Temporary foreign workers and Canadian Mines

219 posts / 0 new
Last post

Thanks to the mods for changing the title of this thread



HD Mining are good as using the old Mulroney technique: Throw enough enough mud against the wall and hopefully at least some of it will stick.

HD Mining Rejects Unions' Experienced Miners Complaints




Oh my goodness, look what happens sometimes when you stand up, against all odds, for what is right, and do the right thing:

Chinese company behind controversial B.C. mine asks union to drop legal case and talk

Chinese company behind controversial B.C. mine asks union to drop legal case and talk HD Mining International has hired temporary foreign employees to work at the Murray River mine near Tumbler Ridge in northern B.C. The company is now pleading with a pair of unions to drop their legal challenge of the project’s temporary foreign worker permits and instead sit down to talk.


Mark Olsen, a spokesman for the Construction and Specialized Workers Union, says the letter is a positive sign and his union is always willing to talk, but he says the legal case will continue.



Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Saw this link on that same page:

Firm bringing Chinese miners to B.C. launches rights complaint, threatens lawsuit HD Mining accuses union of discrimination, tells feds it may pursue damages claim after ministers' comments

and this bit:

"The company has previously said HD Mining wants to hire Canadians as soon as is feasible, but that can’t be done until the skills necessary to work in the unique mine are taught to Canadians.


It is currently collaborating with Northern Lights College to make training available."

Is there more to this story than just a hiring dispute?




Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

NorthReport wrote:

And amid all this innuendo of racism, what do you call a company working in Canada refusing to hire qualified Canadian workers? 

Did you read the article I linked to?


The company has previously said HD Mining wants to hire Canadians as soon as is feasible, but that can’t be done until the skills necessary to work in the unique mine are taught to Canadians.

It is currently collaborating with Northern Lights College to make training available.

Sounds to me that the company is using a mining technique that hasn't been used in Canada.


Workers will be paid between $25 and $40 per hour, with total yearly compensation between $84,000 and $113,000 including pay, benefits, housing and food, she said.

So, how does that compare to wages paid to Canadian miners?


BB, this is all about a race to the bottom for Canadian wage earners, and companies like HD Mining try to bamboozle the public through their lackeys in the Canadian press, who usually just print whatever the company says with zero investigative reporting to see if they are even telling a semblance of the truth. These type of dudes probably believe, in their heart of hearts, that foreign workers in Canada should be paid the going rate what they are paid in the country they come from. In the case of HD Mining, it is China, so some of these business people would be quite comfortable paying these foreign workers in Canada a dollar an hour if they could get away with it. I have seen actual quotes from at least one prominent contractor lawyer stating just that. And don't think that doesn't happen in Canada. Well maybe $3.77 an hour, which SELI (SNC Lanvalin, etc) was paying those Costa Rican workers working on the Canada Line, not that long ago, in good ole Vancouver BC, Canada, under the BC Liberals. This is all about massive greed, and undercutting the current hard-earned wages that Canadian miners receive for their work in Canada. 

By-the-way, this same union won the largerst human rights case in Canadian history on behlaf of those Costa rRcan workers.

And amid all this innuendo of racism, what do you call a company working in Canada refusing to hire qualified Canadian workers? 



BB that article you linked to was just nonsense from HD Mining, which, if you had been following this issue, you would have realized it is old and dead news, and was published almost 2 months ago on Dec 13, 2012

Boom Boom wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

And amid all this innuendo of racism, what do you call a company working in Canada refusing to hire qualified Canadian workers? 

Did you read the article I linked to?


The company has previously said HD Mining wants to hire Canadians as soon as is feasible, but that can’t be done until the skills necessary to work in the unique mine are taught to Canadians.

It is currently collaborating with Northern Lights College to make training available.

Sounds to me that the company is using a mining technique that hasn't been used in Canada.


Workers will be paid between $25 and $40 per hour, with total yearly compensation between $84,000 and $113,000 including pay, benefits, housing and food, she said.

So, how does that compare to wages paid to Canadian miners?


