Khaira Enterprises

A forum for discussion about various silviculture companies. No defamation please!
User avatar
Scooter
Site Administrator
Posts: 3655
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: New Brunswick
Contact:

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Scooter » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:09 am

Khaira and Tiger are not members of the WSCA, so it isn't like they'd be screwing their own members over. In fact, many of the people bidding against Khaira & Tiger are members.

bush
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:49 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by bush » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:42 pm

isn't wsca looking out for all silviculture workers? aren't they the flagship for worker's standards and rights? improving the working environment for treeplanters and treeplanting contractors. or are they just like politicians and evangelists.

bush
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:49 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by bush » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:44 pm

i don't think that it will be khaira or tiger that will be contacting the commissioner of competition, of the competition tribunal.

mcD
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:16 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by mcD » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:18 pm

the WSCA is NOT looking out for silviculture workers it helps contractors. as has been discussed endlessly here there is no group representing workers.

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:45 pm

Scooter wrote:
When a bunch of "no-good dirty unwashed hippie drinking smoking degenerate tree planters" (not that I think that, but planters do get portrayed in a negative light sometime) who are posting on an internet discussion board have more foresight and information than your entire government agency, you have to wonder what sort of effective monitoring system you have.
Hahaha, this cracks me up. Well said. Well, it's sad, but it's unfortunately funny at the same time since it's so true.

I'm so glad to be part of the great unwashed.

Let me tell you a story that one of my forestry professors at UBC told us about 30 years ago:

"After you students graduate here's what'll happen: The smartest top third of the class will find themselves good paying jobs with industry or research; the middle third will find themselves working for various companies throughout their career; whereas the bottom third will, without exception, end up working in relatively low paying government jobs".

Need I say more...

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:47 pm

mcD wrote:the WSCA is NOT looking out for silviculture workers it helps contractors. as has been discussed endlessly here there is no group representing workers.
The only group that would love to represent workers would be some kind of union. Do you really want to go there?

bush
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:49 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by bush » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:35 pm

RPF. the professor's quote is great. and timeless.

whitepickup
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:09 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by whitepickup » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:30 pm

Gual wrote:
newforest wrote: but.....if 'Tiger' is allowed to continue in the business, it is rather telling that their bids are high now, yes? isn't that one result everyone would want?
mmmm... not quite. It has been discussed on these forums before but Tiger, Dewan and AKD are all owned by the same people. They bid on the same contracts. Its called bid stacking and is not legal as far as I know. One bid sheet was posted here that showed AKD and Dewan 1-2 on a contract.

They can only get away with this because BCTS has a mandate to go for the lowest bid... and damn he torpedoes.
Tiger, Dewan and AKD are not owned by the same people. There is a Dewan/AKD relationship and there is a Tiger/ Khaira/Tiger relationship.

Before Khaira (in the 1990s) there was a company called Tiger. It got into trouble, closed shop and reopened as Khaira. The fact that Khaira tried to restart as Tiger was a dead giveaway. So many animal names out there, so little imagination...

Gual
Regular Contributor
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:24 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Gual » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:48 pm

RPF wrote:
mcD wrote:the WSCA is NOT looking out for silviculture workers it helps contractors. as has been discussed endlessly here there is no group representing workers.
The only group that would love to represent workers would be some kind of union. Do you really want to go there?
Yes- I wouldn't be able to sign up fast enough.

Evergreen
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 221
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2004 11:56 am
Location: Campbell River

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Evergreen » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:48 am

RPF wrote:
Another news story:

B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands and Mines, Pat Bell, said the Khaira Enterprises case demonstrates that an effective monitoring system is in place.
“We discovered the camp, we determined that it wasn’t successful and we reported it to the Ministry of Labour and the RCMP,” Mr. Bell said. “Despite the fact that something happened that probably shouldn’t have happened, it was reacted to quickly. Khaira will not be able to do this again.”
Mr. Bell said the province has a certification process where contractors must “pass muster” to be able to bid on contracts, including safety certifications. He also said that there are no plans to re-assess the province’s contract awarding process.
“We have a competitive tendering process and I think the public expects us to get best value for taxpayers’ dollars,” he said. “While I am not proud of the fact that Khaira created the environment and situation that was encountered, I do think that it was dealt with decisively.”


This is the greatest load of hogwash I've heard in quite a while. It blatantly twists the facts and ignores what went on before. I warned BCTS about Khaira and their bid in Powell River back in December of 2009. I ended up in a conference call with BCTS higher ups, John Betts and Timo Scheiber of Brinkman. We expressed our dimay that Khaira was awarded the work at a bid that was so low as to be completely unrealistic and udoubtedly would produce unsafe working conditions. BCTS insisted they had done their due diligence and would hear nothing from us. Shortly after Khaira started the work the RCMP were called by local residents who saw their crew living in substandard conditions. WCB, Health, BCTS and BCFSC subsequently all inspected the camp and the working conditions and found numerous violations which were all overlooked. Khaira was allowed to continue. ( A list of the infractions was posted on a thread here). Not only were they allowed to continue, when it became apparent to them that they couldn't succeed at their bid price, BCTS allowed them to walk away without completing the contract. This should have garnered them a non-completion which would have disqualified them from going to Golden and further abusing workers. Khaira whined that they had not realized that helicopters were required for part of the Powell work and so perhaps this is how BCTS rationalized letting them off. It was abundantly clear to all contractors who bid that helicopters were a necessity. BCTS even required us to ensure that all helipads were in good condition.

The other great lie in Mr Bell's quote is that BCTS reacted swiftly and decisively in Golden. They actually did nothing until hunters brought the situation to light. To that point BCTS had done nothing and would have continued to do nothing about camp conditions. I have spent many hours involved with this situation and was stonewalled at every turn by BCTS. I still can't believe that their handling of the Powell River fiasco has not been scrutinized more fully by the BC Federation of Labor or the Labor Standards Branch. If BCTS would have acted according to it's own regulations Khaira would never have gotten to Golden and the embarrassment there would never have happened.

