If you have been following the drama concerning the Alberta oil sands then you might have heard about the recent spark of gossip concerning the sudden release of 60-or-so employees who were working out at a site near the Imperial Oil Kearn Lake oil sands. So why were these employees released? For cheaper labor. Yep. Pacer-Promec Joint Ventures, the contracting company in charge of releasing the employees, signed on a load of foreign workers from Croatia. Now normally this isn’t that big of a deal. Yes, it sucks for the former employees, but sometimes foreign workers bring special perks, knowledge, and skill sets with them that you can’t find locally. But this wasn’t the case at all. These Croatian workers were hired because they were cheaper. Rather than the average $39 per hour that the former employees were being paid, these Croatian workers were only paid about $18 an hour.
The released workers blew up in outrage and demanded the actions of The Alberta Federation of Labour to step in. The contractor was extremely apologetic, but didn’t really seem to know much about what went on – either this or he didn’t want to voice anything as he was caught and put in the spotlight. The contractor did admit he was under the impression that they were not breaking any rules and felt they were being fair and playing the game the way it should be played. Unfortunately for the contracting company though, what they did directly abused the Temporary Foreign Workers program. The use of temporary foreign workers is not illegal, but the time of employment these Croatian workers had went against the rules set in the program.
Luckily for these former workers however, they have been re-hired. As for the contractors who violated the rules set in the Temporary Foreign Workers program, they have been blacklisted and not allowed to hire any “temporary” foreign workers anymore.
The oil sands in Alberta, Canada is a huge attraction for those wanting to find a career as either a geologist or a petroleum engineer. The wages, as you can see, are very strong (unless you’re a foreign worker!) and there is definitely a satisfaction in knowing what you’re doing directly affects the lives of many. If you are interested in petroleum engineering then it is important you go to the right school. There are several schools in the south that offer fantastic programs in petroleum and oil engineer. Geology is also heavily relied upon in excavation sites, and in the tar sands in Alberta, Canada. For geology, no school beats the University of Arizona.