This guy is nothing but a clown, seeing as he particpated in and allowed this to happen - this is his BC Liberal Party's Families-First Job Strategy which has just gone up in smoke. Bell was supposed to have done an investigation into what was going on and the only reason he has said boo is he is being forced to talk by the BC media who have started to hound him over his silence.

Jobs Minister changes stance on temporary foreign worker controversy



Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

NorthReport wrote:

BB that article you linked to was just nonsense from HD Mining, which, if you had been following this issue, you would have realized it is old and dead news, and was published almost 2 months ago on Dec 13, 2012

I got from the right side bottom of the page you linked to in post 152:

Mark Olsen, a spokesman for the Construction and Specialized Workers Union, says the letter is a positive sign and his union is always willing to talk, but he says the legal case will continue.



kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

HD Mining is a BC incorporated company. It not incorporated in China but in BC. Even the Chinese controlled firm that owns 55% is incorporated in BC.  It is a consortium that includes Canadian mining executives and is subject to our corporate laws. 

Canadian majority ownership mining companies have the worst reputation in Latin and South America for abuse of the locals.  They murder people in Guatemala according to the activists from there.  The Chinese business people are likely in BC to learn how to exploit from the masters.

ETA The good thing is there is no way that the Chinese mining companies will learn the Honduran trick* from BC based mining companies and be able to apply it to Canada. 

*Being actively complicit in a coup to bring in a military dictatorship that supports wide open exploitation of resources with workers who are more exploited than in China.


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 Lvliang International Mines Corp. (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.


This kind of mentality is an example of what constructions labour unions are up against in BC.

This guy was behind Bill C-377, and if Hochstein and his ilk had their way, we would all be working for 50 cents an hour if that.





What a jerk of a mayor!

HD Mining Offers Unions a Deal in Open Letter

Company's plea to end dispute over foreign workers called 'nonsense' by labour spokesman.


'We have nothing to reply to': unions

Spokesman for the unions Tom Sigurdson called the plea "nonsense."

"It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious," said Sigurdson.

"They've missed the point completely."

He said the unions began their fight against the company on the basis that Canadian resources should be used to create jobs for Canadians, adding the federal government hasn't properly addressed that concern.

He also said the unions don't consider the letter to be in good faith because it was sent to the media, not them.

"We have nothing to reply to," he said.  [Tyee]



Typical Christy Clark useless investigation and nonsense

BC's Look into Mining Recruitment Fees Falls Short: Union

Gov't says it found 'no evidence' companies were charging workers money.




So the BC Liberals are complaining that the BC Fed's ads are hitting below the belt. That's rich eh Coleman with your 24/7  dix memo tv onslot.

But according to documents obtained by the union, HD Mining's application to the B.C. Ministry of Natural Resource Operations in June 2011 shows during a two-year bulk sample collection period the company had no plan to employ the long-wall technique.

"The evidence we have is taken from the Work Permit Application that HD filed with the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, and which indicates that the bulk sample will be taken by traditional 'room and pillar' mining," said Charles Gordon, counsel for the two unions, in an email.

Gordon said the unions filed the evidence in court Monday and HD Mining has until Friday to respond.

After winning a court decision to have resumes of 300 Canadians who applied for the positions handed over to them, unions have accused the company of turning down fully qualified Canadians for the jobs.

They alleged the company only wanted to bring in Chinese workers so they could pay them less and not worry about health and safety issues on the job.

Shortly after the resumes were disclosed, HD Mining sent 16 miners already at the site back to China, blaming delays and litigation costs related to the unions' court action.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Federation of Labour has launched a new radio ad it said takes aim at the federal government for granting the company the permits to bring in the Chinese workers.

But media reports have said the B.C. Liberals have been critical of the ad, claiming it isn't clear and meant to blame them for the decision to allow the workers in.




You can always count on the good ole Vancouver Sun to publish soiled garbage articles like this.


Union attacks on HD Mining politically motivated

. Big Labour challenges our project because they believe they can make this a federal and provincial election issue. We are pawns in a larger political game. If we lose, so do the community and businesses that support us.

