Oct. 16, 2012
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
Myths and facts on temporary foreign workers
Myth 1 – It is no problem finding people who want to work in underground coal mines.
Fact 1: Prior to being granted permits to hire temporary foreign workers, a company must secure a labour market opinion. Managed by the federal government, the process requires employers to demonstrate efforts made to hire Canadians for the jobs, that the wages offered are consistent with similar jobs, that the working conditions meet current provincial labour market standards, and the economic benefit of hiring the temporary foreign workers, such as the transfer of skills and knowledge to Canadian workers or the development of a new industry.
Myth 2 – The company rigged the process in order to hire temporary foreign workers and used Mandarin as a language requirement.
Fact 2: The company advertised these jobs in a manner consistent with the requirements of a labour market opinion. The company advertised for workers through the company’s and BC Mining Association’s websites, Canada’s national job bank, local and provincial newspapers, job boards and fairs at a wage consistent with like jobs at Grand Cache Coal in Alberta. In issuing the labour market opinion, the federal government determined that there were no qualified workers available.
Mandarin was not a required language for any of the jobs.
Myth 3 – The company is hiring Chinese miners because they are cheap.
Fact 3: The workers hired for this were recruited because there is a lack of individuals in Canada with the necessary long wall mine training – in fact, Grand Cache Coal, one of only two underground mines currently operating in Canada, also uses TFWs due to the shortage of skilled labour in this field and the lack of individuals willing to work in underground coal mines.
The company advertised these jobs at rates equal to or above similar jobs at Grand Cache Coal in Alberta.
Myth 4 – These temporary foreign workers are taking the long-term jobs of Canadians and British Columbians.
Fact 4: The work being conducted is exploratory and the jobs are temporary.
The company applied for and received a bulk-sample permit in advance of undertaking environmental assessments and is sampling the proposed deposits for viability. This is work required in advance of moving forward with the project and requires individuals trained in underground mining.
The jobs are temporary – for a six-to-eight-month period while the exploration takes place.
B.C.’s government is committed to making sure that if these mines are found to be viable, British Columbians will be able to do the jobs that will be created in Northeast BC. In fact, there are numerous British Columbians already working at this site and the government is working with the company to determine their training needs should the projects go ahead.
Myth 5 – It should not take much to train these individuals.
Fact 5: British Columbia’s Skills and Training Plan, released on Sept. 19, focuses on aligning B.C’s training system with the jobs on the ground. Through initiatives such as the Northeast Regional Workforce Table, government is working with industry to identify their skills needs and then offering training programs consistent with those needs.
Although a number of public post-secondary institutions in B.C. offer mining-related training, no mines in Western Canada have previously employed “long wall mining” and thus, no training is offered on equipment/techniques relevant to that particular type of mining.
Contact: Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
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