Twist to Canadian visa case

A PROTRACTED battle by HD Mining to bring in 201 Chinese workers through the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program has taken another twist.

Noel Dyson

Longwalls reported yesterday that HD Mining had filed an appeal of the November 22 decision of Justice Douglas Campbell to grant standing to two unions seeking to challenge the right of certain foreign workers to enter Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

It has emerged that Canadian Dehua International Mines Group International, which is embroiled in the dispute, announced it was stopping a coal mining venture in British Colombia because of the visa dispute.

But Dehua announced it would be back in operation soon at the Wapiti River coal project southeast of Tumbler Ridge, BC.

The Dehua mine is in the exploration phase. Dehua is understood to own a small stake in HD Mining.

The two unions have been trying to stop HD Mining bringing in Chinese workers for British Colombia mines.

HD Mining argues it needs the workers, while the unions insist there are enough local workers available.

The company also has said it was “very concerned and disappointed” that Canada Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley made a public statement about HD Mining and the temporary worker program.

The statement was made on November 8, after this litigation had started.

“HD Mining is particularly concerned about the impact the minister’s statement had on the ongoing court proceedings and the decisions to grant the unions standing,” HD Mining said.

The company applied for and received approval from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to hire 201 workers under the temporary foreign worker program.

HD believed it had met or exceeded all the HRSDC requirements and had been told so by HRSDC officials.

Before getting the temporary foreign worker authorizations, HD says it undertook an extensive Canadian search, including job advertisements.

“Contrary to some allegations that the advertisements required Mandarin speakers, none the advertisements said Mandarin was required,” the company said. “Most made no mention of Mandarin at all.”

It said the advertised rates for key position ranged from $25 to $40 an hour and were consistent with the Infomine Benchmark.

For a mine foreman, it said, the salary ranged from $90,000 to $130,000.

HD Mining said it submitted a training and transition plan to ensure workers were employed safely and able to transition fully to becoming Canadian workers.

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