It amazes me that Mr. Bell can get away with such blatant lies.

jamisnewsham
Regular Contributor
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:22 am

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by jamisnewsham » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:36 am

how about a new forum, for 2011?
"WHERE ARE THEY, AND WHAT ARE THEY DOING!"
a complete guide to the wherabouts of KHAIRI,DEWAN,TIGER,AKD.
and anyone with any knowledge at any time on these guys can post .
if you see them at a hotel, bus depot, pub...., post it!
these people need to be dealt with by the most effective resource in the industry,
you and me!

Coaster
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Coaster » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:32 pm

Great idea Jamis!

how about a new forum, for 2011?
"WHERE ARE THEY, AND WHAT ARE THEY DOING!"

Maybe we should call it - Where are they and what are they Dewan?

I know Dewan has 471,560 trees for MOF Kamloops
AKD has 1.5 million for BCTS Quesnel
I don't know what if anything Tiger has

Another name for the thread might be "Hall of Shame"

User avatar
Scooter
Site Administrator
Posts: 3655
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: New Brunswick
Contact:

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Scooter » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:39 pm

Coaster, is the Dewan job part of a multi-year? I remember seeing them probably, um, four years ago (plus or minus one) when I was down at Rocky's cold storage place. They had come with a FIST to pick up their first load of trees, but had no slats, so their forester sent them to the lumber depot to pick up a bunch. I saw them a short while later, using a chain saw to cut the slats to length in the yard at High Country, with no safety gear whatsoever. I kind of giggled because I was talking to their forester at the time, and pointed in their direction. Needless to say, said forester snapped and went running out to rectify the situation. I didn't even have to say a thing.

But I'm pretty sure that if their Kamloops work is part of a multi-year, it probably can't be the same contract they were doing back then, unless it's maybe the last year of a four-year?

Anyway, point is, at least they've worked in that area before and got through their seasons. Probably not as risky as a company starting a contract in a new area. Is this AKD's first time in Quesnel?

Coaster
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Coaster » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:33 am

The Dewan job in the Kamloops District is in the Highland Valley and it's for MOF not BCTS. This is not a multi-year job and was awarded in November 2010. The bid results as posted were;

MOF - Kamloops - 471,560 trees - early April

1 - Dewan - $121,750 - 25.8 cents
2 - AKD - $129,838 - 27.5
3 - Coast Range - $133,390 - 28.3
4 - Evergreen - $139,164 - 29.5
5 - Seneca - $143,838 - 30.5
6 - Dynamic - $149,094 - 31.6
7 - A&G - $154,184 - 32.7
8 - Tiger - $161,471 - 34.2
9 - Next Gen - $171,508 - 36.4

AKD is I believe a local Quesnel company so no doubt they have experience in that area. Their bid of 22.8 cents left a cool $50,000 on the table. Both they and Dewan are registered as small companies with the Safety Council which they aren't. This is the same fraud that Khaira was allowed to get away with last year. There doesn't seem to be any mechanism in place in the system to identify these kinds of frauds and deal with them. This is a void the WSCA ought to fill. Ensuring that contractors are properly certified would help to level the playing field when bidding.

jdtesluk
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:28 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by jdtesluk » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:49 pm

At the WSCA conference today, Minister Pat Bell stated that there is a significant chunk of money that has been withheld from Khaira as a result of their failure in the job (money withheld as part of the contract). There is still a window of appeal for Khaira. However, once a decision is final, if the amount awarded to the workers remains, then the ministry will forward that money to the Employment Standards to be distributed to the workers. There may also be other legal mechanisms by which to obtain the other money (if an amount remains above that which has been withheld by the ministry).

This (partially) addresses the concerns that the workers would not see any of the money awarded. What is really great about this, is that the Public Interest Advisory Council is a non-profit group that assisted the workers in their case. Thus, there will be no lawyers taking a cut of the (withheld) money, and it (theoretically) will go straight to the workers.

I will not delve into the politics that surround the way this has unfolded, but I would say that it is encouraging from a worker's point of view that the process may actually produce a result.

User avatar
Scooter
Site Administrator
Posts: 3655
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: New Brunswick
Contact:

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Scooter » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:58 pm

This is reassuring news. Let's hope it all pans out properly. Thanks for sharing this, Jordan.

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:18 pm

jdtesluk wrote:At the WSCA conference today, Minister Pat Bell stated that there is a significant chunk of money that has been withheld from Khaira as a result of their failure in the job (money withheld as part of the contract). There is still a window of appeal for Khaira. However, once a decision is final, if the amount awarded to the workers remains, then the ministry will forward that money to the Employment Standards to be distributed to the workers. There may also be other legal mechanisms by which to obtain the other money (if an amount remains above that which has been withheld by the ministry).

This (partially) addresses the concerns that the workers would not see any of the money awarded. What is really great about this, is that the Public Interest Advisory Council is a non-profit group that assisted the workers in their case. Thus, there will be no lawyers taking a cut of the (withheld) money, and it (theoretically) will go straight to the workers.

I will not delve into the politics that surround the way this has unfolded, but I would say that it is encouraging from a worker's point of view that the process may actually produce a result.
This is great for the workers, but it still appears to me that Mr. Bell is avoiding the bigger issues (at least in public). Namely he needs to start asking some tough questions of his Ministry staff such as:

1) Why was this whole situation allowed to happen in the first place?
2) Why did no one from his Ministry do anything earlier on to prevent this worker abuse? (everyone else seemed to know what was happening so why not his ministry staff)
3) What will his ministry staff do differently to prevent this type of abuse from EVER happening again?

I think it's about time that Mr. Bell get to the root cause of this situation and do something meaningful to prevent this from happening again.

jdtesluk
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:28 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by jdtesluk » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:18 am

.... live from the WSCA conference in Kelowna.

The WSCA has continued their effort to address the situation involving Khaira Enterprises, and to ensure that no workers are ever caught in the same position again, and to close the loopholes that allow companies to exploit workers. There is recognition that this situation was a case of a bad apple and not representative of the way the vast majority of contractors treat their workers, and there is a moral belief and professional commitment to see that the situation is not reproduced.

They have lobbied the BC Forest Safety Council, various members of the government, and the Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris to develop a method of fixing the problems that allowed the Khaira situation to develop. Ombudsmen have investigative powers, and can call people to provide information. Their decisions are not legally binding, but in the history of Canada, there has never been an ombudsman’s decision that has not been followed.