. We have also been treated poorly by Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, who made a public statement on Nov. 8, 2012, after litigation had commenced, alleging that HD Mining had not followed the rules, which undoubtedly influenced a Federal Court judge. And her comments were inconsistent with prior statements of her own staff and government lawyers in court.

. We have publicly invited the unions to discuss and explore ways of working together, even though we are very upset with how they have treated us. Most recently, a union representative agreed to meet with us, but cancelled the meeting at the last minute.

Our company is the victim of one of the most offensive assaults since Chinese foreign workers were denied rights and sent home after building Canada's railroads. We understand that we are nearing a provincial election, and that federal politics has become extremely polarized. But that is no excuse to treat a company like ours, which has followed the existing rules, in such an unfair manner. The facts must be understood, hard questions must be asked of the unions, and reasonable parties must find a way to work together.



Oh really!


Mining firm dismisses union claims it rejected qualified Canadian workers


kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Here is a great court decision.  If the pressure is kept up then maybe we can rid of the temporary worker program.  If we need immigrants to serve in fast food jobs they should be on a citizenship track not exploited as semi-indentured servants.


Their employer, Denny's Inc., appeared at the Supreme Court of B.C. today to settle a class action suit that the migrant workers launched in January 2011. Sales was the first to blow the whistle on the transnational corporation for not having paid his and other migrant workers' airfare, overtime and recruitment agency fees and not being given their promised contract hours.

Most of the members, like Sales, are Filipino and were recruited by Northland Properties, the parent company of Denny's, through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The suit is unprecedented in Canadian legal history.

"The truth is that you should not belittle the strength of anyone," Sales said in Tagalog. "Never underestimate that everyone has capability, especially God-fearing people such as myself. I know the difference between right and wrong. If it's right, you fight for it, you stand for it," Sales added.

Terms of agreement

The settlement agreement grants the following to the 68 class suit members, having been approved today in court:

- Eligibility for a payment for any Overtime wages owed; - Eligibility for a payment for any Shortfall in Hours owed; - Eligibility for an airfare payment to/from Canada; - Up to $10,000.00 as reimbursement for Agency Fees paid directly or indirectly to either International Caregiver Employment Agency (ICEA) and/or Luzern International Manpower Services Corporation (Luzern)

The migrant workers paid varying amounts to ICEA, up to $10,000 to process their documents to work in Canada -- a fee that legally is supposed to be borne by the employer.



input this URL:

( http://www.jerseystar.us/ )

you can find many cheap and high stuff

lower price fast shippment with higher quality!!





And apparently, just caught a bit of it on the News, there is another favourable ruling today in the courts for the unions against HD Mining and the governments. 


Great news!


Unions win court hearing challenging temporary foreign worker permits for miners

Two B.C. unions will get their wish to look behind the curtain of how the federal government decides if temporary foreign workers can come to Canada.

On Friday, the Federal Court granted the unions the right to pursue a judicial review of the process used to grant temporary foreign worker permits to 201 Chinese miners.

HD Mining applied for the permits as part of its plan to develop an underground coal mine in northern British Columbia, successfully arguing there were no Canadians qualified to do the work using the specialized technique the mining company planned.

Brian Cochrane, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115, said he was pleased with the decision and said he was looking forward to the court hearing in April.

"It's been a long fight to get here."

Cochrane said getting the court leave will give the unions more access to documents both from HD Mining and the federal government.

He said they want to know how the mining firm convinced the federal government it needed the temporary miners.

But Cochrane said their fight goes beyond HD Mining and said he hopes the review will reveal the federal government's role and policies around allowing temporary foreign workers into Canada.

Lee Loftus, of the B.C. Building Trades Council, said he's convinced the judicial review will reveal that isn't the case.

Loftus said he expects to find that the proper process wasn't being followed by HD Mining.

"I think we're going to find there are available workers that can do this work and we also think we're going to find that long-wall mining wasn't really determined up front to start with, it was only used as a matter to secure the permits to bring in foreign workers rather than hire local workers."

The case is expected to be heard in mid-April.




