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Ex-Tim Hortons temporary foreign workers fear deportation after whistleblowing

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CBC News

Newspaper title

CBC News - BC

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Two whistleblowers who exposed problems with Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker program at a Tim Hortons franchise in Fernie, B.C. are nervously awaiting a government decision on their fate.

Jona and Chris Pineda have applied to stay in Canada with their three children, but may soon be deported to the Philippines after changes they helped to bring to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

"I'm hoping for my family, especially for my kids, to stay here. My kids love Canada," said Chris Pineda.

Chris Pineda - Fernie Tim Hortons allegations
Chris Pineda said in 2013 his former boss at the Tim Hortons franchise in Fernie, B.C. reduced his hours from 40 hours per week to just 15, forcing him to take other part-time jobs. (CBC)

"We want them to live a peaceful life in safety, to have a way better future here."

The Pinedas have a 12-year-old daughter, a 10-year-old son and a six-month-old baby boy who was born in Canada.

The family now lives in Fort Macleod, Alta. and the parents have found new jobs in the fast-food industry, but their work permits under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program expired in August.

Their current employer won't apply for them to stay under the new program.

Still, they don't regret exposing abuse of foreign workers at the Tim Hortons franchise in Fernie, B.C.

"We feel [it was] worth it that we did it, because it won't stop if we did nothing," said Jona Pineda.

Tim Hortons - Fernie, B.C. - 2
Tim Hortons took control of the franchise in Fernie, B.C. after CBC News exposed complaints from foreign workers. (CBC)

Complaints from the Pinedas and other workers at the Fernie franchise have sparked investigations by the RCMP and Employment Standards Branch at the B.C. Ministry of Labour. Their former employer lost control of two Tim Hortons locations.

Further investigation by the CBC News Go Public team revealed more widespread problems, which prompted a government overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The decision from Citizenship and Immigration Canada on the Pinedas' case is expected in coming days.


Economic sectors

Food and beverage servers

Target groups

Public awareness

Geographical focuses

Quebec, British Columbia, Federal, and National relevance