CLC wants work permits rescinded for offshore miners: 20,000 unemployed Canadians in mining related sector

“Like many Canadians who witness frequent abuses of migrant workers, we are seriously concerned that the limited rules governing the TFWP are not being respected.” - Ken Georgetti, CLC President.

Ottawa (05 Nov. 2012) – The President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) wants the federal government to rescind work permits granted to a company that plans to bring coal miners to Canada as temporary workers.

CLC President Ken Georgetti has written to Diane Finley, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. Georgetti refers to work permits issued to Dehua International allowing the company to import workers under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) for a coal mine in Northern British Columbia.

Georgetti says that there is no shortage of miners in B.C. and the rest of Canada who can do the job. He cites Statistics Canada figures showing that in June 2012 there were 20,000 unemployed workers in the sector that includes Canadian mining, while there were about 9000 job vacancies. “The data clearly shows unemployed miners within Canada are available,” he writes.

Georgetti also points to “serious flaws” in the integrity of the processes being used by the government and employers under the TFWP. “Like many Canadians who witness frequent abuses of migrant workers, we are seriously concerned that the limited rules governing the TFWP are not being respected.”

He says TFWP regulations stipulate that employers must make reasonable efforts to train members of the domestic workforce prior to being granted permission to import workers. “It is our understanding,” he writes, “that the training requirements for the this operation are not onerous for members of the Canadian workforce that have previously worked in coal mines in Canada.”

Georgetti is also concerned about reports indicating that third party labour brokers based in China are advertising for coal miners to apply for jobs in Canada, and at wages below what Dehua company has stated that it will pay. “I urge you to rescind the work permits that have been issued to Dehua International mines and any other operations that have sought work permits and may have suffered similar lapses in integrity, ” Georgetti adds in his letter to Minister Finley.

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