Union proud of its record, court case against miner

Re: Union attacks on HD Mining politically motivated, Opinion, Feb. 22

We read with disappointment and dismay the op-ed piece by Mr. Penggui Yan of HD Mining.

We are very proud of our union record in representing worker rights, including temporary foreign workers.

In the last five years, we won the largest human rights award in the history of Canada on behalf of the Central and South American workers on the Canada Line; we successfully represented workers from the Philippines exploited on a North Vancouver project by being housed six to a room and each charged $1,700; and we successfully represented 70 workers from Croatia on the Golden Ears Bridge Project, when the employer left Canada, leaving the workers high and dry. Our record is clear.

In the HD matter, the unions (CSWU Local 1611, a.k.a. Labourers, and Operating Engineers Local 115), from the outset, have sought to confirm that the Temporary Foreign Worker process has been followed properly by HD Mining and the federal Conservative government.

During this Federal Court case, almost every statement made by HD Mining and the federal Conservative government has turned out to be untrue:

. Mandarin was a requirement of the job in an advertising.

. 300 Canadians applied for work on the project, and there were qualified Canadian workers available.

. Room and pillar mining rather then long wall mining may be used.

. HD Mining is not planning to have a Canadian on the job for another 4.5 years, and an all-Canadian crew until 14.5 years from now.

. The federal government does have the authority and obligation to ensure compliance.







Now perhaps some folks will understand better why the Opearating Engineers and the Labourer's Union in BC felt they had to oppose HD Mining's process for hiring workers  in Tumbler Ridge, BC.

Sounds like it's time to organize Tim's.

The CLC and its provincial affiliates  should get behind a massive organizing drive to put a stop to Tims firing good Canadian workers and hiring TFW at reduced wages.


A flood of temporary foreign workers could mean lower wages, fewer jobs for Canadians

No company flaunts its Canadian credentials more than Tim Hortons. Marketing has transformed the coffee-and-doughnut colossus into a commercial embodiment of the virtues and values Canadians hold dear.

Yet the beloved icon has been a major beneficiary of a profound shift in immigration policy that some say is transforming the country’s labour market: Canada’s growing reliance on — some might say addiction to — temporary foreign workers.

The numbers are startling. In the past decade, the number of temporary foreign workers living in Canada has more than tripled. As of last Dec. 1, more than 338,000 resided here. Canada admitted 213,516 temporary foreign workers in 2012 alone — by a large margin, the most ever. Between 2002 and 2011, the number of foreign students with work permits soared to 60,000 from just 6,800.

Because demand for temporary foreign workers is employer-driven, there is no ceiling on the number who can be admitted each year. By comparison, the federal government limits the number of immigrants who can obtain permanent residency. Last year was typical: 257,515 permanent residents were accepted.

Moreover, the composition of the temporary foreign workforce has changed. Those in management, professional or skilled and technical occupations make up a shrinking share while those in low-skill jobs are growing rapidly.

This transformation is prompting hard questions about the design of the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Is it helping workers from abroad take jobs from Canadians? Is their presence depressing wages? And is the government program creating a European-style guest worker system, with all the attendant potential for abuse and social problems?



What's significant here is that this is the 1st ever review of Canada's TFW program.

Welcome to Jason Kenney's world as his hands are all over this.

And don't forget BC Labour Minister Pat Bell is involved as well.


Dates set for Federal Court Judicial Review of HD Mining jobs

It's another legal loss for the operators of a new underground coal mine in northern BC.
A Federal Court judge has authorized a judicial review sought by two building trades unions into the federal program letting HD Mining hire more than 200 Chinese employees for work that may have been done by Canadians.
The three-day review slated to start April 9th is the first ever of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.




Sean in Ottawa

Tim Hortons ought to be organized. Any place that offers shifts and late night work should be a priority.

I have known people working there to get random calls to come in in the middle of the night when there are shortages, shifts that end organized outside of any public transit, all kinds of poor practices.

If Tim Hortons is really a Canadian Icon -- let them be unionized.