The Ombudsman has announced that he will look at all the agencies involved, and the issues and factors that allowed the case to occur. He has essentially commited to take this issue on, and make sure it does not end with a cash settlement to the affected workers, but carries forward into an examination of the circumstances that allowed the event to occur in the first place. This process will officially start today.

As for RPFs comments, yes -1 because the "silo-ed" structure of BCTS separates responsibilities from front line activity and fractures inter-office communication, and because there is confusion between the concepts of responsibility (due diligence) and liability -2 because they all thought it was someone else's job to do and are busy running a "business" and are likely not empowered or instructed to do so by their higher ups, and perhaps because "workers" rights are just not an important enough political issue at this time due to obvious reasons - 3 and (now without sarcasm) I truly believe that attitudes will be different and every contract manager in forestry will have this event on their mind and will not want to be the person responsible for another such case. It would essentially be career suicide at this point to allow another such case to occur, and allow the government and the BCTS agency be embarrassed and scrutinized for a repeat incident. I honestly believe that there are some good people in BCTS that want to ensure this never happens again, but they are simply wrestling with the octopus of their own organizational structure.

Cub reporter signing out.
Last edited by jdtesluk on Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

newforest
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 580
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:03 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by newforest » Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:26 pm

this has been a highly educational thread(s) for me, thank y'all so much.

I am following a similar situation in my home state, where that government has been using a contractor ordered to pay nearly US $3 Million to their former planters. Surprisingly, the owners actually paid the first 1/3 of it so far and didn't just quit the business and hide out in their mansions. Meanwhile my home state is currently evaluating bids for a new contract and most likely there will be only one or two bids due to how they structured the contract, locking out the rest of us. So they will be back in business with the same people most likely. I have told the agency involved they have possibly been party to the breaking of labor laws, but haven't pushed it anywhere else as I do want to work for that agency some day, and a petty bureaucrat wronged is not an enjoyable one to work with.

I will say this ... the contractor in question is known for keeping people away from their planters. Any time a contractor is trying to limit access from outsiders to their crews, something is going on. In my opinion. I'm not sure how you could use that to try and keep abuses from happening again, but it seems like planter interviews would be a possible technique?

User avatar
Scooter
Site Administrator
Posts: 3655
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: New Brunswick
Contact:

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Scooter » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:17 pm

I think this was a rather unique company in our industry, with respect to the fact that accessibility and planter interviews would be difficult. The demographics of that particular group of employees were such that communicating in English was not easy for many, from what I understand of the situation. I doubt that any of them were members of this message board, and probably didn't know about it. In most companies up here, there is a little bit of migration from company to company, so in any given company, there is almost inevitably a planter or several planters who have worked for other companies. So information used to spread through the industry slowly even without this message board or Wade Grandoni's old website. But I would have assumed that nobody that worked for Khaira had worked for any other arms-length company, and there were probably few or no experienced planters from other companies working for Khaira. If so, they probably would have bailed in the first couple of days when they saw what they were getting into. This is all just conjecture on my part, but I feel pretty confident that it's a pretty accurate assessment.

User avatar
krahn
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 544
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:43 pm
Location: manitoba
Contact:

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by krahn » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:54 pm

thanks for keeping us up to date jordan.

BastaQuebec
Starting to Post
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:51 pm

Re: Khaira Enterprises

Post by BastaQuebec » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:51 am

Longer article : http://noii-van.resist.ca/?p=3057

"RCMP are also investigating the death of a worker at one of several remote tree planting camps run by Khaira."

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:35 am

jdtesluk wrote:Cub reporter, Jordan Tesluk, reporting to you live from the WSCA conference in Kelowna.

... I truly believe that attitudes will be different and every contract manager in forestry will have this event on their mind and will not want to be the person responsible for another such case. It would essentially be career suicide at this point to allow another such case to occur, and allow the government and the BCTS agency be embarrassed and scrutinized for a repeat incident. I honestly believe that there are some good people in BCTS that want to ensure this never happens again, but they are simply wrestling with the octopus of their own organizational structure.

Cub reporter signing out.
Time will tell on this point, but I remain very skeptical that this is the last time we see something like this again. It sounds like everyone is "passing the buck" with no one putting up their hand to take full responsibility for this event. Unless someone says "the buck stops here", I don't see anything changing in the near future.

I agree that there are some good people trying to make sure this doesn't happen again, but I think that working within a huge bureaucracy it'll be tough for one or two people to make any meaningful changes. Real change needs to come from the top with the Minister in charge answering directly to the electorate.

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:15 pm

Interesting read. When I read this article, it immediately reminded me of my experiences (I did not write this but I could just have easily have…) Well said.

