Canadian workers -- even though it’s nowhere near as hard as they claim.

"We require temporary foreign workers because we are introducing a highly mechanized form of longwall mining to the province. There's currently no active long-wall mining going on in Canada or B.C.," says Jody Shimkus, vice-president of HD Mining International, one of the companies involved in developing up to four coal mines.

...

But is longwall mining that rare and complicated? No. Is China the only source of longwall miners? No. Just the cheapest.

US training legions of longwall miners

In fact, half of all U.S. coal mines use longwall methods, extracting 166 million tons in 2009 that way.

The largest U.S. underground coal producer -- Consul Energy -- constantly trains miners in longwall techniques at a new $12 million centre in southwest Pennsylvania because that's how it extracts 88 per cent of its coal.

West Virginia and Pennsylvania also have a Mining Technology and Training Center that provides new and inexperienced miner training courses with 240 hours of classroom and hands-on training.

And since just 2005, the Kentucky Coal Academy has trained 55,000 new and incumbent miners.

The reason for training so many miners is obvious. There is a great need and the job pays well.

"We hire 1,000 to 1,500 employees a year," says Jimmy Brock, CONSOL Energy's chief operating officer for coal. "We will find miners because a mining job is a good-paying job with great benefits."

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/10/30/BC-Chinese-Miners/

 

 

NorthReport

Two unions seek federal court muscle to oust foreign workers from B.C. mine

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/unions+seek+federal+court+muscle+oust+f...

NorthReport

 

 

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NorthReport

So what have the BC Liberals discovered, apart from getting caught in their dirty little secret with the feds about how to undermine Canadian workers? 

B.C. to probe report foreign workers made to pay fees for jobs

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-to-probe-report-...

NorthReport

B.C. unions want foreign worker permits cancelled

Jobs Minister Pat Bell says it's hard to recruit Canadian workers for underground mine

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/11/05/bc-chine...

NorthReport

 

B.C. unions go to court over Chinese miners

http://www.mining.com/b-c-unions-go-to-court-over-chinese-miners-45531/

NorthReport

I remember, not that long ago, a situation involving Chinese workers in Alberta, when one of the workers died, and it was only because his widow started making inquiries about any benefits, it was then discovered that their employer had forced the Chinese workers to sign over power of attorneys to the employer over their bank accounts, paid them wages that were at least min wage in Canada, for all to see the size of their pay cheques, and then quietly when no one was looking, the employer deducted most of the money back each pay, so they were paid a pittance. Something like the scam about the Costa Rican workers who were paid $3.77 an hour working on the Canada Line in BC for Seli, until Mark Olsen, Business Manager of CSWU Local 1611, yes the same union, and others got involved, and won a 2.4 million dollar human rights case settlement for those poor workers.

This whole thing reeks of scam, scam, scam! 

405

NorthReport

So we exploit Chinese workers here in Canada, while China exploits workers there. We need to organize every worker on the planet.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/china/AJ201211050082

NorthReport

This is purely and simply a vicious attack on working people, and the unions that represent them. The unions were never ever consulted or asked for manpower, and found out about this sham by reading an article about it in the mainstrteam press.

Up to 2,000 Chinese miners on their way to British Columbia to fill jobs Canadians can't do safely


http://www.mining.com/up-to-2000-chinese-miners-on-their-way-to-british-...

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

The point that being lost in all this is that we shouldn't be extracting the coal in the first place. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet, it should be left in the ground. The union, company, and government are merely arguing who gets the economic benefit from cooking our planet. At the end of the day the planet still gets screwed regardless of who extracts the coal and at what pay rate.

NorthReport

No wonder BCers want rid of this BC Liberal government- jeesh!

The only concern for Bell here is that he got caught.

Publicity Could Hurt Miner Recruitment Fees Probe: Bell

BC's jobs minister worries media coverage may cause sources to clam up

 

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/10/26/BC-Miner-Recruitment/

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Left Turn wrote:

The point that being lost in all this is that we shouldn't be extracting the coal in the first place. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet, it should be left in the ground. The union, company, and government are merely arguing who gets the economic benefit from cooking our planet. At the end of the day the planet still gets screwed regardless of who extracts the coal and at what pay rate.

