JOC ARCHIVES

December 12, 2012

Documents show mining company would take 14 years to replace all Chinese Foreign Workers

A transition plan by a Vancouver mining company to replace temporary foreign workers with Canadians at a proposed $300 million project in northern B.C would take 14 years, according to documents released in Vancouver Federal Court today.

“The transition plan is basically thin to non-existent,” said Charles Gordon, a lawyer representing two construction unions that were granted public interest standing to ask for a judicial review of Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) permits issued to Chinese Nationals to work at the Murray River coal mine near Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

“It is full of platitudes, but no concrete steps on how this will be undertaken.”

In court, he presented an application for injunctive relief to stop about 200 Chinese Temporary Foreign Workers from coming to Canada to start construction on the underground coal mine.

The injunction, if granted, would prohibit HD Mining International from importing Chinese nationals to work at the mine until a judicial review has been completed.

Gordon argued that irreparable harm would be done to Canadian workers if the TFWs were allowed to enter the country before the review is finished.

In a letter sent to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in March of this year, the company outlined its plan.

“As a Canadian employer, HD Mining will endeavor, over time, to employ a 100 per cent Canadian workforce,” said Peng Gui Yan, chairman of HD Mining International.

“It is a goal of HD Mining to, where practicable (sic) and possible (to) transfer the skills of the TFWs to local Canadians. ..dThis will however take time and HD is proposing a multi-year training process, during which local Canadian workers would be trained in the skills required for this method of mining.”

The project will utilize a long-wall mining method, which hasn’t been used before in Canada.

The company claims the method is highly mechanized and specialized, so it requires workers skilled in this technique.

The transition plan states that Temporary Foreign Workers will be used during 30 months of construction, one year to set up a training school and then two more years to recruit and train Canadians.

After recruitment and training, it would then take the company another 10 years to replace the Chinese workers with Canadians, at a replacement rate of 10 per cent a year.

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