December 14, 2012
HD Mining welcomes court victory
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver - HD Mining International Ltd. welcomes the December 14, 2012 decision of the Hon. Justice Russell to refuse to grant an injunction sought by two unions seeking to challenge the right of HD Mining's workers to enter Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
"This judgment is massive victory for HD Mining", said HD Mining Chair Penggui Yan. "We have been waiting for a Court to say that we have done nothing wrong and this decision does exactly that. We hope it will cause the unions to seriously question why they are bringing these proceedings."
The Court stated:
The Officer certainly seems to be aware of, and to address, the factors stipulated under section 203 of the Regulations in what is a discretionary, administrative decision that attracts considerable deference (para. 22)
The reviewable errors alleged by the Applicants are not equally convincing or obviously present and a further review will be needed to ascertain whether there is an unreasonable error that requires the LMOs to be quashed (para. 22)
The media appears to have been aware of the issues in this case for some time and the LMOs were issued some time ago... yet no evidence has been produced from individual members and miners about specifics the Court needs to know to assess irreparable harm (para. 41)
The Applicants' other assertions of irreparable harm are even more nebulous and are unsubstantiated with clear and non-speculative evidence (para. 44)
There is nothing before me to suggest that HD is responsible for problems with the Temporary Foreign Worker program, or that HD was responsible for any reviewable error the Officer may have made over the LMOs... (para. 59)
The applicants say that the Respondents have taken a hard line in dealing with this matter which could have been resolved much earlier... the evidence before me, however, suggests that the Respondents had acceptable reasons for resisting some of the extensive production of documents that the Applicants demanded.. (para. 63)
"HD Mining has a very strong reputation with the community of Tumbler Ridge, and we are right now providing employment to many Canadians at the site, directly or through contractors," said Mr. Yan. "We are very grateful that the Federal Court has said our project will not be suspended".
With this decision, HD Mining will continue its work extracting a core sample to investigate the extent of the coal seam as well as continue to pursue environmental certification for the Murray River Project. It will also allow HD Mining to continue investment in local goods, services and contractors. To-date, HD Mining has invested over $50 million in the Tumbler Ridge area and surrounding communities.
"We feel we have been unfairly targeted by the unions and we must be able to rely on the government approval process", said Mr. Yan. "There are hundreds of thousands foreign workers working under this program in Canada today and we do not understand why the unions would try and shut down our project. How would that provide jobs for anyone?"
HD Mining applied for and received approval from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to hire 201 workers under the temporary foreign worker program. In doing so, HD Mining has met and/or exceeded all HRSDC requirements, and has been told that by officials from HRSDC. Relying on this approval, HD Mining has invested in this project and has started transferring skilled workers from its parent company to Canada as temporary foreign workers and has started hiring local workers and contractors.
Before obtaining the temporary foreign worker authorizations, HD Mining undertook, in accordance with requirements, an extensive search for qualified Canadian workers. Advertisements were placed with the federal government national jobs bank and numerous newspapers and other publications. Contrary to some allegations that the advertisements required Mandarin speakers, none of the advertisements said Mandarin was required. Most made no mention of Mandarin at all.
The Canadian advertisements related to various positions, including mining engineers, industrial electricians and underground coal mine workers. Advertised rates for these key positions ranged from $25 to $40 an hour and were consistent with the Infomine Benchmark. For a mine foreman/forewoman, salaries range from $90,000 to $130,000 annually.
As part of the application process, HD Mining developed and submitted a training and transition plan to ensure safe employment of workers and to eventually transition fully to Canadian workers. The training and transition plan was developed following consultations with provincial regulators responsible for mining health and safety matters.
About HD Mining
HD Mining International Ltd. is a Canadian incorporated company committed to the Murray River Coal Project, which will create 600 direct jobs and 700 indirect jobs through the construction and operating phases. To-date, HD Mining has invested $50 million on local goods, services and contractors.
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