http://www.bclocalnews.com/opinion/lett ... 55269.html

Published: February 04, 2011 5:00 PM
In the spring of 1985, I made my way to Horsefly, B.C., to embark on my first tree-planting contract and hopefully a new career. With a group of strangers from across the country, we started our five-mile walk in — our gear and supplies following in a tractor.
As we began erecting our camp on the work site, the contractor wished us luck and bid us farewell until the next week when he would return with more supplies. Only one person in the group had any tree-planting experience and was hired as foreman.
After figuring out a few shelters, which we built out of rolls of plastic, rope and some logs, we realized that there was no water anywhere. We found a puddle with a colourful rainbow shining on its surface, which became our water supply. Our cook was 23 and this was her first attempt at cooking.
The next day we started planting after five minutes of instruction.
We worked every day and by the eighth, we had eaten all our food except for a sack of flour, half a bucket of peanut butter and half a bucket of jam.
On the 10th day, the peanut butter ran out and I’d had enough. Five of us walked out, tired, hungry and broke. We went to the nearby town, found out where the owner of the company lived and fought with him for a day until we had some of our money, which would pay for gas home. I was discouraged and thought I would never plant again.
Today any of these actions would result in fines. But back then, this situation was the norm in the industry, although there was a movement afoot where tree-planting companies were building respect from good practices and conduct.
I gave it on more shot with a great company and never looked back. That company, and others like it, built its reputation from pride. The integrity that went into the camps, food, planting quality, safety and training all led to the industry standards which are in place today.
Together, they built the Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association, which is not only a part of the forest industry, but also takes on a leadership role where needed.
Our reputation as an industry took a blow after last month’s allegations of slavery, violence and the countless violations of one contractor on a job near Golden.
As a forest technician in charge of administering planting contracts in the past, I have found myself unhanding a whip from a foreman, stepping around piles of feces in camps with no outhouses, being offered cash bribes, observing overcrowded vehicles, deplorable camp standards, and much more. I would always write these incidents up and present them to my superiors in the B.C. Forest Service.
I have been told to ignore the conditions, as the saving in the price of the contract pays for my wage. I’ve been told to look the other way or let the contract continue, as it is too expensive to get someone else in to do it.
In other words, the message over many years was that abuse was justified by being able to save money.
The situation with Khaira Enterprises was recognized in the planting community and communicated to the government, which awards many tree-planting contracts.
In respect to the government, they sent nearly every board or council out to inspect the company. I believe all of them found the contractor not up to standards, but instead of shutting them down, they fined them, essentially giving them the green light to continue the status quo.
Had the Khaira workers near Golden not lit an illegal fire which led to the discoveries of squalor and abuse, would this method of operating just have continued?
Twenty-five years ago, I sat in a tent outside a remote logging camp in the pouring rain, waiting for the loggers to finish eating as the planters were not allowed to eat until the loggers finished.
I laugh when I look back now, such prejudice, the loggers in their Atco trailers, the planters fending off grizzlies for a night’s sleep.
But somehow it made me stronger, probably due to the fact that a few years later we all ate together and shared the trailers, as we learned that working together and creating a safer workplace provided a better quality of life for all of us.
I don’t know if the Khaira workers will be able to look back and laugh.
The silviculture industry is the best it has ever been when it comes to worker safety; the direction is honourable. We just ask that the government work with the same level of integrity to help us achieve an even higher ground.
I don’t want to point fingers, as we all got to this place together. I simply hope that collectively, we can instill confidence in the public that we will continue to grow strong like the forests we work in.

User avatar
Scooter
Site Administrator
Posts: 3655
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: New Brunswick
Contact:

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Scooter » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:57 pm

^^^

That is a great, great letter.

newforest
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 580
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:03 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by newforest » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:01 pm

that letter is both encouraging (planters treated like loggers) and discouraging (bribes)

User avatar
Casper
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:48 pm
Location: BC

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Casper » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:14 am

Well, I must admit that it piss me off, again, that nothing was done even if a lot of people, working for the governement, reported the situation. This is so rotten, it's disgusting. But thanks a lot for the letter, it brings light to alotof stuff I didn't know.
Say hey Johnny boy, the battle call.
United we stand, divided we fall.
Together we are what we can't be alone,
We came to this country, you made it our home.

jdtesluk
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:28 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by jdtesluk » Mon Feb 14, 2011 5:04 pm

As mentioned previously in this thread, the Safety Ombudsman has agreed to conduct an investigation into the Khaira Enterprises case. An article regarding this announcement is pasted below. Also, BCTS has been working with the industry to develop better methods of inspecting thier contractors and ensurig that the contracts they administer are conducted in compliance with proper regulations. This includes inspecting camps to ensure that conditions are acceptable and in line with regulatory requirements AND visiting companies to ensure they are adhering to Employment Standards 37.9. This is a new development, and indicates that BCTS is not planning on allowing another Khaira situation to occur. Regardless of whether the government claims (partial) responsibility for the events that unfolded, they were clearly embarrassed by the aftermath (if not annoyed) and have no interest in seeing such events recur. Instead of just deferring to the authorities responsible for the various areas of jursidcition, BCTS has indicated that it will follow through on its responsibility to ensure that its contracts are conducted in a legal and compliant manner. From my viewpoint, (past situations aside) I think BCTS is taking some good steps with their current actions. The loopholes are closing. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the field.

I would suggest that these developments are generally positive, and will help prevent contractors from wandering below the "floor" of effective regulations. It does only apply to BCTS and government administrated contracts, but that is where the most significant problems have occured, and where a majority of complaints seem to have emerged from. I anticipate that some people may not feel that the action taken is vigorous enough. However, I think it would be a mistake to demand an extreme ratcheting-up of enforcement when the vast majority of contractors are playing by the rules and do not need to have tougher standards applied. The current strategy appears to focus on monitoring and detection of evil-doers through existing legislative tools and good cooperation between licensees and contractors. It is also worth noting that these two lines of action (Ombudsman investigation and BCTS response) involve direct WSCA participation. A lot of personal time has been spent by the business owners and industry memebers that not only perceived the damage that non-compliant contractors do to the market, but also those that expressed moral indignation against the exploitation that was documented. Their efforts can be further supported by a commitment from the workers to actively report their greivances, and to hold their employers accountable to following appropriate regulations related to safety and employment standards.

ARTICLE BELOW
Nanaimo, BC – (February 11, 2011) - A case involving what the provincial government called "unacceptable" treatment of 58 silvicultural workers will be examined by BC Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris as part of a review of silviculture camp systems.

The B.C. Employment Standards Branch (ESB) last month ordered Khaira Enterprises Ltd. to pay workers unpaid wages and interest of $236,500 and issued a penalty of $3,500 following an investigation of company camps at Golden, Revelstoke, Texada Island, Powell River, Salmon Arm and Kamloops. The investigation found the company had imposed poor living and working conditions last summer.

"The Khaira situation is not typical of the industry, but I have received calls about health and safety conditions at silviculture camps in the past," said Harris. "It appears that a small number of contractors and operators are not acting in the best interests of workers and these types of situations continue to occur.”

Harris announced the review at the annual meeting of the Western Silviculture Contractors' Association held February 4 in Kelowna.

Association executive director John Betts said, “The B.C. silviculture industry welcomes this investigation. We hope it will produce a comprehensive and impartial review of the conditions that led to the Khaira Enterprises Ltd. situation. We also look forward to any recommendations the Forest Safety Ombudsman may make to improve and restore confidence in the tendering and administration of silviculture projects.”

Harris suggested the Khaira case indicates a need for better coordination among a number of ministries, agencies, industry sectors and associations with roles in ensuring that contractors and operators act in the best safety interests of their workers.

