Recruit Canadians for mine jobs, not Chinese: Feds



VANCOUVER -- The federal government is not satisfied with a permit process allowing temporary foreign workers at a Tumbler Ridge, BC, mine, it was announced Thursday, almost a week after two unions went to court for a judicial review of the applications.

Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley said in a statement that insufficient efforts are made to recruit or train Canadians for the 201 jobs expected to be filled by Chinese miners.

She also called a foreign language requirement seen on advertisements at HD Mining not "a genuine job requirement" for the jobs.

"It is clear to our government that there are some problems with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. We take these very seriously and are currently reviewing the program," Finley said.

"Litigation could impede this work and lead to court battles rather than a genuine fix."

The Construction and Specialized Workers' Union and International Union of Operating Engineers, which filed the judicial review application in Federal Court on Nov. 2, have also requested that "labour market opinions," a research process of hiring the workers, be released in full documentation.

Lawyer Charles Gordon, representing the unions, said his clients are not backing down.

"I have not seen anything that those foreign workers aren't coming to Canada," he said Thursday. "We're going ahead with our application."

BC's Jobs and Tourism Minister Pat Bell, who said the province is also investigating another part of the hiring process, said the federal government will have to address their problems.

"Our goal is to create investment, to promote further mining development and to determine if we can build a mine," he said in a statement.

"The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is the jurisdiction of the federal government."

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