Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Judge Refuses to Let Ottawa off the Hook for Documents in Chinese Miners Case

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Judge Refuses to Let Ottawa off the Hook for Documents in Chinese Miners Case

Article excerpt

Court still wants docs for Chinese miner case

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VANCOUVER - A Federal Court judge has ordered Ottawa to reconsider whether it can do anything more to convince a mining company to turn over material related to its plan to bring roughly 200 Chinese miners to British Columbia.

The ruling is part of the proceedings around a legal challenge related to those temporary foreign worker permits, a case that remains bogged down in a fight over documents.

Two unions are challenging the government's decision to allow HD Mining to bring Chinese miners to its proposed Murray River project near Tumbler Ridge, B.C., rather than hiring Canadian workers.

Last month, a judge ordered Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to turn over any documents it had related to HD Mining's applications for foreign worker permits, as well as any material within HD Mining's possession that had not yet been handed over to the government.

Federal lawyers told court they had asked HD Mining three times for those documents, including resumes from Canadian workers that HD Mining said were not qualified for jobs at the proposed mine. The company refused.

Ottawa claimed it had no way to compel HD Mining to produce documents that weren't already in the government's possession and asked that the production order be changed to reflect that reality.

Judge Michael Manson ruled that the order still stands.

Manson didn't outline just what the federal government should do to comply, instead leaving that with Human Resources Minister Diane Finley. He noted that the government's previous requests to HD Mining were made without any consequences if the company refused.

"It is not my decision on case management to now determine if the minister has sufficiently exercised that control, but the judge hearing the applicants' application for leave for judicial review may draw an adverse inference against the minister if the judge is not satisfied that the minister has complied," Manson wrote in his decision, issued Tuesday.

"The minister, in her discretion, shall further consider the scope and nature of her compliance with the production order. …

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