Tree Planters Win $600,000 After Racial Taunts From Employer

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

Moka Balikama – among several dozen former tree planters who say they were forced to live in cramped substandard conditions at a camp near Golden, B.C – is seen in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, July 20, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The B-C Human Rights Tribunal has ordered an employer to pay some African workers more than 600-thousand dollars in damages because of the discrimination they faced while tree planting.

The workers were employed by Khaira Enterprises Limited and were based in a camp in Golden in 2010.

Tribunal member Norman Trerise says the owners taunted and harassed the 55 workers with racial slurs and had a blatant disregard for employment standards.

The tribunal has ordered the company to pay each worker 10-thousand dollars for injury to their dignity and self-respect, plus 1-thousand dollars for every 30-day period each worked between March 17th and June 17th, 2010.

The man accused of treating the workers poorly says he can’t comment on today’s ruling because he hasn’t seen it yet.

When reached by phone, Khalid Bajwa says he’s out of town and won’t have time to read the decision until next week.

He has declined a request for an interview, but when details of abuse surfaced in the summer of 2010, he quickly denied any wrongdoing.

“They are very good conditions. They don’t have any bad conditions. It’s like camping. The people are sleeping in a camp and the other tourists making camp up there.”

At the time, Bajwa insisted the 55 workers were well-fed, but the camp near Golden was shut down by the provincial government after the tree planters complained they went two days without food.


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  1. it wll not matter how much the court has allowed the company went into recievership as the charges were presented so the whole matter is a joke.hire foreign workers under canada supervision get real.this so called country should really give there head a shake

  2. The BC HR tribunal is a joke . . . this should have been dealt with by a real Court not the BC HR kangaroo operation where they opine on hurt feelings on a regular basis.

    These folks had a real legal case . . . and in a real court may have gotten some of the assets of this now defunct operator or possibly a civil action.

  3. The Employment Standards Branch has been negligent by failing to enforce its regulatios-and collecting the penalties. Another example where discrimination is also allowed to continue without consequences.

    Add that to the TFW program where busineess has the licence to engage in a scheme to keep wages of Canadians and landed immigrants down for profit motives.

  4. While I don’t agree with this Board and how it adjudicated most of the complaints.
    However I have the utmost respect for Norm Trerise. He may well be the only sane one on the board.