Well said.

Sean in Ottawa

So has anyone calculated the net pay they would get after the heavy "recruitment fee"?

What is the relationship between the "recruiter" and the employer? If the two are related then the amount being earned is all the more fraudulent.

this takes nothing away from the important observations made above.

NorthReport

Unions Want to See What's in Chinese Temp Miner Permits

Admitting 'problems' with program, labour minister launches review but unions want more transparency.

By Jeremy J. Nuttall, Today, TheTyee.ca

 

Diane Finley

Labour minister Diane Finley: 'We are not satisfied with what we have learned about the process…'

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unions that filed a request for a judicial review of permits allowing miners from China to work in British Columbian mines haven't been satisfied by news the federal government will review the case.

A spokesman for the unions said that's because despite news the federal government will examine the use of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program by B.C. mines, its attempt to have the permit applications for the workers released has been denied.

Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley said in a statement Thursday the ministry is concerned about the process that led to the workers' presence at mines run by HD Mining and Canadian Dehua International Mines Group.

In order to get a TFW permit, companies have to produce a Labour Market Opinion showing there are not any Canadians who can perform the job.

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/11/09/TFW-Review/

NorthReport

 

http://www.cochranetimes.com/2012/11/09/bc-miner-controversy-sparks-prob...

Employers who want to hire temporary foreign workers must apply for a "labour market opinion" from Service Canada that assesses "the impact the foreign worker would have on Canada's labour market."

"Concerns have come to light, subsequent to these labour market opinions being approved for that particular mine, that Mandarin was listed as a work requirement," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in an October interview with QMI Agency. "I understand HRSDC is taking a look at that to see if that was a valid work requirement."

The NDP, however, wants to see an "immediate suspension" of these permits and has demanded a full investigation to see if Canadian workers were given an opportunity to apply for the positions at the B.C. mine.

NDP immigration critic Jinny Sims also worries about how Canada's temporary foreign worker system operates overall and says a review is "long overdue."

"Companies used to have to search for six months in Canada before they could go look for overseas workers. And now...it is just six days before being allowed to hire workers from overseas.... The system is being abused," she said.

Sims also criticizes the government for allowing temporary foreign workers to be paid 15% less than other employees.

"They're helping their business friends to bring in cheap labour," Sims said. "That also suppresses the wages for Canadians here."

 

addictedtomyipod

We have a CON government in charge now.  A government that supports financiers and investors, not Canadian workers.  Spin is what is what we get from this government and their spokepersons.  Diane Finley is an insider that is given this job, to spin.  She has no intention to stand behind Canadians'  jobs and working class families daily struggles and her eagerness to please 'The Harper' says it all for me.  

She can keep on sucking on her cancer sticks as it pleases me.  Hopefuly she will get the grand visit of the big "C" and we can rid ourselves of another self-interested CON-player.

prowsej
NorthReport

Don't think for a second Harper is going to protect workers in Canada - we have already seen his efforts

And what's the problem with HD Mining's approach anyways - all you have to do is be able to speak, not one of Canada's two official languages, but a specific foreign language and you're hired. And if Peter Gall has his way these workers will be paid the going rate, no, not in Canada, but at the rate that they would be paid in China. 

The following is an example of the BS

http://www.coalguru.com/north_america/canada_change_entire_temporary_for...

NorthReport

Contact them and ask for a job

- from hd mining website

About us

HD Mining International Limited (Ltd.) brings state of the art high efficiency long-wall mining technology and new training initiatives for underground miners, to the first underground coal mining project approved in British Columbia in recent years.   HD Mining International Ltd. is developing the Murray River coal project in Tumbler Ridge, BC.  Once operational the mine is anticipated to have a 30-year lifespan and contribute around $91.2 million to the local and BC economies.

Incorporated in British Columbia in 2011, HD Mining International Ltd. is a private corporation formed by two majority partners, Huiyong Holdings (BC) Ltd. (55%) and Canadian Dehua International Mines Group Inc. (40%).  Five percent is held by another party.   As the majority investor, Huiyong Holdings (BC) Ltd. is responsible for project investment and mine development and operation.

