Rejected miner had 30 years experience, say unions after reviewing resumes

by Tamsyn Burgmann

VANCOUVER – A mining company that was granted permits to bring 201 temporary foreign workers from China rejected multiple Canadian applicants who had exemplary qualifications, including one person with 30 years experience, say two trades unions after reviewing hundreds of refused resumes.

The unions have been fighting HD Mining in court over the firm’s insistence there was never a supply of qualified or interested Canadians in doing the work at the Murray River coal project near Tumbler Ridge, in northern British Columbia.

The labour groups say Canadians should have had the first rights to such jobs, disputing the firm’s claims it was forced to get permission to bring in temporary workers.

Now the unions contend they have documents that validate their assertions.

“Clearly the evidence after reviewing these resumes support what we’ve been doing all along and clearly there were qualified Canadians who should have had an opportunity at these jobs,” said Brian Cochrane, a spokesman for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115.

“It appears that some of them didn’t even have an opportunity for an interview.”

The engineers’ union and the Construction and Specialized Workers Union spent weeks in legal wranglings before the company agreed to hand over about 300 resumes last month to satisfy a Federal Court order.

The unions, which are more broadly seeking a judicial review of Ottawa’s decision to issue permits to the workers in the first place, say their findings justify the legal challenge.

They filed documents to the Federal Court late Friday outlining some of the qualifications found within the tossed resumes.

One applicant had more than 30 years of wide-ranging and extensive experience in all aspects of underground mining, while another had 20 years of experience, including three as an underground operations supervisor, according to their submission.

Other sample applicants had six years experience, including three in an underground coal mine, while another had completed an “underground miner hard rock common core” certificate. At least three more had three years and experience installing ventilation, operating equipment and specializing in construction, diamond drilling and production.

“(There was) a full gamut of obviously qualified people,” Cochrane argued.

But he said he’s still unclear as to why the company would have found the applicants unemployable.

“That part is hard to determine from my perspective. It just looks like the Canadian applicants were discounted.”

The judicial review is tentatively set to be heard in April.

HD Mining did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But in a statement last month, its chairman repeated the company’s claim it sought and obtained the permits from the federal government “in the absence of being able to find Canadians qualified and interested to do this work.”

The firm has also argued it made significant recruiting efforts, but still turned up empty-handed.

Last week, the company announced it was sending 16 temporary workers who had already started work on the prospective project back to China, because the firm was concerned about the ongoing litigation and associated costs.

HD Mining also said it had decided not to bring any more workers to Canada until it had “reliable certainty” on the project.

The case has also prompted a federal review of the temporary foreign workers program.




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Rejected miner had 30 years experience, say unions after reviewing resumes

  1. That’s not the only place filing the jobs with temporary foreign workers. A few oil sands companies do it too. That’s why I, as an apprentice, canadian, gone to trade school,am sitting at home, instead of being at work. Workers, so called qualified, who can’t even read a blueprint, broken english, are given journeyman exams with an interpeter. After six month they all have canadian red seal tickets. A canadian actually goes to trade school, needs 1500 work hours/year before even able to write the journeyman exam.Quite a few of my colleges are sitting at home too. While the phillipinos and east indians, americans are working, doing “our” jobs

  2. Christy Clark has boldly lied to us. She says she is all about BC’s future economy and growth and jobs and that she is representing B.C. families. She then proceeds to do the exact opposite and stand by lies like ” there is no qualified miners in Canada for this project”
    See what happens if you say anything about this topic on her Facebook profile posts- “she wants to hear from you” (unless you have anything to say)

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