Labour unions turn to the internet to fund legal battle with HD Mining


Labour unions challenging the Temporary Foreign Workers' permit issued to HD Mining have turned to the internet to fund its legal battle.

The unions involved say the legal battle has now cost over $200,000 to date.

The website - labourspeaksout.com - allows people, who want to help pay for the legal costs, to donate online.

The unions have forced a judicial review of HD Mining's Temporary Foreign Worker permit.

The judicial review will take place April 9th to 11th and it is the first review of its kind into the federal program.




Corporate Globalization Could Get a Lot Worse


"There's an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, 'Taking a Nafta Approach to Immigration', calling for changing NAFTA so that our borders are flayed for workers from NAFTA countries Canada and Mexico just as they have been flayed for imports.

'Citizens of the US, Canada or Mexico should be able to work legally in any NAFTA country in the same way that citizens of European Union countries can work anywhere in the EU. This mobility would allow the North American labor market to function as efficiently as the industrial, agricultural and financial markets that NAFTA has created, matching workers with jobs in a seamless continental web..."

Cellucci's 'web' is of course being proposed for the benefit of the usual big spiders, not the workers caught up in it.


Union mired in mining court case launches website for donations


The unions have spent over $200,000 on legal and related fees so far, and the costs are going up, said Tom Sigurdson, executive director of BC Building Trades Council, an umbrella organization encompassing the unions involved in the action.

"We're not suing for anything other than the rights of Canadians to have access to jobs," said Sigurdson. "I think that this is an issue that is not going to go away. It just would be helpful if we had donations from other sources, rather than just strictly from the unionized construction workers who essentially fund our council operations."

On the website for the campaign, called Labour Speaks Out, the union has compiled background information about the case on the website, with a timeline of events, select media stories and an opportunity to donate.

The unions' request to have the federally-granted permit reviewed in court was approved last Friday, and a judicial review is scheduled for April 9 to 11.

The Labour Speaks Out campaign is a response to inquiries from people who've asked how they can help, said Brian Cochrane, business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115, the union behind the campaign and website.

The topic of temporary foreign workers affects the Canadian workforce "from coast to coast," he said.

Sigurdson said he expects large contributions from some organizations.

"I know of some already that have told me that some contributions will be in the thousands of dollars, and I have no doubt that there will be a few people that just want to make a small personal donation because the matter is important to them," he said.



FOI reveals second project was approved for Mandarin-only miners

Documents obtained by 24 hours also show the project planned to use the traditional room-and-pillar coal extraction method instead of the long-wall technique HD Mining has said it will use at Tumbler Ridge.

In a 2006 letter to Canadian Dehua International Mines chairman Liu Naishun, former Energy and Mines minister Bill Bennett welcomed the project.

“I encourage you to proceed as expeditiously as you can with environmental assessment and mine permitting,” Bennett wrote. “With the ultimate goal, a new underground coal mine that provides high quality metallurgical coal for export, jobs for local B.C. communities and opportunities for the First Nations people in the Northeast.”

Labour groups have alleged the company used the Mandarin requirements to exclude Canadians so it could hire miners from China for smaller wages.



As money is the one and only thing that motivates employers, there is a simple solution to the foreign workers issue.

Instead of paying foreign workers 15% less than what Canadian workers earn, force employers to pay the foreign workers 15% more than what Canadians are paid, and all of a sudden employers will be able to find Canadian workers in most cases.

How does Quebec deal with the foreign workers issue?




Nearly 6 jobless Canadians for every vacancy, report shows Canada's unemployed outnumber job vacancies by nearly 6-to-1, Statistics Canada report notes





Thanks to the unions who challenged, and who are continuing to challenge, and winning against HD Mining in court.


Federal budget tightens rules of Temporary Foreign Worker program






Building a more inclusive and representative labour movement in Canada




Oh really!

The federal government investigates itself and guess what - nothing problematic is discouvered in the federal government



Coal mine temp workers ‘exacerbate’ concerns over Chinese investment in B.C.




Foreign worker program wrongly fills low-skill jobs, labour group says


NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair blasted Canada’s temporary foreign workers program, saying loopholes are allowing corporations to take jobs away from Canadians.

