McDonald’s franchisee sues fast food giant over temporary foreign worker controversy

April 7, 2016

By CBC News |

A former Victoria franchisee is suing McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada for abruptly ending their relationship after accusations of favouring temporary foreign workers over Canadians, which would have violated rules of the federally-regulated program.

Glen Bishop and Nasib Services filed the lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia last month, claiming McDonald’s Canada breached its franchise agreement, costing them millions of dollars.

Wally Oppal, a Vancouver lawyer representing the Victoria franchisee, says his clients feel they were wronged because McDonald’s Canada terminated their agreement without any kind of a hearing.

“Our people are small people, they’re a husband and wife team. And you get a multinational organization like McDonald’s come in and they did not care at all about fairness,” Oppal said.

“”Everybody jumped to conclusions. Everybody jumped the gun,” he said.

The foreign worker controversy

The three Victoria fast food franchises were at the centre of CBC Go Public reports in 2014 alleging they were bringing in foreign workers, while cutting local employee hours, and turning away local job applicants.

As a result of CBC enquiries, the federal government acted swiftly, initiating a probe into the alleged abuse of the temporary foreign worker program. It immediately suspended all of the franchise’s applications for temporary foreign workers, blacklisting Bishop and Services from hiring workers from abroad.

McDonald’s Canada ended its relationship with the Victoria franchisee and said it had begun its own internal review of the use of the temporary foreign worker program at all of its restaurants.

The franchisee alleges Deloitte LLP, hired by McDonald’s to carry out the audit, identified breaches relating to the program at other McDonald’s restaurants across Canada. They claim that to the best of their knowledge, McDonald’s has not terminated any of those franchise agreements as a result.

By June 2014, then federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney, announced a major overhaul of the temporary foreign worker program including caps on foreign workers and increased inspections.

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