HD Mining, the Vancouver-based company that sparked controversy in October last year with a scheme to hire 2,000 Chinese miners for its proposed $300 million northern B.C. coal mine, can go ahead with its plans of hiring foreigners, Canada’s Federal Court ruled Tuesday.
The decision followed legal actions by two unions, which challenged the government and the firm, arguing Canadians are available to do the jobs required and that it was not necessary to look outside the country for labour.
The incident prompted Canadian authorities not only to investigate the circumstances under which foreign workers were being brought into the country, but also to review its entire temporary foreign worker program.
Among the more controversial issues was the fact HD Mining allegedly posted ad requesting for miners fluent in Mandarin.
It also came to light that several employment agencies had been offering Chinese miners a chance to work in Canada in exchange for outrageous amounts of money.
All those accusations were dismissed and in a statement Tuesday, HD Mining called the decision a “complete vindication,” adding it came “at a great cost and has raised significant questions in the international investment community.”
CEO Penggui Yan said the verdict ultimately rejected the unions’ arguments that his company didn’t make “sufficient efforts” to recruit Canadians, that it “placed undue requirements for low skilled positions” and that the company planned to pay “inappropriately low wages.”
The office of the federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Diane Finley, issued a brief statement saying the government respects the court's decision.
“Our government is taking decisive action for Canadian workers by reforming the temporary foreign worker program and making sure that Canadians workers are always put first,” said the document issued by the minister's press secretary Jan O'Driscoll.