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Mining firm agrees to release applicants’ résumés

The Pine Valley open pit coal mine in the Peace River District of northeast British Columbia, near Tumbler Ridge.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

The company at the centre of a court battle over Chinese workers at a B.C. coal mine will hand over résumés of Canadians who applied for, but didn't get, jobs at the project.

A federal court judge in December ordered federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley to produce the documents as part of a court case relating to the foreign workers.

But despite several requests from Ms. Finley, HD Mining declined to provide the documents, saying the government had no legal grounds to ask for them.

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On Jan. 15, a different judge ordered Ms. Finley to "further consider" the steps she had taken to comply with the December court order, prompting HD Mining to say it would provide the résumés.

In a letter to the federal government, a lawyer for HD Mining says the company remains concerned that releasing the documents could hurt people's privacy but felt it had no choice but to provide them.

"We continue to have concerns regarding third-party privacy interests which may be affected by disclosure of the résumés in question," lawyer Alex Stojicevic said in the letter, dated Jan. 16.

"For example, it is possible that some or many of the persons who submitted résumés had not notified their present employers that they were searching for other employment."

Two B.C. labour groups are seeking the résumés as part of a court challenge to federal government decisions that cleared the way for HD Mining to hire up to 200 Chinese workers for its Murray River coal project near Tumbler Ridge.

Before they can hire workers under Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program, employers have to obtain a Labour Market Opinion, which requires, among other things, employers to show what efforts they made to hire Canadians.

HD Mining has said it was not able to hire qualified Canadians for the positions, a statement the unions dispute.

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The résumés "come down to one of the major statements that HD Mining said to the Canadian government," said Mark Olsen, business manager with Construction and Specialized Workers' Union Local 1611, said on Thursday. "They said we have advertised across Canada and although we have received some résumés, we could not find one qualified Canadian to take a job at the Murray River project.

"If you're saying that, let's see the 300 résumés to see if it's true."

HD Mining said it expects to provide the résumés by early next week.

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