Pinoy workers join class suit vs convenience store in Canada

Marieton Pacheco, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jan 12 2016 01:48 PM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A popular Canadian convenience store chain is getting slammed with a new class action lawsuit on behalf of temporary foreign workers who claim they were victims of a recruitment scam.

It's a new class suit with the same problems. Temporary foreign workers, including some Filipinos, this time against popular convenience store Mac's in western Canada and its recruiters, Overseas Immigration Services, Overseas Career and Consultant Services, and Trident Immigration Services.

The notice of claims was filed at the British Columbia Supreme Court in December and an estimated 350 TFWs may be included. Most, if not all of them, were recruited in Dubai and with almost non-existent jobs in Canada.

"It's a very sad situation. They pay $8,000 to the agency to come here. Some of them paid their airfare and so it's a great, great cost to them and then when they come here they find out there's nothing here for them," said Atty. Carmela Allevato.

Immigration consultant Arlene Tungohan said some affected Filipinos even came to call for help. But she's relieved to hear that their complaints have reached the court.

"Desperate, umiiyak. Lagi ko nga sinasabi na nasa Canada kayo pwede kayong lumaban. You really have to, otherwise hindi lang kayo ang mabibiktima," Tungohan said.

The complaint seeks to have both the employer and the recruiters return $8000 paid for false jobs, reimburse travel costs plus damages.

The complaint may be new, but similar cases involving TFW problems have been brought to court before like the class suit of Denny's food chain in 2012.

The lawyer added it's a long process to go and some of the complainants may have Canada already but they may still be part of the complaint.

The respondents have yet to issue a statement on the claim.

Read more on Balitang America.