Controversy over Chinese miners in B.C. prompts review of foreign worker program

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - The federal government says it's reviewing its entire temporary foreign worker program over concerns a company that won approval to bring 201 Chinese workers to a proposed underground coal mine in northern B.C. didn't meet the requirements.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has released a statement that says the controversy over HD Mining's proposed operation in Tumbler Ridge, B.C., has prompted it to review the foreign worker program.

Finley, whose department has already launched an investigation into HD Mining's permits, says the government isn't convinced the company made sufficient efforts to hire and train Canadians.

She says the government is also concerned HD Mining may have required applicants to speak a foreign language, referencing allegations the it required workers speak Mandarin.

The minister says the government will ensure the investigation will have minimal impact on Canadians already working in connection with the proposed mine, though she did not elaborate.

A spokeswoman for HD Mining, which has insisted a lack of trained workers in Canada forced the company to look outside the country, declined to comment on the minister's statement.