Expected to take four months, Harris indicated his review will seek input across the province with the goal of developing recommendations that will help improve coordination among all parties and ultimately prevent these situations from occurring again.

Harris is appointed by the BC Forest Safety Council to be an impartial representative for forest safety issues. (See http://www.bcforestsafe.org/ombudsman.html.)

The Council works with forestry employers, workers, contractors and the government to make BC’s forests safer. It is a not-for-profit society consisting of forestry organizations and supported by WorkSafeBC and the provincial government. Details are at http://www.bcforestsafe.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Rob Moonen
Phone: 250-619-7220
Email: moonen@bcforestsafe.org
Reynold Hert
Phone: 250-739-5177
Email: hert@bcforestsafe.org

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:39 am

jdtesluk wrote: ... It does only apply to BCTS and government administrated contracts, but that is where the most significant problems have occured, and where a majority of complaints seem to have emerged from. ...
Enough said.
Hmmm. I remember when BCTS was formed a decade or so ago. At that time they were touted as the future "Leaders" of the forest industry. Good thing I chose not to follow their lead.

Duncan
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:42 pm
Location: Hades

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Duncan » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:13 pm

RPF wrote:I think it's about time that Mr. Bell get to the root cause of this situation and do something meaningful to prevent this from happening again.
Uh

Duncan
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:42 pm
Location: Hades

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Duncan » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:34 pm

jdtesluk wrote:Harris announced the review at the annual meeting of the Western Silviculture Contractors' Association held February 4 in Kelowna.

Association executive director John Betts said, “The B.C. silviculture industry welcomes this investigation. We hope it will produce a comprehensive and impartial review of the conditions that led to the Khaira Enterprises Ltd. situation. We also look forward to any recommendations the Forest Safety Ombudsman may make to improve and restore confidence in the tendering and administration of silviculture projects.”

Harris suggested the Khaira case indicates a need for better coordination among a number of ministries, agencies, industry sectors and associations with roles in ensuring that contractors and operators act in the best safety interests of their workers.

"Better coordination among a number of ministries, agencies, industry sectors and associations"

So every planting camp better have all there tents away from all trees, and all electrical cords better be shrink rapped, first aid kits checked, fire tools counted, right amount of shitters etc etc. And you better have you your hi-vis, whistles, vis vests, and watched bear aware. Meanwhile many companies who never intend on meeting any criteria are still bidding on work, Pat Bell is oblivious until media picks up on it then it is evidence of the system working. Because It's Pat, he morphs into whatever he can, learnt from BC's most notorious fraudsters, or his best friends.

While workers who've been fucked may receive the equivalent to their lost ei claim? Something that they couldn't even access earlier because their dirtbag employers didn't have the proper paperwork? Probably won't even get that after Khaira declares bankruptcy and morphs into Tiger or some other company, and when that implodes Pat Bell will take the credit for what will be more getting screwed and other people blowing the whistle as proof the system works. The problem needs to be addressed BEFORE they go into the bush, but that would mean the system is REALLY working, not a complete fucken joke...
Screw more camp inspections, most reputable companies already deal with enough of these from the forest companies, WCB etc etc. Get to the REAL problem, eliminating companies like this from bidding altogether. But of course, that's not putting the focus onto the workers, where it always ends.

Coaster
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Coaster » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:31 pm

Right on Duncan! - We can only hope that when Mr. Harris finishes his ombudsman's review that he will find that BCTS has just about zero discression or care that the contractors they allow to bid can actually do the work to standard. Left alone BCTS managers don't give a damn about workers. They answer only to their accountants and the bottom line. There have been numerous examples over the last few years of them taking bids that could only end up in workers getting screwed.

Rumor has it that in 2010 BCTS officials told some of their checking contractors to "go easy" on some contractors because they had very low bids. Anyone who could substantiate these rumors would be well served to let Mr. Harris know. - roger-harris@telus.net

BCTS is hoping this will go away and not expose too much of their dirty laundry. What they really need is an overhaul of their priorities. There are some signs that they are changing as they will apparently be inspecting camps & conditions and asking planters if they're getting paid on time. I hope planters are savvy enough to know that this is a great opportunity to expose lousy contractors who cheat them through bonus systems and campfee overcharges - to name just a couple of bogus practices.

User avatar
Pandion
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 121
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:56 am

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Pandion » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:18 pm

Rumor has it that in 2010 BCTS officials told some of their checking contractors to "go easy" on some contractors because they had very low bids. Anyone who could substantiate these rumors would be well served to let Mr. Harris know. - roger-harris@telus.net
My Girlfriend was checking for BCTS in 2009 in the Southern Interior, and finding all kinds of problems with blocks planted by treeplanting's version of Walmart. We're talking three faults per plot kind of garbage. Airpockets, and exposed plugs all over the place, and the BCTS checker told her that this should be overlooked, and that an airpocket or a flush plug covered by needles is fine, even good for trees in the Southern Interior. Basically they needed to pass the blocks. She was completely discouraged having planted herself for 8 years, knowing that this kind of BS was going on. I guess there are going to be some sweet fills soon, but it's safe to say those blocks are going to cost a little more to get to SR status then they should have, if they were planted competently the first time. Not exactly the best value for the BC taxpayers dollar.

bush
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:49 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by bush » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:53 pm

i think wainwright brought up the "best average bid" from europe in the bid results thread. the best average sounds like a very realistic solution to lowbidding shitshows.

jdtesluk
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:28 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by jdtesluk » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:53 pm

Duncan wrote:
jdtesluk wrote:Screw more camp inspections, most reputable companies already deal with enough of these from the forest companies, WCB etc etc. Get to the REAL problem, eliminating companies like this from bidding altogether. But of course, that's not putting the focus onto the workers, where it always ends.
I think this sums it up for most company owners that I've spoken to. I've heard pretty much the same thing said to the ministry in person as well. Of course, in our glorious "system", eliminating anyone from competing is always a last resort. Competition in the market is the paramount value, and as Duncan's post leads- that often comes at the expense of other values (ie treatment of workers).

That being said, there has been considerable dialogue between the industry (WSCA) and BCTS etc to ensure they don't go inspection-crazy. I think they have actually got the point. However, one of the problems that caused the Khaira situation to go on so long, was that their inspection system was broken. Yes, people are getting inspected by various companies, but without proper coordination, a lot of problems get missed.

