12/09/2014 06:24 EST | Updated 02/08/2015 05:59 EST

Tim Hortons Temporary Foreign Workers Fear Deportation After Whistle-Blowing


Two whistle-blowers who exposed problems with Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker program are nervously awaiting a government decision on their fate.

Jona and Chris Pineda have applied to stay in Canada with their three children, but may soon be deported to the Philippines after changes they helped to bring to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Their work permits have expired and their current employer won't apply for them to stay under the new program.

"I'm hoping for my family, especially for my kids, to stay here. My kids love Canada," said Chris Pineda, who is from the Philippines. "We want them to live a peaceful life in safety, to have a way better future here."

The Pinedas have a 12-year-old daughter, a 10-year-old son and a six-month-old baby boy who was born in Canada.

Still, they don't regret exposing abuse of foreign workers at the Tim Hortons franchise in Fernie, B.C.

"We feel [it was] worth it that we did it, because it won't stop if we did nothing," said Jona Pineda.

Complaints from the Pinedas and other workers at the Fernie franchise have sparked investigations by the RCMP and Employment Standards Branch at the B.C. Ministry of Labour. The employer lost control of two Tim Hortons locations.

Further investigation by CBC News' Go Public team revealed more wide-spread problems, which prompted a government overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The Pinedas now live in Fort Macleod, Alta. and have found new jobs in the fast-food industry, but their work permits under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program expired in August.

Now, they're waiting for a decision from Citizenship and Immigration Canada for new permits to stay, work and send their kids to to school.

The decision from Citizenship and Immigration Canada is expected in coming days.


Photo gallery Largest Canadian Employers Using Temporary Foreign Workers (2013) See Gallery
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