Workplace Tragedy Raises Many Questions

    Labour demands investigation of Temporary Foreign Workers program

    EDMONTON, April 25 /CNW/ - The Alberta Federation of Labour is demanding
a full and transparent investigation into the death of two workers and injury
to four others yesterday in Fort McMurray. The AFL is also calling on the
Federal government to launch a public inquiry into the temporary foreign
workers program following the tragedy.
    "Our first thoughts go to the families and co-workers of the workers.
There can be nothing more horrible than losing a loved one due to a workplace
accident," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "A large number of questions arise
about why this accident happened and what factors led to such a horrible
tragedy. Questions for which we need answers."
    "I have asked Monte Solberg, federal Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration, to call a public inquiry into the tragedy," says AFL President
Gil McGowan, "paying particular attention to any relationship between the
temporary foreign workers program and the accident."
    "Labour has consistently questioned the lack of oversight, inspection,
education and enforcement of the program in the area of workers' rights," says
McGowan. "Our concerns have included whether or not these workers even know
their basic rights - including basic health & safety regulations and
    "I have also asked that if the investigation does point to weakness or
failings with the temporary foreign worker program we start moving very
quickly to address those weaknesses and failings," says McGowan. "Finally, we
asked that labour play an integral part in any inquiry."
    "We have also asked Iris Evans, the Alberta Minster responsible for
Occupational Health & Safety, to make sure that the accident and fatality
investigations will be transparent and thorough. The need to find out exactly
how these workers' rights have been communicated to them and what steps have
been taken to ensure that those rights are in fact enforced on the job," says

For further information:

For further information: Gil McGowan, President, Bus: (780) 483-3021,
Cell: (780) 218-9888

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Alberta Federation of Labour

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