Canada’s provincial government of British Columbia is investigating allegations that Chinese workers applying for jobs in the province may have paid high fees to be considered for mining positions in B.C., reports Canadian Press.
The investigation was launched after the B.C. Federation of Labour argued that a few employment agencies have been offering miners in China a chance to work in Canada in exchange for outrageous amounts of money.
"We understand the jobs weren't advertised fairly at going wage rates to workers in Canada. We are confident that no effort has been made to train workers locally. And now we learn that recruiters are asking prospective Chinese miners to pay a modern day head tax," said the group’s president Jim Sinclair in a press release.
The association, which has been a loud critic of the government’s decision to allow foreign, temporary workers into B.C. mines, wants strict measures.
“The only sensible thing to do is to suspend the permits and conduct a full investigation,” Sinclair added in the release.
The demands came after local online publication, The Tyee, reported its journalist had posed as a Chinese miner, contacted two of the three companies that had placed ads on a Chinese website, and was told the workers must pay the recruiters a $12,500 fee in exchange for the job in Canada.
The companies that are bringing in the Chinese miners, particularly HD Mining International, insist they are not using the recruitment firms mentioned in the media.
However, the Vancouver Sun has reported that HD Mining is using its own dubious recruiting practices:
HD Mining placed an online want ad for six coal-mine managers that stipulated Mandarin. The Canadian branches of China's Dehua mining corporation — which has partnered with HD — placed ads for 50 coal miners, 10 driller helpers and two engineers.
The Dehua ads also stipulated Mandarin language skills.
According to the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training's website, a company can be fined up to $10,000 if found guilty of breaching the province's Employment Standards Act.
Foreign workers are the responsibility of the federal government.