B.C.’s former assistant deputy resource minister is being accused of violating government policy for taking an executive job at a mining company immediately after leaving office.

Jody Shimkus left her post in the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, which oversees mining in the province, in January and took a position at HD Mining International – the same company currently under fire for trying to import Chinese labourers to the province.

Now, union leaders are questioning whether Shimkus violated provincial policy, which forbids senior managers from lobbying or otherwise representing an outside company to the ministry where they last worked within one year of leaving government.

CTV News spoke to Shimkus at her office in downtown Vancouver, where she denied any wrongdoing.

“I was not told of any restrictions. I’m not aware of any restrictions being applied with me,” Shimkus said.

B.C.'s Public Service Agency said the restrictions apply to Shimkus until Dec. 31, 2012.

The former assistant deputy minister acknowledged that HD Mining International deals with her former ministry, among others. Asked whether she represents the company in these interactions, Shimkus said: “I work on permitting and regulatory matters, yes.”

Among the projects that required permitting is the controversial underground coal mine near Tumbler Ridge where HD Mining intends to employ Chinese workers.

The federal government is investigating whether those permits were obtained properly.

Union leaders also want the province to investigate whether Shimkus is following post-employment restrictions for senior managers, and are filing a complaint about her move to the company.

B.C.’s Public Service Agency issued a statement on the matter Wednesday, saying that there is no apparent conflict.

“On the face of the information there does not appear to be a violation of the policy. However when concerns are raised we do look into it further, as we will in this case,” it read.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Mi-Jung Lee

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