A class-action lawsuit brought forward by a group of temporary foreign workers has been certified against Mac’s Convenience Stores and several immigration companies.
The workers say they paid recruitment fees and were promised jobs, but when they arrived in Canada were left high and dry.
The class-action suit certified in B.C. Supreme Court covers temporary foreign workers who made payments to Overseas Immigration Services Inc., Overseas Career and Consulting Services Ltd., and/or Trident Immigration Services Ltd., and then received contracts to work at Mac’s stores in B.C., Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Saskatchewan.
Lawyer Susanna Quail, who represents the migrant workers, said the certification is important because it gives a voice to a vulnerable group of people who arrived in Canada with no support or access to help.
“Many people affected in this particular lawsuit ended up, for example, living in homeless shelters.”
Quail said they want fees paid by the migrants to be returned, to be reimbursed for travel, and for wages they didn’t receive.
“Each individual migrant worker who was affected by this particular scam doesn’t have the resources to pursue legal action, but when you bring – we say there’s up to about 450 of them – when you bring all of them together, then it’s at a scale where there is the possibility to take this forward and justice to all of those individuals,” said Quail.
Natalie Drolet, Executive Director and Staff Lawyer with West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association said the certification of this case is a victory for all Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada.
“Cases like this have the ability to send a strong message to employers if they engage in these kinds of illegal recruitment activities.”
The lawsuit still needs to be argued on its merits, and a trial date has not been set.
Lawyer Andrew Borrell, who represents Mac’s Convenience Stores, said it’s too early to comment, but notes his client in in the process of carefully reviewing the decision.