The Board of Directors of HD Mining International Ltd. is comprised of representatives of the partner companies.   Mr. Penggui Yan, an experienced executive member of Huiyong Holdings Group, the parent company of Huiyong Holdings (BC) Ltd., serves as Chairman.

Huiyong Holding Group (HHG), the parent company of Huiyong Holdings (BC) Ltd., is a private company based in China and a respected leader in underground coal mining.  Currently HHG operates more than 9 mines throughout China.  Through strong training initiatives, rigorous engineering and collaboration with local communities, HHG has developed a national reputation for excellent mine safety, environmental protection and operational efficiency.

HD Mining International Ltd.’s core values are put into action by:  ensuring that the safety of workers and the community is foremost, protecting the environment, innovating for efficiency and safety and striving toward harmony within the workplace, the community and our day-to-day operations.

Contact Us:
HD Mining International, Ltd
(Address)
Tel: 604 689 8669
Fax: 604 689 0969
Email: info@hdminingintl.com

Jody Shimkus
Vice President
Environmental & Regulatory Affairs 

592

 

NorthReport

Or Jason Kenney, or so he says - we shall see.

 

Foreign Worker Review Was Already Underway, Permits Won't Be Pulled: Kenney

Immigration minister confident staff issued valid permits for Chinese temp miners in BC

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/11/10/TFW-Permits/

 

NorthReport

Posted just to show what can happen if workers are united in a cause

 - from 2007

http://dcnonl.com/article/id25136

November 19, 2007

Steelworkers install rebar for the walls and top concrete slabs of the Canada Line tunnel south of Cambie Street and 16th Avenue. The cut and cover trench is being constructed to contain two tunnels for inbound and outbound trains.

RICHARD GILBERT

Steelworkers install rebar for the walls and top concrete slabs of the Canada Line tunnel south of Cambie Street and 16th Avenue. The cut and cover trench is being constructed to contain two tunnels for inbound and outbound trains.

Human Rights tribunal rules in favour of Latino construction workers

RICHARD GILBERT

STAFF WRITER

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ordered a Canada Line employer to cease and desist from intimidating, coercing and retaliating against temporary foreign workers, who filed a complaint over racial discrimination and unfair wages.

SLCP-SELI Joint Venture imported and employed foreign workers, from Costa Rica, Colombia, and Equador, to construct the Canada Line tunnel in Vancouver. The Construction and Specialized Workers’ Union Local 1611 filed a complaint on behalf of these foreign workers in August 2006. The complaint alleged discrimination in employment on the grounds of race, colour, ancestry and place of origin, which is contrary to Section 13 of the B.C. Human Rights Code.

The original complaint was filed when the workers realized the terms and conditions of their employment were significantly different and substandard in comparison to their non-Latin American colleagues, who perform identical, similar or less skilled and responsible work.

The tribunal ruled on Nov. 9 that “the employer should not have further contact with employees in the complainant group except as is necessary in the ordinary course of the project.” The tribunal panel, which was chaired by Heather M. MacNaughton, also concluded that “the employer failed to establish the union is not a proper representative of the complainant group.”

According to the tribunal’s ruling, the company asked the workers to sign a petition, in “an attempt to intimidate and coerce individual members of the complainant group to withdraw their support for the union to represent them in this complaint.”

The original complaint was amended on Sept 28, 2007, when “the union alleged the employers’ managers drew up a petition which stated that those who signed it did not wish the union to represent them in their human rights complaint and managers had made intimidating or coercive comments to some members of the complainant group who refused to sign the petition.”

According to the employer on the Canada Line project, the tribunal has made errors regarding legal principles and left out several key points of evidence.

“We’re appealing the decision and taking it to the B.C. Supreme Court. We are filing the appeal today (Nov 14). We are also applying for an adjournment of the case, because we can’t proceed with the hearing, due to the onerous condition imposed on us by the decision,” said Chris Wates, human resources manager for SLCP-SELI Joint Venture.

“We still feel the union should not be representing these employees.”

Wayne Peppard, executive director of the British Columbia and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council (BCYT) said that the ruling highlights issues with the program.

