O & S Contracting under fire for foreign workers

Once again, the issue of temporary foreign workers in B.C. has captured the attention of the media, this time with a focus on American workers.

The Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s most widely read news sources, recently reported on a case involving a British Columbia trade union that claims the work permits of eight Americans working on a cogeneration plant near Mackenzie aren’t legally valid.

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The International Union of Operating Engineers says the employees of O & S Contracting Inc. were hired through a loophole in the Free Trade Agreement’s intra-company transfer provision. The union says that the workers do not have the specialized knowledge required to be hired over suitable Canadian candidates.

Vancouver immigration lawyer Alex Stojicevic, of Maynard Kischer Stojicevic, represents O & S Contracting and says the claims are completely unfounded. Alex told the Globe and Mail the union has no standing and the work permits were properly issued by the border.

But union president, Wayne Mills, is calling for the federal government to closely examine the intra-company transfer provision, just as it has recently done with the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. That review has seen temporary foreign worker jobs put on hold after allegations of fraud forced the government to take a closer look at the types of jobs being given to foreign workers.

As the lawyer for HD Mining, Alex Stojicevic was recently facing another case involving the International Union of Operating Engineers. Earlier this year, the mining company came under fire for allegedly bypassing qualified Canadians in order to hire workers from China. The case was settled in HD Mining’s favour in what was called a complete vindication.

O & S Contracting’s construction project is slated to be complete this month and the union has asked the Vancouver Federal Court to speed up the judicial review.

Aleksander Stojicevic has practised law for over 20 years and is recognized one of Canada’s leading immigration lawyers.

MKS Immigration and Citizenship Lawyers are a Vancouver-based law firm with a range of expertise, from business to individual immigration services.