Our Federal Court has dismissed a court challenge by two unions against HD Mining. The unions claimed that the company hired more than 200 temporary Chinese workers for its coal mine in Tumbler Ridge in northeastern BC, while deliberately ignoring or passing over many qualified and willing Canadian applicants.
The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115, and the Construction and Specialized Workers Union claimed that HD Mining obtained labour market opinions (“LMOs”) to bring about 200 temporary foreign workers from China, after rejecting multiple Canadian applicants with exemplary qualifications. The company claimed that there was a lack of expertise for the type of mining operation planned for the mine, namely “long-wall mining”, a technique that is not used in many, if any, existing Canadian mines.
The Court vindicated the company and Service Canada, which granted the LMOs, finding that there was nothing to support the unions’ allegations and that Service Canada’s decision to grant the LMOs was reasonable. Unfortunately, the unsupported allegations did bear fruit for the unions. Due to the public outcry, which was exacerbated by the Royal Bank IT temporary foreign worker controversy, the Federal government made a number of changes to the temporary foreign worker programs. No matter that the company was put to months of litigation, expense and negative publicly, the unions’ own political agenda was well served. I am not surprised that the unions would make unfounded allegations. My concern is how easily the unions were able to manipulate the public perception and debate about important economic issues and policy on the basis of their unfounded allegations.
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The Federal Court of Canada’s decision: http://cas-ncr-nter03.cas-satj.gc.ca/rss/IMM-11316-12%20EN.pdf