A company that recruits temporary foreign workers on behalf of Canadian employers has filed a lawsuit against McDonald's Canada, alleging breach of contract and defamation of character.
Graeme Young, the Manitoba lawyer representing Actyl Group Inc., which has recruited temporary foreign workers for McDonald’s in Western Canada, told CBC News the lawsuit was filed in a Winnipeg court Thursday.
In the company's statement of claim, Actyl alleges McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Ltd. breached its contract when it failed to pay the agency certain "service fees" for immigration services it provided the franchisees.
Actyl alleges McDonald's Canada was "unjustly enriched" when it deducted money from the paycheques of its foreign workers and pocketed the deductions instead of paying the recruiting agency directly.
Young told CBC News the services fees are for "certain immigration services that Actyl may provide to employees of McDonald's with respect to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, the Provincial Nominee Program, or other work permit, or permanent residency applications."
Actyl alleges that McDonald's Canada had also agreed to pay the agency "a $500 CDN bonus" for "every successful permanent resident application" that was granted to its foreign workers.
"The defendant failed to remit to the plaintiff timely payroll deductions, deducted from the employee's payroll, and refused or neglected and continues to refuse or neglect to remit those amounts due and owing under the agreement," says Actyl's statement of claim.
Young could not say how much money McDonald's Canada allegedly owes Actyl in unpaid fees, but he told CBC News it's an amount "they could take out of their coffee fund or petty cash."
In response to a request for comment, a media relations spokesperson for McDonald's Canada referred CBC News directly to Actyl.
The spokesperson did not say in their email when McDonald's Canada would file a statement of defence.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
McDonald's conference call
Actyl also alleges that comments made by McDonald's Canada CEO John Betts during a conference call with franchisees to defend his decision to suspend its use of the program were intended "to impugn the good character, credit and reputation" of the agency "in a reckless, deliberate and purposeful fashion."
A tape of the conference call was given to CBC News.
McDonald's Canada put its Temporary Foreign Worker Program on hold while a third party conducted an audit on its use of the plan.
That was before the federal government imposed a temporary moratorium on the fast-food sector's use of the program.
The moratorium has since been lifted, but new restrictions were imposed when the government overhauled the program in June.
"John Betts made statements of a detrimental nature on a conference call, where it was reasonable to conclude that there was no expectation of privacy," the statement of claim said.
CBC's Go Public team aired a portion of the teleconference call, during which Betts also referred to news coverage of McDonald's use of temporary foreign workers as "bullshit."
Young told CBC News his client was not on the conference call with Betts and the franchisees.
Actyl alleges "the comments attributed" to the CEO for McDonald's Canada "were meant to mean and were understood to mean that the plaintiff was not a reputable business, that it did not have sufficient safeguards in place, that it took advantage of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for its own material benefit."
"The defamatory words expressed by the defendant and its unlawful defamatory and disparaging conduct caused irreparable harm to the plaintiff's credit, character and reputation amongst the Plaintiff's business partners domestic and foreign."
Young said that as a result, his client was forced to close its regional office and scale back on employees.
He added that Actyl still has Labour Market Opinions, now called Labour Market Impact Assessments, pending for foreign workers it recruited for McDonald's Canada.
These are the forms employers must fill out to prove the need to hire a foreign worker over a Canadian.
In April, CBC News reported that foreign workers from Belize hired by Actyl claimed the agency made them several promises it did not keep.
Linda West, Actyl's president, later issued a press release rejecting the allegations.
Also on HuffPost:
McDonald's Egypt offers a falafel sandwich that rivals a Big Mac any day. The falafel patties are shaped to look like burgers and drenched in the ever-present secret sauce that seems to pop up everywhere, from Europe to NYC halal carts. After inquiring, I found out the sauce was a not-so-mysterious but delicious tahini-garlic dressing. With the secret reveled, why not whip up some quick, homemade falafel and proceed to drench in sauce?
Bulgogi, literally fire meat in Korean, is a traditional marinated barbecue beef that is simply put, absolute mouth-watering deliciousness. McDonald's put their spin on the Korean favorite by sandwiching two pork patties in a hamburger bun, slathering it with bulgogi sauce, and calling it a day. I'll take two.
