04/15/2014 12:23 EDT | Updated 06/15/2014 05:59 EDT

Legal battle brewing in B.C. over temporary foreign worker program

VANCOUVER - Two unions are taking the latest battle over temporary foreign workers to Federal Court in Vancouver, but they hope two government ministers will step in to speed things up.

The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115, and the Ironworkers, Local 97, want the court to immediately revoke any temporary foreign worker permits issued to O&S Contractors Inc., of Springfield, Ore.

According to the unions, O&S was working for Conifex Power Ltd., near Mackenzie, B.C., and had already made arrangements to hire a specialized Canadian worker who was told the project was delayed due to weather.

IUOE Local 115 business manager Brian Cochrane says that's when the union learned O&S had instead hired a crew of up to 10 workers from the U.S., and they were already employed at the construction job.

Cochrane says B.C. and Canada don't need another problem with the temporary foreign worker program and he's urging Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander to intervene.

He says the union's lawyer will press ahead in Federal Court if the ministers don't take action.