Canadian Manufacturing

Human Rights Commission rejects complaint against USW’s foreign workers campaign

Union alleges complaint filed by employee of HD Mining, submitted on company letterhead


BURNABY, B.C.—The United Steelworkers (USW) union says the federal Human Right Commission has rejected a complaint made against its temporary foreign workers campaign.

The union representing some 5,000 British Columbia miners claims the CHRC has refused to accept a complaint against the campaign allegedly filed by an employee of HD Mining.

The USW has been locked in a months-long legal battle with HD Mining over the company’s use of temporary workers from China at a northeastern B.C. coal mine.

According to the USW, the complaint was filed by an employee of HD Mining and was submitted on company letterhead.

It alleged the union had violated “hate crimes” provisions of the Human Rights Act in its efforts to publicize concerns about the temporary foreign worker program.

The USW says the CHRC ruled against the complaint, saying it does not meet the threshold test to make a case under section 13 of the Human Rights Act.

The USW says it provided the CHRC with a submission that clearly demonstrated the union’s campaign is motivated by concerns over the exploitation of foreign workers and the effect of the temporary foreign worker program on Canadian workers.

In an interview, Stephen Hunt, western Canadian director of the USW, said the complaint was filed Dec. 14.

He said his union was informed of the rejection Jan. 18.

In an email, the CHRC said it cannot comment on specifics of this or any other case.

“This is an important public discussion about what type of future our country is going to have and it is shameful that some are trying to shut it down,” Hunt said in a statement regarding the complaint dismissal.