Controversial plans to hire 201 Chinese workers at a proposed mine in northern British Columbia have prompted Ottawa to announce a review of its entire foreign worker program, with the government suggesting the case has revealed deeper problems with a system designed to fill short-term labour shortages.
Human Resources Minister Diane Finley issued a statement Thursday saying the Conservative government isn’t satisfied HD Mining Ltd. followed all the rules when it sought foreign worker permits for its proposed mine near Tumbler Ridge, B.C., which she said raises broader questions about the program.
“We are not satisfied with what we have learned about the process that led to permission for hundreds of foreign workers to gain jobs (at the HD Mining site),” the statement said.
“In particular, we are not satisfied that sufficient efforts were made to recruit or train Canadians interested in these jobs. … It is clear to our government that there are some problems with the temporary foreign worker program.”
HD Mining has hired the Chinese workers as part of exploration work at the proposed coal mine site, located about 200 kilometres west of Grande Prairie, Alta. The mine is awaiting an environmental assessment and has not yet been approved…
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News that a company backed by Chinese state-owned steelmakers plans to bring more than 200 Chinese miners to work temporarily in its coal mines in northern B.C. has put a much-needed spotlight on Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, as has news that recruiters in China are charging $12,500 a head for access to these mining … Continue reading »
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 … Continue reading »
Shortages of skilled labour – in fact, any labour at all – in mining regions drives wages and salaries to stratospheric levels, in turn bidding up prices for accommodation, food and local services. This makes life very difficult for individuals and families who do not benefit directly from inflated incomes and yet also face inflated … Continue reading »
Bruno Rizzuto’s father, Cesare, was 19 when he got off a boat in Halifax from southern Italy in 1951. With no coat, and “5 cents in his pocket” he headed for the gold mines of Timmins, Ontario, where he worked underground for 41 years. Six decades later Rizzuto, a Calgary-based recruiter, is looking for people like his … Continue reading »
THE Department of Treasury has been told mining companies may be forced to use less experienced staff to proceed on a significant pipeline of construction in the sector. In its quarterly economic roundup, Treasury says the mining industry is facing challenges recruiting and contracting workers, particularly for highly-specialised technical positions. “With a significant pipeline of … Continue reading »