Oilsands workers bilked of wages tough to find

Alberta says it could take years to track down 132 Chinese employees who were paid only a fraction of their wages for working on an oilsands project.

EDMONTON — Alberta says it could take years to track down 132 Chinese employees who were paid only a fraction of their wages for working on an oilsands project.

The foreign workers, who have since returned to China, are owed more than $3 million.

They were employed in 2007 by a Chinese contractor on Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s (TSX: CNQ) Horizon project near Fort McMurray.

Alberta Employment spokeswoman Janice Schroeder says CNRL has given the department money, which is being held in trust, to make up for the missing wages.

Schroeder maintains the province is determined to track down the 132 workers to ensure they are paid what they are owed under Alberta law.

Officials with CNRL and contractor SSEC Canada Ltd., could not be reached for comment.

The companies are to be in Fort McMurray court on June 8 to face charges in the deaths of two Chinese workers in 2007 at the oilsands project site.

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