For example, WorkSafe would likely have taken much quicker action in many cases IF they actually knew the company was there. This requires a NOP (Notice of project) to be submitted. IN the past, only diligent companies submitted NOAAs, so WorkSafe only (generally) inspected good companies. Talk about going after the low hanging fruit, right. Now, BCTS will require that any contractor working with them must submit an NOP in advance of beginning work. They will also use thier own (BCTS) inspection process to ensure that their contractors inform appropriate parties of their operation. This will actually allow WorkSafe inspection and monitoring to obtain better coverage.

It often seems common sense- just get rid of the crappy companies. However, in our current legal structure, you have to have proper legal tools to do this. You can't just make a snap-call and say "that 's a bad company- you're out of here". In the legal arena, that just doesn't fly. This is what made it difficult for the Safety Council to act inthe past. Until last summer, they did not have a proper legal tool that they could use to strip certification from a company. If you go and take action against a company without good legal footing, it doesn't take long for that ratbag company to hauly your agency into court. That's just the way it works.

So, I would suggest that better coordination between agencies is one of the best things that we could see in the industry, and BCTS coming up with a proper inspection program is a good step. I thought it was very progressive that they actually went to the industry to get insight on how to best shape thier inspections so that it didn't amount to just another burden on the good companies.

User avatar
Scooter
Site Administrator
Posts: 3655
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: New Brunswick
Contact:

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Scooter » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:13 pm

Now, BCTS will require that any contractor working with them must submit an NOP in advance of beginning work.
This has been the theory for years. We've been bitching for quite a while that some companies don't bother with this step, and they repeatedly get away with it. I'm not going to hold any big hopes on this one just yet.

Evergreen
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 221
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2004 11:56 am
Location: Campbell River

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Evergreen » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:20 pm

BCTS seems to be taking some positive steps. Requiring submission of NOPs is a great step. Most if not all coast logging companies also require NOPs be submitted. Khaira didn't submit one for the Powell River debacle. I called WorkSafe around the time Khaira started and they had no idea. Their next call about it came from the RCMP.

If our first contract with BCTS this year is any indication then it appears they will also be interviewing planters to make sure they're being treated and paid fairly. This is great stuff. It often seems to require a tragedy or a scandal to bring on meaningful change. Embarrassment is a great catalyst sad to say. If Khaira's crew ends up getting their money then this whole thing will have been just what this industry needed. A kick in the ass.

Contractors don't set the wage rates for planters. They are determined by the marketplace. The marketplace is controlled by the regulators and the bigger companies. The big companies have no impetus to have planters make more than what they can get away with. The contractors can't regulate themselves as the regulators haven't required certification or membership in the WSCA. As long as there are more planters than there are trees to go round, our best hope is that the regulators will tighten up enforcement and weed out the bad operators. That should allow prices to go up and better wages to get paid.

jdtesluk
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:28 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by jdtesluk » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:28 am

Evergreen wrote: If our first contract with BCTS this year is any indication then it appears they will also be interviewing planters to make sure they're being treated and paid fairly. .
Yes, I was a bit surprised myself when they told me they were going to look at Employment Standards as well- a bit more progressive than I might have predicted. I will admit I was a bit skeptical about the degree of meaningful action that BCTS would take. In this case, I will be very happy to be wrong. I think what was really productive was that WSCA people and other informed members of the industry were able to consult directly to BCTS staff, and not just to politicians or head bureaucrats. The people that know best were able to work directly with the people on the front lines- good formula I would say. This allowed the industry to provide input on the tricky parts of employment standards like making sure workers aren't getting hit with the "bonus" system or being charged more for their hotel rooms than the company pays. Any step that levels the playing field has to be positive. I'm glad to hear they are following through on the topics and interviews. Let's just hope they get the good coverage and hit the people that really need the attention.

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:28 pm

Another news story on this issue:

Cheated treeplanters face long wait for payment
By Tom Sandborn February 24, 2011 10:35 am 4 comments
print email share
twitter facebook stumbleupon digg del.ico.us reddit

A group of workers who planted trees and did other rough work in the bush for Khaira Enterprises will have a long wait before they see the money the Employment Standards Branch ruled was owed to them, The Tyee has learned.

This despite the Branch officer’s January ruling that Khaira owed the workers close to a quarter million dollars in back pay and benefits that had been improperly withheld from them by the Surrey-based contractor that did work for the provincial government.

Different ministries of the BC government seem to have different versions of how swiftly, if at all, the 57 Khaira workers, mainly immigrants who are reportedly living in dire poverty now will see any of the money the ruling assigned to them. At least one of the workers is facing eviction while waiting for the money owed.

In the wake of the scathing Employment Standards Branch ruling in January, BC Forests, Mines and Lands Minister Pat Bell told the Canadian Press that the workers would get their money promptly.

"We're confident we can now ensure that the employees are paid the amounts of money that are owed to them," Bell said at the time.” I’m not expecting this to take a long time to have it resolved. I'm hopeful that the employees will be paid up quite quickly and be able to go on their way."

A spokesperson at Minister Bell’s ministry referred questions about when the payout to Khaira’s workers would occur to the Ministry of Labour. On February 23, a Ministry of Labour spokesperson told The Tyee in an email, “Distributing the funds could prejudice the employer’s rights in this case because if the appeal was successful, there would likely be no way to recover funds that have been distributed.”

The spokesperson said the Employment Standards Branch believed there would be an appeal filed challenging the ruling on the Khaira file before the March 14 deadline, and that there would be no payout until all appeals had been exhausted.

"Some of the workers are owed $12,000 according to Employment Standards. For someone living in poverty, that amount could be their only income for the entire year," Ros Salvador, a lawyer at the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre, which has acted on behalf of the Khaira workers, told the Tyee in a Feb. 23 email.

"So far workers have been waiting seven months for wages and EI they are fully entitled to receive. The Ministry of Labour has the authority to release the money held by the provincial government, and the only just course of action is for the money to be paid out immediately to alleviate the poverty of the workers.”

“The system failed these workers on the job and now it’s failing them again,” BC Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair told the Tyee. “This is a systematic failure that sends a message to employers that it’s OK to abuse workers.”

