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Report/Press release

MIGRANTE calls for permanent residency for TFWs in Tim Hortons case/Dec 15 community rally in Fernie

Date

2013-12-07

Authors

Migrante Canada

Responsible institution

Migrante BC

Full text

Migrante BC
7 December 2013
Press Release
For more info, please call Jane Ordinario, 604-254-5850

MIGRANTE calls for permanent residency for TFWs in Tim Hortons case/Dec 15 community rally in Fernie

A local Filipino community group today renewed its call for permanent residency for all temporary foreign workers (TFWs) – in particular for the two TFWs at the centre of an Employment Standards Branch complaint against Tim Hortons.

Richard Pepito and Heidi Kibanoff were hired under the TFW program to work at the Tim Hortons in Fernie, British Columbia. They say that their employer, Pierre Pelletier, took advantage of their temporary status and that he regularly forced them and the other workers to give him back their overtime pay.

“We commend and support Richard and Heidi for their great strength and courage in speaking out about the abuses they encountered. In theory, labour rights and employment standards should apply to all workers. But in practice, many TFWs are unable to assert those rights because of their lack of permanent residency status. The fear of deportation is very strong and some employers use this to coerce TFWs into silence,” said Jane Ordinario, Migrante BC Coordinator.

tim hortons
[Two former employees of a Tim Hortons in Fernie, B.C., Heidi Kibanoff and Richard Pepito, allege their boss hired them and other Filipinos under Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and then took advantage of their status to cheat them out of overtime pay. CBC]

“Addressing labour needs with a ‘disposable’ labour force creates a two-tiered society, with a growing population of workers who in reality have fewer rights than others. This is unacceptable – if these workers are good enough to work, they are good enough to stay,” she said.

“Tim Hortons has brought in thousands of workers under the TFW program and many are from the Philippines. It’s shameful that a company that markets itself as Canada’s ‘National Brand’ is raking in profits on the backs of TFWs who are treated like ‘modern-day slaves’,” added Ordinario, noting that human rights violations against Tim Hortons were also filed by TFWs in Dawson Creek last year.

In 2012, Migrante BC launched a campaign to protect and promote TFW rights and welfare. It recommended in the main that TFWs to be acknowledged as skilled workers and be allowed to enter Canada as permanent residents. In this particular case, Migrante BC puts forward the call of permanent landed status for Pepito and Kibanoff and the other temporary foreign workers at the Fernie Tim Hortons, that the workers be given back their overtime pay, which they have already worked for, and that their Tim Hortons employer be penalized for violations of labour laws and standards.

Migrante BC provided support to over 70 Filipino TFWs who filed and settled a class action lawsuit against Denny’s Restaurants in BC earlier this year.

File Attachments

Links

Economic sectors

Food and beverage servers and Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations

Content types

Documented cases of abuse and Support initiatives

Target groups

Journalists, Public awareness, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

British Columbia and Philippines

Languages

English