VANCOUVER -- A Federal Court judge gave the go-ahead Thursday to two unions fighting the use of temporary Chinese workers at a BC coal mine.
“It means that trade unions clearly have a public interest standing in bringing these kinds of issues forward,” Charles Gordon, representing the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Construction and Specialized Workers Union, said outside court.
The unions launched a court challenge after British Columbia announced 201 temporary foreign workers could conduct initial sampling at a Tumbler Ridge mine operated by HD Mining, arguing Canadians should have those jobs.
So far, 17 temporary foreign workers have received visas, while another 60 could arrive in mid-December.
Lawyers from all parties are expected back in court Monday to discuss how “labour market opinion” documents used to hire the workers could be obtained.
The documents are needed at judicial review or injunction hearings expected in court before Dec. 10. A review would analyze research documents in court, while an injunction could halt hiring and maintain the “status quo,” the court heard.
“In my opinion, it is necessary to grant public interest standing to the applicants,” Justice Douglas Campbell wrote in his decision.
“Realistically, no other means exist to engage judicial accountability with respect to the decision-making that has occurred within an important governmental strategy designed to maintain the economic health of Canada.”