“The ruling goes to the heart of the problems with the temporary foreign workers program. The fact is that this is a federal government program,” he said. “(Federal Human Resources Minister Monte) Solberg has not just opened the barn door. He has blasted the side off the barn. He has allowed workers to come into the country with out proper protection. The federal government has not monitored and enforced the program properly.”

Solberg announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program in September, which aims to fast-track the entry of foreign workers in high demand occupations.

A union spokesman said that it was important that this ruling came down so quickly.

“These workers are in a very vulnerable position. They were before this ruling and continue to be vulnerable. That is why the tribunal gave an expedited ruling with such strong language,” said Mark Olsen, business manager for the Construction and Specialized Workers’ Union Local 1611.

“We are calling on the federal government to do due diligence on these companies in the future. The federal government needs to get more involved and do more enforcement, so this does not happen again.”

The SLCP-SELI joint venture partners are SELI Canada Inc. is owned by the Italian parent company SELI, and SNC-Lavalin Constructors (Pacific) Inc., which is a subsidiary of Canadian-owned SNC-Lavalin. SNC Lavalin was contracted by InTransitBC to be the main contractor on the $2 billion mostly publicly funded project.

 

NorthReport

Get ready for a cut in pay folks because this is what this is going to lead to, and not just the coal miners working next door that are earning $42 an hour, but for all of us, because right-wing greed is insatiable.

 

 

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/coal-mine-looked-for-chinese-workers-at-low...

NorthReport

Harper's top attack dog is on the case so behind the scenes the business community is obviously  kicking Harper's ass.

All the right-wing press is trying to do here is shove the issue down the road and not address the immediate concerns of these Chinese workers taking Canadian jobs away from avaialble Canadians.

Temporary foreign workers: Filling labour gap or depressing wages? But real concern, say some, is that many will go underground once their permits expire in 2015

 

 

http://www.vancouversun.com/Temporary+foreign+workers+Filling+labour+dep...

NorthReport

Steelworkers' Union protesting Chinese workers taking BC mining jobs
VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980)
Shane Woodford | Email news tips to shane.woodford@corusent.com
11/17/2012

The Steelworkers’ Union took the issue of Chinese workers coming to BC for mining jobs right to the door of MLAs around the Province.

President of Local 2009 Manjit Sidhu says they were even outside BC Energy Minister Rich Coleman’s Langley office today.

Sidhu says they will take the issue to other provincial and federal politicians as well as the Premier soon.

 "If we would have had a sitting of the legislature at least we would have been able to put the questions to our government. The fall sitting was cancelled so we have got to be out in front of MLA and MP offices talking to the public, keeping them aware of what is going on."

Sidhu says while immigration is a federal issue it concerns BC because those jobs weren't offered to local workers.

http://www.cknw.com/news/vancouver/story.aspx/story.aspx?ID=1821074

NorthReport

As they now head to court once again, Mark Olsen and the Labourers' union of BC, Local 1611, the same union that won a 2.1 million dollar settlement on behalf of underpaid and discriminated against Costa Rican workers who worked on the Canada Line in the Lower Mainland, shows what decisive leadership is all about on behalf of workers in Canada.

Unions have right to challenge mine's temporary foreign worker permits: judge 

The Federal Court will hear a challenge brought by two unions of a federal government decision to grant temporary foreign work permits for a northern B.C. coal mine.

The unions are seeking a judicial review of approximately 200 temporary foreign worker permits granted to HD Mining International for its Murray River mine near Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

Lawyers for the company and the federal Immigration and Human Resources departments sought to have the application dismissed.

Judge Douglas Campbell declined, noting in his decision Thursday there is a public interest in the case.

"I note that presently there is almost no knowledge of the contents of the (labour market opinions) in question, nor is there a method in the present circumstances by which their production can be ordered without granting the applicants standing in these proceedings," Campbell wrote.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 and the Construction and Specialized Workers Union Local 1611 say the company offered wages that were $10 to $17 an hour lower than the going rates at similar mines, and without benefits.

They claim the mine also had advertisements that required workers speak Mandarin - a claim the company denies.

