Canada province probes complaint over China workers

Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:25pm EDT
 
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By Julie Gordon

(Reuters) - British Columbia authorities said on Wednesday they are investigating complaints by a labor group that local mining jobs are being advertised in China by recruiters in exchange for hefty recruitment fees.

The investigation stems from accusations by the B.C. Federation of Labor that recruitment firms in China are charging as much as C$12,500 (US$12,600) in fees to find temporary jobs for Chinese laborers at a mining development in the province owned by HD Mining International Ltd.

Last week, local online newspaper, theTyee.ca, reported that laborers are promised the "possibility of immigrating to Canada" and the ability to "sponsor your family to Canada, too."

The news site reported that a journalist posing as a mine laborer on an online Chinese jobsite was connected with recruiters who claimed to be hiring for the mining project.

HD Mining, which is jointly held by Huiyong Holdings Ltd and Canadian Dehua International Mines Group Inc, has denied any link to a recruiting scheme.

The company has secured permits to import up to 201 foreign laborers under Canada's temporary foreign worker program, which it has said it needs to complete a bulk sample study at its Murray River coal project in remote northeastern British Columbia.

The province's Labour Minister Pat Bell confirmed on Wednesday that his office was investigating the "serious" allegations. "The investigation is specific to the fee allegation that has been made," he said.

It is against Canadian labor law to charge a foreign temporary worker a fee for employment information and support, and workers cannot be forced to pay back recruitment costs to employers. Skilled temporary workers can apply to immigrate to Canada after four years of working in the country.   Continued...