At Chinese-owned B.C. mine, no Canadian hires for four years
“It’s clear HD Mining is in no hurry to hire Canadians and that the province of BC and Government of Canada have been complicit all along.”
Documents released today show HD Mining planned to use exclusively underpaid Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW’s) underground for 4.5 years after the commencement of construction, and that the BC and Federal Governments signed off on these plans.
“we’ve heard varying stories from the Premier and her government about how hard they were working to find Canadians to do these jobs,” said Sinclair. “But according to HD Mining’s transition plan, reviewed by both governments, no Canadian worker would be hired to work underground until after 2016.
The documents released included an e-mail message from HD Mining Fred Ma to HRSDC official Bill MacLean detailing HD Mining’s extensive consultation with the province of BC on its transition plan.
The documents also included the transition plan itself. On Page 5 of the plan, Figure 1 shows the company intends to use exclusively TFW’s for the entire construction phase of 30 months and its first two years of full operation. The company would then hire 10 percent of its workforce as Canadians for the following ten years, meaning the company would utilize Temporary Foreign Workers until 2026.
The transition plan directly contradicts claims by the Premier that the TFW’s would only be here for the exploration phase.
“It’s clear HD Mining is in no hurry to hire Canadians and that the province of BC and Government of Canada have been complicit all along,” said Sinclair. “Our hope is the courts will send a strong signal to Canadian industry that no company will get away with this kind of abuse.”
The documents were ordered to be released by a federal court judge, as part of an injunction application by the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), Local 115, and the Construction and Specialized Workers Union (Labourers), Local 1611. The unions represent the bulk of skilled workers required on mine sites.
Wayne Mills is President of the IUOE Local 115. “We are pleased that our court action is bringing accountability to the process of requesting and being granted Temporary Foreign Worker permits,” said Mills.