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:35 pm

Scooter wrote:
Now, BCTS will require that any contractor working with them must submit an NOP in advance of beginning work.
This has been the theory for years. We've been bitching for quite a while that some companies don't bother with this step, and they repeatedly get away with it. I'm not going to hold any big hopes on this one just yet.
This has been a WCB regulation for many years. I don't understand how companies can get away with this (contractors working for me don't). Wait, I forgot, we're talking about BCTS here - never mind...

On another topic, how often do WCB Inspectors actually check a tree planting worksite? In my 25+ years in the industry I don't ever recall seeing or hearing of a WCB inspector visiting any of my planting contractor's worksites or camps.

User avatar
Scooter
Site Administrator
Posts: 3655
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: New Brunswick
Contact:

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Scooter » Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:33 am

I've probably had at least 16 inspections in the last 18 years, when I was either a senior foreman or supervisor. Pretty common for our camps. Usually on Ministry contracts, not Licensee.

Duncan
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:42 pm
Location: Hades

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Duncan » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:02 pm

Not that its news or anything, but here is another example of the BC Liberal formula when an embarrassing story hits the public, just tell them "the system is working"

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-c ... ml?ref=rss

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:00 pm

Another news story from the Vancouver Province newspaper:


Tree-planters who have been unpaid since last summer are suffering untold hardships while waiting for their wages — and those hardships will continue, says their lawyer.

“Workers are in drastic financial situations,” Vancouver lawyer Ros Salvador said Tuesday.

The latest delay has been prompted by the tree-planting company, Surrey-based Khaira Enterprises Ltd., which has appealed a B.C. government tribunal’s decision to award 58 workers about $240,000 in wages owed. The government says the money will be held in trust while the appeal is heard.

“Our clients are living in absolute poverty. One Quebec City man, who is owed $12,000, faces eviction. That represents a year’s wages for him,” Salvador said.

At a Vancouver press conference last August, about one dozen mostly black workers, many of African origin, complained of labour and human rights’ abuses in remote B.C. camps.

They said Third World conditions included unsanitary waste disposal, untreated drinking water, food shortages and bosses making racially motivated slurs.

One man said a boss threw a bush knife at him.

The men have also been unable to collect Employment Insurance payments from the government. Salvador said the claims, which are based on reaching a certain number of hours worked, have been ruled invalid, based on incomplete time sheets provided by Khaira to the government.

Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, said government safeguards have “absolutely failed” workers.

“This is a huge screw-up which starts with the government, which did not police an incompetent company. The company was found guilty and ordered to pay. It makes a mockery out of the fact workers supposedly have rights,” he said.

Khaira has been banned from bidding on all B.C. Ministry of Forests contracts for two years. The company’s lawyer did not return calls Tuesday.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/Wronged+tree ... z1GnoGmuNM

RPF
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by RPF » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:28 am

Another update on this situation:

http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/119016894.html

The provincial “watchdog” on forestry safety was in Campbell River on Wednesday to talk about tree planters.

BC Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris also interviewed silviculturists and foresters for a review he’s doing on the industry.

“When I get involved, it’s viewed things aren’t going well,” Harris said.

That’s not entirely true in this case, but the review was prompted by actions of a not-so-diligent company. In January, Khaira Enterprises was penalized $3,500 and ordered to pay its workers $236,500 in unpaid wages, plus interest.

The penalties were a result of an investigation into the silviculture company which operated camps in Powell River, Texada Island, Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Revelstoke and Golden. The investigation found the company had imposed poor living and working conditions last summer.

“The Khaira situation is not typical of the industry, but I have received calls about health and safety conditions at silviculture camps in the past,” said Harris. “It appears that a small number of contractors and operators are not acting in the best interests of workers and these types of situations continue to occur.”

While most silviculture firms – which also do tree spacing and thinning – act professionally, the industry is sometimes viewed as, “The last cowboys of the forest industry,” said Harris.

Part of the problem, he added, are the overlapping ministries, agencies, industry sectors and associations all connected to silviculture. Harris said they tend to look after their own narrow scopes of view, and there’s a need to co-ordinate all the services for the betterment of workers.

Harris intends to make recommendations to help prevent further Khaira-like situations and to co-ordinate all the governing bodies. His review is supported by the industry.

“The B.C. silviculture industry welcomes this investigation. We hope it will produce a comprehensive and impartial review of the conditions that led to the Khaira situation,” said John Betts, executive director of the Western Silviculture Contractors’ Association, in a statement.

For more information: bcforestsafe.com

jdtesluk
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:28 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by jdtesluk » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:53 am

I'll be interested to see what Mr. Harris comes up with in terms of recommendations, and what the Gov't/BCTS does in response.

Ombudsmen typically have no true legislative or judicial power. However, their recommendations (within North America) are typically ALWAYS followed. THat is certainly the case with the provincial ombudsmen. It will be interesting to see if that influence extends to the forestry ombudsman. BCTS has already made some significant policy adjustments, but there is nothing to prevent Mr. Harris from going beyond that.

whitepickup
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:09 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by whitepickup » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:58 pm

FYI

Western Silvicultural Contractors' Association

12 July 2011

Memo to: WSCA Member Contractors

From: John Betts WSCA Executive Director

Re: Khaira Enterprises Appeal of Employment Standards Branch Ruling

Khaira Enterprises Ltd. has lost its appeal of the 4 February 2011 Employment Standards Branch Director's determination that the company must pay $240,332 in unpaid wages to 58 former employees. On 28 June 2011 the Employment Standards Tribunal dismissed the appeal brought forward by lawyers acting on behalf the company's directors Khalid Mahmood Bajwa and Hardilpreet Singh Sidhu.

I have attached the copiously detailed determination for your information. One thing that stands out is the Director's interpretation of the requirement that workers receive a week's wages as part of their termination after three months of consecutive work. I have excerpted the relevant regulation. It seems we are relieved of this requirement based on the highlighted clauses below. However this doesn't seem consistent with my reading of the ruling against Khaira. I would appreciate any comments you might have on current practices and experiences around this requirement. I would appreciate hearing on this before I make any related enquiries of the Director.