The unions want to see the labour market opinions rendered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The opinions, which are intended to determine whether there's a labour shortage in a particular job, formed the basis for the successful permit applications. The Crown opposed providing those documents, even on a confidential basis.

"I don't know why they were fighting us so hard and why they wouldn't give us the documents earlier," said Charles Gordon, the lawyer for the unions.

"If the process was followed, as the companies have claimed, then it's hard to see what harm there could be from producing the documents when we asked for them.

And if the process was followed properly, this whole thing would disappear."

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NorthReport

B.C. coal mine advertised jobs in China at 'considerably' lower pay: union

 union Union workers in B.C. have raised the alarm over a Chinese coal company's plan to bring foreign miners to work in Canada.Photograph by: AFP, Getty Images Files , Vancouver Sun

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/resources/coal+mine+advertised+j...

NorthReport
NorthReport

Christy Clark shaking hands

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Nearly a year ago, B.C. Premier Christy Clark was clearly having a good day on her trade mission to China. In an exultant press release datelined Beijing, Nov. 11, 2011, the premier announced a substantial infusion of Chinese capital for two new projects in the B.C. coal mining industry, an investment that would, she said, result in thousands of new jobs. The press release opened on a triumphant note:

"Premier Christy Clark today announced financing worth $1.36 billion for two major investments which will eventually create over 6,700 jobs. 'This investment clearly shows how confident China is in British Columbia's world-class mining resources and strong investment climate,' said Premier Christy Clark. 'These two projects support our BC Jobs Plan and according to the companies will create over 6,700 jobs and other economic benefits for British Columbians.'"

What the provincial leader didn't mention was that most of the direct mining jobs would go to temporary foreign workers brought to mining camps in the northeast of the province from China. Now, as British Columbians get a closer look at the deal's implications, the government is facing criticism from a local union that says the use of temporary foreign workers will deny jobs to Canadians and expose the temporary workers to exploitation. Environmentalists are piling on, saying that the climate destabilizing coal should remain in the ground because of its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. And a local First Nation isn't budging in its firm rejection of the mine.

 

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/10/15/China-Temp-Miners/

NorthReport

Another one of BC Liberal Christy Clark's great families-first, job-creating achievements.

Company behind B.C. mine shuts separate project over temporary worker concerns

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/national/Company+behind+mine+shuts+s...

NorthReport

People need to start digging into her background - what she did before, dates of what she was doing when, has she broken any rules, laws or guidelines?  Start connecting the dots.........

 

Quote:
Jody Shimkus, vice-president of environmental and regulatory affairs for HD Mining.

 

http://www.canada.com/Mining+firm+appeals+foreign+worker+ruling/7606209/...

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Asst. deputy minister’s move to mining company questioned

B.C.’s former assistant deputy resource minister is being accused of violating government policy for taking an executive job at a mining company immediately after leaving office.

Jody Shimkus left her post in the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, which oversees mining in the province, in January and took a position at HD Mining International – the same company currently under fire for trying to import Chinese labourers to the province.

Now, union leaders are questioning whether Shimkus violated provincial policy, which forbids senior managers from lobbying or otherwise representing an outside company to the ministry where they last worked within one year of leaving government.

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/asst-deputy-minister-s-move-to-mining-company-quest...

NorthReport
NorthReport

Foreign worker debate highlights 'anti-China bias'

B.C. minister downplays closure of separate proposed underground coal mine

The real problem is the federal temporary foreign worker program, Wong said.

"These types of policies, they tend to be exploitative. The worker is really at the mercy of the employer," he said.

'They have no rights'

The government has created a system rife for fraud and exploitation, Wong said, and Jim Sinclair of the B.C. Federation of Labour agrees.

"They have no rights," Sinclair said.

He said temporary workers face the double jeopardy of losing their jobs and being sent home if they complain.

"You get fired and you get sent home, so it's tough. The boss has way too much power in these circumstances," Sinclair said.

 

 


http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/11/25/bc-mine-...

NorthReport

So my question is quite simple:

if this is a Canadian coal mine operation, why, if she thinks that there are not enough qualified Canadian workers to do the job, why isn't the company Jody Shimkus works for, pay for the training of Canadian workers, as apparently they are prepared to train foreign workers? 

Dehua shuts separate project over temporary worker concerns

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Mining+company+behind+Chinese+worke...

HD Mining has said it needs to bring in foreign workers because of a lack of qualified miners (The Canadian Press)in Canada.

 

Last week, a Federal Court judge ruled that two unions can proceed with a legal challenge of HD Mining's temporary foreign worker permits. The unions are arguing the company didn't attempt to train and hire Canadians before it applied for foreign worker permits.

 

HD Mining has since filed an appeal challenging the unions' standing.

 

Earlier this month, federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said she wasn't satisfied the company made adequate efforts to hire Canadians, though she has not elaborated.

 

Tumbler Ridge, the nearest community to the mine, is a town of about 2,700 that was only incorporated in 1981 to support nearby coal mines.

 

Mayor Darwin Wren said he was disappointed by Dehua's decision to shut down Wapiti River, but he said he remained optimistic the Murray River mine and other proposed mines in the area will still go ahead.

 

"There was a lot of local investment happening from that company, so from a community perspective, any time different industries or businesses are going to close down, it has an impact," Wren said in an interview Saturday.

 

"The history of Tumbler Ridge is coal mining, and there's a future for underground coal mining in Tumbler Ridge. I'm hoping that HD Mining can be successful."

 

Wren pointed out the Murray River project isn't just creating jobs for foreign workers, but also local contractors. He also noted HD Mining is working on a $15 million housing project linked to the mine.

 

Seventeen Chinese workers have already arrived at the mine and another 60 are slated to arrive in mid-December, according to HD Mining. The company's 201 temporary foreign worker visas are good for two years.

 

HD Mining has insisted its long-term plan is to train and hire Canadians.

 Last week, the company announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with a college to train Canadians to work at the mine. It plans to work with Northern Lights College to develop a curriculum for training people in the specialized, long-wall underground mining technique that will be used at Murray River.

NorthReport

This situation is really starting to smell

It would be useful if the mainstream press interviewed some Canadian miners, people who actually work in the mines in Canada for their opinions, instead of the usual suits who always seem to have vested interests against the workers themselves. 

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Mining company questions human resource minister's statements in foreign worker case

http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Labour-Industry/2012/11/21/TFW-Court-Cas...

Canada's Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley may be cross examined as part of a court case in which two British Columbia unions are trying to get an injunction that would stop a mining project near Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

A case management conference for the Construction and Specialized Workers Union Local 1611 and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 versus HD Mining and two Canadian government ministries got underway last week.

On Tuesday all sides wrapped up their arguments to determine if the two unions have legal standing to ask for an injunction, which they launched on the allegation the company doctored job advertisements to exclude Canadians so it could hire foreign workers for cheaper.

But lawyers for the union said they are also concerned about a letter written by HD Mining's chairman to the minister asking her to clarify statements she made almost two weeks ago regarding Labour Market Opinions used to apply for the foreign worker permits.

The letter asked Finley about comments she made to the media about concerns over HD Mining's hiring practices, particularly requests applicants speak Mandarin.

"In particular, we are not satisfied that sufficient efforts were made to recruit or train Canadians interested in these jobs," said Finley in a statement.

"Specifically, the requirement that applicants have skills in a foreign language does not appear to be linked to a genuine job requirement."

 

 

NorthReport

Well that didn't take long. I guess that tactic wasn't working, eh! Laughing

 

Mine embroiled in worker controversy back in business

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/11/26/bc-minin...

NorthReport

Just the tip of the iceberg - these are the ones that have been charged.

What about all the others?

Charging Alberta foreign workers illegal fees nets charges

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/11/27/charging-alberta-foreign-workers-i...

The victims are from the Philippines and were offered jobs on a chicken farm in Parkland County.

Nadnaden faces two counts of operating an unlicensed employment agency, two counts misleading or deceiving a consumer, two counts of representing that her services have sponsorship, approval, or other attributes they do not, and two counts of charging prospective employees to help them locate employment.

Her first appearance in Edmonton provincial court is set for January 7, 2013.

In both incidents, the accused are charged under the Fair Trading Act and the Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation.

 

 

 

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