Posted April 25, 2019 06:16:55Canada faces a lawsuit alleging forced labor conditions at the country’s mines have forced more than 5,000 workers to work long hours without pay and that the government failed to act to stop the practice.
The plaintiffs, who are seeking $4,890,000 in damages, filed the complaint Friday in British Columbia Supreme Court, which has jurisdiction over Canada’s mining industry.
The complaint alleges that in 2017, the Canada Labour Code allowed mines to recruit people for short periods of time, including for unpaid overtime and on-the-job training.
The workers were allegedly recruited by the company, Largest Metal Mining, to work on mines and quarries without paying for the training.
Largest has denied any wrongdoing.
The government says that while there is no federal minimum wage, there is a federal minimum-wage exemption that allows companies to pay workers more if they are doing overtime or working more than 40 hours a week.
The exemption allows companies like Largast to pay people up to $5 an hour less than the minimum wage if they earn overtime, work more than 35 hours a day and are part-time.
As of June, the exemption for the companies covered by the exemption was at $4 an hour.
Largast denies the allegations and has denied wrongdoing.
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue that the exemption is “a sham, designed to circumvent a statutory minimum wage that was not in force prior to 2017.”
They also claim that the loophole allows companies who have never been to B.C. to skirt the wage floor, and to evade the $3.10 per hour minimum wage.
Larger than usual, the lawsuits allege, Larger than normal is not a regular term of employment.
At the time of the alleged exploitation, Langer’s Canadian subsidiary, L&L Minerals Ltd., was working at one of Canada’s largest gold mines in the province.
The company is now in bankruptcy.
Under the exemption, Liergast is not subject to the B.M.S. wage-floor.
In 2017, a report by the auditor general said that L&s was not doing enough to investigate complaints about unpaid overtime.
According to the report, in 2016, the company received 1,908 complaints about wages and working conditions related to unpaid overtime, including 1,074 complaints about the use of overtime and 1,094 complaints related to the use and misuse of overtime compensation.
The report said there were no reports of workplace fatalities, or any significant workplace injuries.
But in 2018, the auditor said the company’s internal records showed that the number of complaints about working conditions rose from 1,055 in 2016 to 2,542 in 2017.