04/24/2014 09:24 EDT | Updated 06/24/2014 05:59 EDT

Temporary Foreign Worker Program for fast-food sector suspended by Ottawa

Employment Minister Jason Kenny has announced an immediate moratorium on the fast-food industry's access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

In a written statement announcing the suspension, Kenney says "serious concerns" remain following a government investigation of the allegations raised about the program.

The CBC's Go Public has written a series of stories reporting how some franchisees at McDonald's and Tim Hortons were allegedly abusing the program.

As a result, Kenney says, "Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) were suspended and the employers in question were placed on a public blacklist."

"Despite these actions, there remain serious concerns regarding the use of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in the food services sector," Kenney says.

"As a result, I am announcing an immediate moratorium on the food services sector's access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Accordingly, ESDC will not process any new or pending LMO applications related to the food services sector. In addition, any unfilled positions tied to a previously approved LMO will be suspended.

Kenney says the moratorium will remain in effect until his ministry's completion of its ongoing review.