By: John Black
Canadian Citizens May Seek Relief via Canadian Legal System
According to media reports, the fallout continues from conflict between tight United States ITAR requirements and Canadian defense manufacturers. US regulations prohibit Canadian citizens who have dual citizenship in a country listed in ITAR 126.1 from working on US defense projects. There are currently 19 countries whose citizens are banned from this type of work including China, Cuba, Lebanon, Syria, North Korea, Belarus, Afghanistan and Rwanda. Recently Venezuela was added to this list, which may have contributed to the termination of an employee at Montreal’s Bell Helicopter facility.
Bell Helicopter is currently working on an $849 million contract for the US Military and has had to reassign 24 employees to stay in compliance with the US regulations on who can work on their defense projects.
Jaime Vargas, a Canadian citizen with dual citizenship in Venezuela, had only worked at Bell Helicopter for several weeks when he was unexpectedly terminated. There are conflicting stories from Mr. Vargas and Bell representatives on the quality of work performed by the employee. Though Bell claims that he had performed poorly, Mr. Vargas states that he had had nothing but positive reviews and had recently been congratulated by his supervisor on the high quality of his work.
The Canadian Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations says that it will be filing a civil suit on Mr. Vargas’ behalf stating that they believe he was terminated solely based on his connection with Venezuela. They will ask for $110,000 in compensation for Mr. Vargas. The suit will be based on allegations that the termination violated Canadian Human Rights laws.
John Black’s Note: I hope Mr. Vargas wins the suit. I seriously doubt that DDTC will want to revise the ITAR if that happens, but I love it when DDTC digs in its heels and refuses to bend its policies to take into account issues outside of its own control. I look forward to the eloquent statement of the DDTC position, “We don’t care if you win a law suit, we don’t care if the ITAR causes good Canadian companies to violate Canadian laws, we aren’t changing the ITAR.”
Source: “Canoe Network Money” February 6, 2007
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