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October 21, 2013
Alberta Federation of Labour fears that temp workers are shutting out Canadians
The Alberta Federation of Labour says it is worried that Canadians at one oilsands project are being replaced by temporary foreign workers.
Federation president Gil McGowan said more than 270 workers at the Husky Sunrise project near Fort McMurray have been told they are off the job.
McGowan said the staff were working for a Toronto-based firm under contract at the site.
He said that contract has now been handed to an Italian-based company that uses foreign workers.
McGowan said this is part of the AFL’s larger concern that companies are using Ottawa’s Temporary Foreign Worker program at the expense of Canada’s existing labour force.
Husky Energy said the reduction in workers is due to the job being finished.
Mel Duvall of Husky said in an email to The Canadian Press that Saipem Canada is the general contractor for the construction site, and the original project construction work awarded to one of their subcontractors, Black & McDonald.
“We have been in discussions with Black & McDonald and confirmed their original piece of work came to a successful conclusion and they are adjusting their workforce accordingly,” he said.
Duvall said there are about 2,600 construction workers on the Sunrise site working for some 100 contractors and subcontractors.
More than 90 per cent of those workers are Canadian, Duvall said.
Husky’s contractors have had to hire temporary foreign workers in some cases because there has been a shortage of skilled workers in Canada, Duvall said.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2013
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