Human Rights Tribunal begins for mistreated tree planters

The B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BCPIAC) is representing a group of tree planters, most of them immigrants or refugees of African origin, who were found living in squalid conditions in a camp in Golden, B.C., in February 2010. They were employed by Khaira Enterprises Ltd. who was ordered by B.C.’s Employment Standards Branch to pay the workers almost $260,000 in back wages.

Eugene Kung, a lawyer with BCPIAC representing the 50 workers, says he’ll argue that racism and discrimination were at the root of the horrific experiences the workers endured. The hearings will also look into why the BC government continued to give Khaira contracts even after the province was warned about the company.