The Alberta government confirmed Wednesday that South African firefighters who came to the province's aid in Fort McMurray were paid properly under labour laws.
The 300 international firefighters left Fort McMurray just over a week after they arrived, due to the pay dispute.
In response, the province said the workers, who were contracted through a South African job-creation program called Working on Fire, were paid in the same salary range as Alberta's wildland firefighters.
Wildfire crews in Alberta receive between $21 and $25 per hour.
A group of South African firefighters pose with their country's flag before heading to Fort McMurray, Alta. (Photo: Air Canada/Canadian Press)
The crew was in northern Alberta to tackle an enormous wildfire that forced over 88,000 people from their homes and destroyed thousands of buildings.
“We are grateful that these women and men came to help us in our time of need. We are pleased to get confirmation that they have been paid in accordance with our province’s labour laws," said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier in a statement.
In June, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the contract with Working on Fire stipulated the workers would be paid $170 per day.
Firefighters walked off the job, telling media that they were actually only receiving $15 per day for 12-hour days — with another $35 per day promised on their return to South Africa.
At the time, Working on Fire apologized for the dispute in a statement.
"We are currently investigating the matter internally and wish to apologize to both the Canadian government and Canadian citizens for any inconvenience this may have caused," the statement read.
With files from The Canadian Press
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