“They’re using the techniques put in place by the Conservatives to lower the working conditions of Canadian workers,” Mulcair told reporters.





Once again BC Construction Unions lead the way in trying to help protect vulnerable workers.

Maybe those RBC workers, unfortunately too late for them I suppose, now realize the advantages of being in a union.

Smarten up people.

Is it time to end the TFW program....er con job, in Canada?

A Wide Range of Whistleblowers Prove That RBC is Just the Tip of the Iceberg in Canada's TFW Scandal

The dam of silence has burst. Three days ago there was one leaky Dave Moreau talking to the CBC, in the next couple of days a few other folks in the same situation started telling their stories publicly. Overnight and today whistleblowers from every sector of Canada's economy are talking. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program scandal is not about RBC anymore or about whether they broke the rules. It's about the TFW program as an obvious sop to business and how it is destroying jobs and opportunities for a generation of young Canadians.

This scandal has been going on for years in industries ranging from the hated Tar Sands to the beloved Tim Hortons. RBC, and now the not-so-beloved other banks, just got caught because whistleblower Dave came out on a weekend - when the full RBC PR machinery was off and when the HD mining corporation's hiring of 200 TFWs from China had already primed Canadians to pay attention.

Successive governments, both Conservative and Liberal, have been willfully ignoring and even excusing this practice for years by saying that we need more skilled workers. Well we have a million and a half unemployed workers yet there were 300,000 temporary foreign workers in Canada last year. As Karl Flecker of the Canadian Labour Congress said, "Ottawa’s policy to allow employers to pay foreign temp workers 15 per cent less than the prevailing wage simply offers an incentive for employers to replace Canadian workers." For instance there are tons of construction job postings in Alberta and Saskatchewan's newspapers at ridiculously low wages. Few Canadians ever apply because they can't make a living at those low wage levels given the high cost of living now in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Profits are the real issue, the program is a direct attack on Canadian workers by driving down wages. A wage race to the bottom ensues when companies of any size or in any sector have one that is using cheaper TFWs.and the other isn't. Today on the 'Boycott RBC facebook page there are numerous reports that RBC is intimidating their IT workers all over Canada about the info that is being leaked onto the page. Jenny, who started and maintains the pagesays, "I want everyone to know that I will protect you at all costs - even if that means going to jail." One whistleblower says, "Today I show up for work and we staff have received a letter from Gord Nixon [RBC's CEO] explicitly telling staff to have no opinion, to be aware and say this is happening in all major banks and corporations." Going on to add, " Clients should know we have all been provided with scripted answers and told to comply and not to respond to individual inquiries."






Foreign workers do a lot of jobs in B.C.

B.C. employs more foreign workers than most every other province




B.C. too reliant on foreign workers, labour groups say

Provinces should scrutinize federal foreign worker program: labour groups




Solutions Possible for Foreign Workers Invasion

It’s clear: the “temporary” workers system is not working as intended: it is meeting the needs of some companies to fill critical jobs for which there are shortfalls: BUT it is also being abused by many other companies to fill positions with cheaper labour …  people who are often much more intimidated than Canadians to speak up against lousy working/living conditions and treatment.

It is incredible that, at a time when there are 1.3 million Canadians, unemployed, more than 4,000 companies have had NO CHOICE but to import almost 340,000 workers from overseas.


I’d bet that foreign workers toiling away here … especially in service, resource and construction industries … QUIETLY  take a lot more “pushing” around on the job, work irregular hours, and get lower wages and fewer long-term benefits than emancipated Canadians would demand … and be legally required to receive.  THAT’S the attraction, THAT’S the benefit, THAT’S the greed factor in play for too many firms.

And getting around Canada’s weak requirements …by requiring, for example, that prospective mining employees speak Mandarin … makes a mockery of the entire system.  What’s next? Forestry workers who must be able to live on noodles and crickets? Fishermen who must have a working knowledge of Russian, Portuguese or Japanese? And only hotel, service workers who can take instructions in Tagolog?

The abuse has to stop.

And the Canadian government CAN do it … if they stop turning a blind eye to corporate excesses and encourage them instead to FIND and TRAIN Canadians to do the jobs.

Here’s how:

First, the federal and provincial governments both have to increase job skills. training and retraining spending and spaces to SUBSTANTIALLY boost the skill levels of our own workforce.  How to pay for it? Well, for starters, why not stop spending tens of millions of dollars on ads telling us how well they’re doing and put the money where it could better be used.





Why am I not at all surprised to hear this?





B.C. too reliant on foreign workers, labour groups say

Provinces should scrutinize federal foreign worker program: labour groups





This is labour movement issue backed 4 square by the NDP. The NDP are the only political party that has supported the court case and said boo during this whole sordid mess. Thank goodness for the Mulcair-led NDP as these are the kind of policies Canadian workers get when the right-wing Liberals and/or the Cons are in power. The Liberals in particular have been useless on the issue and now that it is heating up are jumping on the foreign worker  bandwagon. Liberals need to come clean and get real. Another one of their multi-millionaire recent leaders put his company offshore to screw Canadian workers . My, how quickly we forget!

Voters see temporary foreign workers as a failure

Politicians are expected to defend Canadian interests  and that means making sure Canadian jobs go to Canadians.



BC Building Trades unions win key decisions on judicial review of Temporary Foreign Workers permits granted to HD Mining

A Federal Court judge ruled late Monday in favour of BC’s Building Trades unions on key evidence to be considered in a judicial review of Temporary Foreign Worker permits granted to HD Mining to bring 201 Chinese miners to BC, say the two unions who instigated the case.

Justice Russel Zinn rejected arguments from legal counsel for HD Mining and Canadian Dehua International to exclude evidence regarding the resumes of some Canadian workers who were turned down for jobs and information on wage rates for workers employed by nearby mines.

Zinn also reserved judgment until the end of the review on the admissibility of evidence from the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines that HD Mining is not using long wall mining techniques in developing a potential coal mine near Tumbler Ridge despite claims from the company that the lack of Canadian workers with those skills was the reason why Temporary Foreign Workers were needed.

“We are very pleased that Justice Zinn has decided to hear as much evidence about how these Temporary Foreign Worker permits were granted as possible,” said Brian Cochrane, Business Manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 – one of two unions granted the judicial review.

“The fact that HD Mining and Canadian Dehua International attempted to block introduction of key evidence about Canadian workers who were rejected for jobs and on comparable wage rates indicates to us again that the process to grant these work permits was fundamentally flawed,” Cochrane said.

Mark Olsen, Business Manager for the Construction and Specialized Workers Union [Labourers’ Union] Local 1611 – the other Building Trades union in the case, said Tuesday that the future of the entire Temporary Foreign Worker Program is increasingly in doubt as more is learned about its failures in this case and now the Royal Bank of Canada situation with the replacement of Canadian workers with foreign workers.

“We have said for years that Temporary Foreign Worker permits were being granted by the federal government without enough scrutiny beforehand and without enough enforcement of the rules afterwards,” Olsen said.  “Canadian workers deserve to hear the full truth about what is going on and then have it fixed.”

BC Building Trades Council President Lee Loftus says the Federal Court case could have a profound impact on the entire Program, affecting over 300,000 Temporary Foreign Workers currently employed in Canada, including 70,000 in BC.

“We simply do not believe that each and every job now held by Temporary Foreign Workers could not be filled by Canadians,” Loftus said.  “This case has already shone a bright light on hiring practices that are simply inappropriate and need to stop.”



RBC iGate scandal: Ottawa urged to publicize Canadian employers using foreign temps

The RBC scandal is the “tip of the iceberg,” a unionist says; taxpayers have a right to know who’s benefiting and where the real labour shortages are.

“It’s important that we know who is applying so we can identify if there is a genunine shortage,” Flecker explained. “Both the federal government and the provinces are understaffed with their labour inspectors. (The unions) have the ability to assist them to meet with migrant workers about their health and safety and community integration.”

