Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has certified a Class Action lawsuit against Mac’s Convenience Stores (Mac’s) and three immigration consultants. The case involves 450 foreign workers who allege they were enticed to come to Canada with promises of jobs. Each of the workers paid a fee of up to $8,500 to the consultants for a job with Mac’s. The Class Action lawsuit was certified on Monday by Justice Arne Silverman.

The jobs were offered to the workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program which specifies that fees for job placements must be paid by the employer. The government has not laid charges in this matter.

One of the plaintiffs, Prakash Basyal, says he met one of the defendants at a job fair in Dubai. He interviewed with a representative of Mac’s and signed a two-year contract for a low wage cashier’s job in Edmonton, Alberta, and paid the agreed fee of $8,000. After he quit his job in Abu Dhabi, he arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia and received a permit allowing him to work for Mac’s, but was told the job he contracted for was not available. He was then left with no choice but support himself working illegally at a bottle depot in Calgary where he was discovered by Canada Border Services Agency and arrested. He was handcuffed, detained and humiliated.

Lawyers representing the workers claimed that abuses under the Program are common. They say this leaves foreign workers vulnerable. The defendants declined comment.