Unions launch lawsuit against federal HR minister over foreign workers spat

B.C.'s building and trades unions announced last week that they would file a contempt of court application against federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley after ...

B.C.'s building and trades unions announced last week that they would file a contempt of court application against federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley after Chinese coal company HD Mining refused to produce court-ordered documents.

Charles Gordon, who is a lawyer for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 and the Construction and Specialized Workers Union Local 1611, said the unions had no choice but to file a contempt of court application against Finley.

HD Mining is refusing to produce temporary foreign worker (TFW) documents that the court ordered it to turned over to the unions – and a government lawyer said the government has no power to force compliance.

"We will be bringing a motion of contempt against the Minister," Gordon told Justice Douglas Campbell and Justice Michael Manson in the Federal Court of Candada. "We are having the minister served right now – we have no choice."

The unions are attempting to obtain a judicial review of HD Mining's permit for 200 TFWs from China to begin development of a coal mine near Tumbler Ridge in northern BC, arguing that qualified Canadian workers were not considered.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

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