Feds are failing Canadians who cannot fill skilled mining jobs

BELLA COOLA – The news this week that hundreds of Chinese temporary workers will soon begin flooding into northeast BC coal mines to fill skilled labour shortages is a “manufactured crisis,” MP Nathan Cullen said today.

“We’ve known for years that huge skilled labour shortages, up to 15,000 thousand vacancies in the BC mining industry alone, were looming large on the horizon,” Cullen said.

“It’s just ridiculous to be filling potentially thousands of BC mining jobs with foreign workers when unemployment remains stubbornly high in many parts of Canada, including here in our riding.

“Part of the federal government’s promise to thousands of displaced fishing and forestry workers was that they’d be able to transition to jobs like mining through funded training programs.

“That hasn’t happened and we’re now looking at a terrible example of the Canadian government not working for Canadians.”

Cullen said the federal and BC governments must step up regulatory and training efforts to more effectively safeguard the jobs of Canadians.  He is urging Ottawa to tie temporary foreign worker approvals to detailed training plans that would prepare Canadians to fill skilled labour shortages.

He made the appeal in letters today to ministers Diane Findley, responsible for the temporary foreign worker program, and Immigration’s Jason Kenney.

“There must be more accountability for federal training dollars and to Canadians,” Cullen said.

-       30 –

Contact: Shelley Browne, cullen1@parl.gc.ca; 250-622-2413