On another related development, WorkSafeBC has indicated they have fined Khaira Enterprises for various violations following an investigation of their activities at Golden last year. This is interesting in that I understood they also were present on site at at least one other time during Khaira's operations. So far I have not found any record that that previous investigation resulted in any orders or penalties. The WorkSafeBC notice is excerpted below.

I have no information that a Khaira-related firm called Tiger-something has succeeded in getting work this year. They appear to have disappeared after showing up to tender bids on some government contracts.

I expect Roger Harris's Forest Safety Ombudsman report on Khaira Enterprises and the roles played by the agencies and organizations involved, including the WSCA, will be out any day now. It was expected in late June. I do not know if the delay is meaningful.

The B.C. Employment Standards Act does not remove an employer’s right to terminate an employee. The Act requires that employees who are terminated receive written notice or compensation based on length of service.

Compensation Eligibility
An employee who is terminated may be eligible for compensation based on the following formula:
After three consecutive months of employment – one week’s pay;
After 12 consecutive months of employment – two weeks’ pay;
After three consecutive years – three weeks’ pay, plus one week’s pay for each additional year of employment to a maximum of eight weeks.
A week’s pay is calculated by:
Totaling the employee’s wages, excluding overtime, earned in the last eight weeks in which the employee worked normal or average hours; and
Dividing the total by eight.

The sale, lease or transfer of a business does not typically interrupt an employee’s period of continuous employment unless the employee has been terminated by the vendor employer.
No compensation required with working notice
No compensation is required if an employee is given advance written notice of termination equal to the number of weeks for which the employee is eligible. This notice must be in writing.

An employee can also be given a combination of written notice and compensation equal to the number of weeks of pay for which the employee is eligible.
An employee must be able to work during the notice period. If an employee is on vacation, leave, temporary layoff, strike or lockout, or unavailable for work due to medical reasons during the notice period, the employer must either suspend the notice period until the employee returns to work or pay that employee compensation in lieu of notice.
If employment continues after the notice period ends, the notice is of no effect.
Once written notice has been given, the employer may not alter any condition of employment, including the wage rate, without the employee’s written consent.
No notice or compensation required
Notice or compensation is not required if:
The employee has not completed three consecutive months of employment;
The employee quits or retires;
The employee is dismissed for just cause (see “Just Cause” factsheet);
The employee works on an on-call basis doing temporary assignments, which he or she can accept or reject;
The employee is employed for a definite term;
The employee is hired for specific work to be completed in 12 months or less;
It is impossible to perform the work because of some unforeseeable event or circumstance (other than bankruptcy, receivership or insolvency);
An employer whose principal business is construction employs the employee at one or more construction sites;
The employee refuses reasonable alternative employment;
The employee is a teacher employed by a board of school trustees.
If a definite term or specific work is extended for at least three months past its scheduled completion, the definite term and specific work exceptions described above do not apply.

Khaira Enterprises Ltd
$9,122.75
Golden, March 25, 2011
This firm failed to comply with numerous requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation in its forestry operations. For example, it allowed workers to walk on logs and logging debris without caulked or other effective footwear. It allowed workers to operate all-terrain vehicles without the proper training and without wearing the required headgear. It also failed to conduct a risk assessment for its remote work locations, where workers may need to be rescued or evacuated. These are only some of the firm’s safety violations.

Mike
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 729
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:10 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Mike » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:30 pm

$240,332 in unpaid wages to 58 former employees.
4143$ each for 3 months of work? I hope that this is because they already paid people partial wages?
All of my company reviews and experience (The Planting Company, Windfirm, ELF, Folklore, Dynamic, Timberline, Eric Boyd, Wagner, Little Smokey, Leader, plus my lists for summer work and coastal) can be found at the start of the Folklore review due to URL and character limits.

Folklore, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/anl6mkd

jdtesluk
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:28 pm

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by jdtesluk » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:06 pm

Yes, some people were paid more than others.

Coaster
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by Coaster » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:18 am

Regarding Roger Harris' pending report on Khaira and how it relates to the WCB fine imposed later in Golden;

Back when Khaira was first discovered abusing employes on Texada Island in March 2010, WCB inspected them and discovered a number of issues including no caulk boots. Apparently they saw fit to ignore all of these at the time 'minor' issues. They weren't the only culprits as Ministry of Health and BCTS bureaucrats also found and ignored multiple issues.

BCTS went so far as to let Khaira walk away from that early project whithout completing the Jervis Inlet heli work that they had underbid enormously. That underbidding had allowed Khaira to obtain the contract in the first place. As a point of interest the project for doing that work has finally been retendered. I assume BCTS was waiting an appropriate length of time so things would blow over before retendering the work. Only two contractors saw fit to bid on this work, perhaps a show of disdain by the rest of the contracting community. Here are the bid results for 96,400 remote access boat/barge/heli trees;

Rainforest - $139,044 - $1.44 per tree
Osprey - $176,284 - $1.83

Given that the Brittain River portion is 1/2 this current project, the bid to do it this time is equal to what Khaira's was to do their whole spring contract for in 2010 which included an additional 85,000 trees and 32,000 cones on top of Brittain River. It only points out that BCTS did anything but due diligence when awarding the work to Khaira in 2010. That coupled with how all of the various agencies turned a blind eye to Khaira's mistreatment of workers on Texada means that if heads aren't set to roll after Mr. Harris' report, then we know the fix is in.

barnbill
Replant Forums Highballer
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:37 am
Location: new westminster b.c.

Re: Khairi making news - another BCTS success story

Post by barnbill » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:39 am

B.C. forestry crew still unpaid 1 year later

The Canadian Press Posted: Jul 20, 2011 5:18 PM PT Last Updated: Jul 20, 2011 5:18 PM PT


A group of foreign tree planters found living in squalid, slave-like conditions in a remote forestry camp near Golden, B.C., a year ago say they still have not been paid.

The tree planters, some of them women and most of them of African heritage, were found by forestry workers at a camp living in containers with no washrooms and said they were subjected to violence.

In January the B.C. Employment Standards Branch ordered Khaira Enterprises of Surrey to pay $228,000 dollars to 57 workers for unpaid wages.

But the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre says the tree planters have still don't have their money, and the federal government has not corrected their hours or earnings so they can collect Employment Insurance benefits.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest