Logo en Global Donate now

Online Database: Working for the abolition of legalized migrant enslavement through information sharing

GlobalChange

Document Details

 

Print and save

Newspaper article

Bulk Carriers manager pleads guilty in immigrant workers case

Date

2010-06-08

Authors

CBC

Abstract

The operations manager of a trucking company in Cornwall, P.E.I., has pleaded guilty to charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in connection with the company's failure to cover the flight expenses of some of its immigrant workers.

Newspaper title

CBC News

Full text

The operations manager of a trucking company in Cornwall, P.E.I., has pleaded guilty to charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in connection with the company's failure to cover the flight expenses of some of its immigrant workers.

Mike Schut of Bulk Carriers Ltd. pleaded guilty in provincial court in Charlottetown Tuesday to charges of misrepresentation and counselling to misrepresent.

Bulk Carriers owner Jack Kelly, who was facing the same charges, was not in court Tuesday. Under a plea agreement covering both Kelly and Schut, only Schut was required to enter a guilty plea.

The company's lawyers requested an absolute discharge for Schut. Judge Nancy Orr reserved her decision on that request but suggested the company make a $2,000 voluntary donation to a cause beneficial to the public such as a hospital or food bank.

The Canadian Border Services Agency began investigating Bulk Carriers when it found that between March and July 2008, it had failed to live up to the conditions of contracts it signed with several immigrant drivers it had hired.

Schut and Kelly were charged in September 2009.

The company employs about 60 people, half of whom are immigrants who came to Canada through a pilot project known as the low-skilled worker program.

One condition in the company's contract with its immigrant workers was that Bulk Carriers had to pay for the immigrants' flight to Canada as well as a return flight.

In court Tuesday, Schut said that when it looked like workers would leave before their contract was up, Bulk Carriers changed the contract provisions and withheld the return flight costs. The company withheld the return flight costs of 21 immigrant workers in an attempt to stop them from leaving, Schut admitted.

He said for one worker in particular, the withheld cost amounted to $1,000.

Absolute discharge requested
Schut said the company was losing business as a result of the charges brought against him and Kelly and asked the judge for an absolute discharge so that the company's reputation would be restored.

Schut told the court that more than half of the company's business is in the United States. He said when the charges against the company's managers became public, two of its main clients stopped doing business with Bulk Carriers. Schut estimated that cost Bulk Carriers more than $700,000 in lost revenue.

Lawyers for Bulk Carriers argued Schut should be given an absolute discharge because if he was convicted, the company would lose its trusted carrier status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Bulk Carriers might lose more customers and possibly go bankrupt, they argued.

The judge said neither the province nor the company's employees would be well served if Bulk Carriers went out of business but that there has to be some consequence for the company.

"It is important for the Crown that deterrence be addressed," said Crown attorney Len MacKay.

"While this particular accused may have been dealt a blow financially, it's helpful for a message, a symbol of some sort, be sent for other people to understand."

Lawyers for Bulk Carriers said the $2,000 donation would be made by the end of the week.

The case returns to court on Monday, when it is expected the judge will rule on whether or not to approve the absolute discharge.

The charges of "misrepresentation" and "counselling to misrepresent" to which Schut pleaded guilty relate to two sections of the Immigration Act that stipulate that it is illegal to:

Communicate false or misleading information or declarations with the intent to induce or deter immigration to Canada.
Knowingly counsel a person to misrepresent or withhold material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of the Immigration Act.

Links

Economic sectors

Other

Content types

Policy analysis and Documented cases of abuse

Target groups

Public awareness

Geographical focuses

Ontario

Languages

English