SAN FRANCISCO — A class action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of temporary foreign workers in Canada accused Mac’s Convenience Stores of recruiting them for jobs that did not exist.
Moreover, the suit filed with the British Columbia Supreme Court, claims that workers paid immigration firm more than $8,000 to get the nonexistent jobs in Canada.
The lawsuit claims that from December 2009 onwards the workers were recruited in Dubai to work at Mac’s stores in B.C., Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
But when the workers arrived in Canada, they allegedly found the more than 425 jobs they had been contracted for did not exist, according to a report by CBC News.
The lawsuit also targets three immigration firms based in Surrey, B.C— Overseas Immigration Services, Overseas Career and Consulting Services and Trident Immigration Services —for allegedly charging the workers an illegal $8,000 recruitment fee and making them pay their own transportation to Canada.
Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, migrant workers are issued a permit strictly based on the employment contract offered by their new employer. Any changes will invalidate the permit.
The fiasco left the temporary workers without any legal source of income in Canada, causing them mental distress and embarrassment, claims the lawsuit.
Mac’s Convenience Stores Ltd., which began as Mac’s Milk in 1962, now has about 800 stores across Canada, employing approximately 8,000 people.
News of the lawsuit came on the same day that two Mac’s employees were killed in separate armed robberies in Edmonton.
One of the lawyers for the workers, Carmela Allevato, said a worker sent to Alberta to work was brought to a homeless shelter by border agents as he had nowhere to go. Allevato said, “Some of them have gone back to Dubai, some have gone back to the Philippines, others are in Alberta.”
Allevato said the problem results from way the Temporary Foreign Worker program is structured. “If workers are good enough to work here, they are good enough to live here,” she told CBC News.