McDonald's version of the classic croque monsieur, the Croque McDo is a favorite amongst francophiles. Two slices of Emmental cheese and a slice of ham are squashed between toast and pressed in a sandwich maker, creating a gooey, fondue-like ham and cheese. Why not make it a meal with a beer? Yep, that's right, McDonald's in France offers beer. Even McDonald's in France is better. Damn.
These Middle Eastern favorites are fixtures all over the globe. McDonald's in Israel features barbecued beef on a lafa and pita. Both are served with a small Middle Eastern-style salad. Check out this hilarious McShawarma advertisement inspired by Pulp Fiction.
Fun Fact: India is the only country in the world where McDonald's does not serve beef. That means no Big Mac, and no Quarter Pounder. A moment of silence, if you please. Instead, vegetarian favorites like the McCurry Pan, a rectangular-shaped crust topped with curry, broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms and bell peppers and baked till crisp are common fare. Other favorites include the Chicken Maharaja Mac, Big Spicy Paneer Wrap (which should be the only kind of paneer wrap) and McAloo Tikki. We're all about the carb-on-carb sandwiches.
Recently we've waxed poetic on the virtues of the underexposed Turkish cuisine, and told you about our love affair with Turkey's Wet Burger. Although McDonalds' McTurco and Kofteburger (meatball) don't come close to our beloved Islak burger, we'll choose them over a Big Mac any day. Besides, it's been many moons since any of us were able to make a kofte without stuffing it with mozzarella.
Satay Friday is a sacred holiday here at Food Republic Headquarters. If only we could head down to the McDonalds below our office and pick up a McSatay. We're considering moving operations to Jakarta or maybe Bali for the sake of the food.
It's unfortunate that McDonald's Japan doesn't make one of our favorite Japanese treats, the carb-bomb yakisoba sandwich. I guess we'll have to settle for the creatively-named McPork -- a basic hamburger with a pork instead of beef patty -- and then maybe some green tea and a red bean ice cream sundae, which is not such a bad thing.
Cousin to the Japanese McPork, the Samurai is Thailand's answer to population that leans swine-wise and favors pork to beef any day. Maybe I was Thai in a previous life seeing as though my dedication to all things pork goes as far as wearing a small gold pig around my neck.
McDonalds goes Dutch in the Netherlands with the McKroket, a deep fried roll stuffed with chili. Think deep-fried sloppy joe. Perfect if you happen to find yourself with an increased appetite in Amsterdam.
Our assistant editor, Jess, just got back from reporting for Lufthansa in Nuremburg, Germany where the specialty on a roll is Drei im Weggla, a trio of small, spiced sausages. McDonald's take also includes a sausage trio with a smear of mustard.
The idea of McDonald's serving shellfish makes us a little quesy, but why not give the Canadians a shot with the McLobster -- eh? It may not be up to the standards of lobster purists, but it should tide you over until summer in the Hamptons. Snob.
Traditional Australian hamburgers usually include cheese, beetroot, pineapple, a fried egg (usually with a runny yolk) and bacon. McDonald's down under created a fusion between the classic Americano and the Aussie with their McOz by including beetroot in an otherwise classic Big Mac.
In New Zealand the McOz is taken up a notch by throwing in a fried egg. Voila: the Kiwiburger.
During the holiday season, McDonald's all over the UK offer the traditional British favorite. The savory pies are made with fruit-based mincemeat and classic holiday flavors: cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
In 2010, McDonald's Mexico added the Flaming Hot Doritos Quarter Pounder, basically a quarter pounder souped up with layer of Flaming Hot Doritos and a healthy smear of guacamole. Taco Bell followed suit, and has recently come up with Doritos Tacos Locos. Not a fan? We don't blame you, why not opt for some spicy homemade guac on your burger instead?
The Greek Mac swaps out the original Big Mac's secret sauce and famed sesame seed bun for a pita and yogurt. We can't wait till McDolmas start popping up in Athens locations. I wonder what Yiayia would have to say about that.
McCriollo is Latin America's answer to the Egg McMuffin. Almost exactly the same, the only difference is a beefed-up bun in place of the classic English muffin. We've heard that the homemade variety make women fall macly in love.
In Chile, fries can be subbed with empanadas. The Chileans are onto something, and the Colombians seem to agree.
Spam is often referred to as the "Hawaiian Steak." Not by us, though. McDonald's in Hawaii offers a Spam breakfast in an attempt to offer authentic Hawaiian fare. Try all they want, nothing beats a great loco moco.