Employers may argue their hiring practices are private commercial information. But University of Toronto law professor Audrey Macklin points out that government is accountable to the taxpayers who fund the program.

“All Canadians have an interest in this,” Macklin said. “The real story here is not whether employers are behaving badly. They are basically responding, in a predictable way, to the incentive deliberately created by a government policy.

“When you make it easier and faster to bring in migrant workers and allow employers to pay them 5 to 15 per cent less, that’s a predictable outcome.”

Naveen Mehta, general counsel for United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, said his union has also been denied access to the employer information.

“We’ve been frustrated along the way (trying) to access the information. This will absolutely be a beneficial piece of a larger, transparent regime,” said Mehta, whose group has been lobbying to get a migrant worker commission established to adjudicate on the employment of foreign temp workers.

Mehta said some Canadian employers set unattainable qualification requirements in their recruitment to justify turning to migrant workers. He gave as an example Vancouver-based HC Mining, which demanded Mandarin-speaking miners and got approval to bring in 201 workers from China.

Through an access to information request, the Alberta Federation of Labour recently obtained a long list of employers whose application for temporary foreign workers was fast-tracked and approved by the federal government under the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process.

The list, which does not include regular LMOs, includes 900 Ontario-based employers ranging from restaurants to retailers, universities, charitable groups, IT companies such as CGI Information Systems & Management Consultants, accounting firms such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers, financial institutions like the Bank of Canada and even tae kwan do academies.

AFL president Gil McGowan said many of these LMO applications have been “rubber-stamped.”

He believes the scandals at RBC and HC Mining are just the tip of the iceberg.

“This isn’t being used as a stop-gap, and it isn’t a last resort for remployers,” said McGowan, who is calling for an inquiry into the migrant worker program.

Both HRSDC and Citizenship and Immigration Canada did not respond to the Star’s inquiry about employers who received favourable LMOs.






The TFW program started in 1973. Guess which political parties have been involved?

Rise in foreign temp workers questioned by labour groups

Labour economist says program allows firms to keep wages low

The Alberta Federation of Labour called for an inquiry Tuesday after it obtained a government list of more than 4,000 companies given approval to hire temporary foreign workers last year, many in the service industry.

"You look down this list and what you see is McDonald's, Tim Hortons, and Subway. This list goes on. It stretches the bounds of credibility that all of these employers have been using temporary foreign workers to hire skilled workers," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, on CBC News Network's Power & Politics.

McGowan's comments come after a CBC story this week of one man's experience training foreign workers to take his job drew a fire storm of controversy and a hard look at Canada's temporary foreign workers program.

David Moreau told the CBC he and 42 other IT workers at RBC are being replaced by a foreign workforce.

"The new people are in our offices and we are training them to do our jobs," he said. "That adds insult to injury."

The head of RBC denied the bank is replacing Canadian workers with temporary foreign workers. Foreign workers were hired by iGate, an outsourcing firm, which has a contract with the bank to provide IT services.

Kelly Leitch, parliamentary secretary for the minister of human resources and skills development, said the government is looking into it.

"We have some significant concerns about what's going on in the temporary foreign workers program and that's why in (the budget) we’ve committed to fix the challenges that exist so Canadians can be better connected to jobs."

Labour economist Erin Weir says that kind of review is essential: "This should lead to a broader debate about the temporary foreign worker program. Is it really addressing labour shortages? Or is it undermining job opportunities and wages in Canada?"

Program has ballooned

The program began in 1973 to fill a gap in the labour market for jobs Canadians could not or would not fill — domestic workers and agricultural workers as well as highly skilled jobs, such as specialist physicians and professors.

"The idea of having a temporary foreign worker program is legitimate," according to Prof. Ian Lee at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business. "The Germans, other European countries and the U.S. all have this kind of program. The issue is to have the right checks and balances to ensure it isn't abused."




Skilled labour gap evidence skimpy and selective



Labour Shortage in Canada? Evidence Is Skimpy

Government's own research fails to support alarmists pushing temp worker imports.