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Foreign workers allege betrayal by Canadian government, exploitation by companies in proposed class-action lawsuit

November 16, 2023
The Canadian Press

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A group of foreign workers who allege they were lured to Canada under false pretenses are accusing the federal government of reneging on its promise to help them get work permits.

Octavio Zambrano says the Immigration Department told him and his colleagues last week that it will not fast-track them for work permits even though it had allegedly promised to do so.

The workers are part of a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging that Quebec-based recruitment company Tresor falsely told them it was legal to work in Canada without a permit during a probationary period.

The lawsuit alleges that Tresor and Newrest, the aviation catering company in which the workers were placed, took advantage of their precarious status and exploited them.


Zambrano says he’s still owed three weeks of back pay and he and his colleagues are running out of money and unable to pay for food and rent in Canada, or to buy plane tickets home.

In an emailed statement, Newrest — which has filed a lawsuit against Tresor — says it was unaware the workers did not have permits.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Marc Miller declined to comment, citing privacy legislation.

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