Saturday, December 3, 2011


this is a rare reported case of an employer fined for employing foreign workers without appropriate authorization. Cases like the one below are rare as CBSA lacks resources to investigate possible complaints, and they generally come to light through a specific individual complaining, who usually has intimate knowledge of the operations.

Freshslice Pizza fined $44,000 for illegal workers
December 2, 2011

Two Freshslice Pizza companies and the owner of two franchise outlets have been fined $44,000 for employing illegal workers.

Photograph by: Google Maps, ...

VANCOUVER — Two Freshslice Pizza companies and the owner of two franchise outlets have been fined $44,000 for employing illegal workers.

The Canada Border Services Agency investigated a tip last March 17 that Freshslice Pizza locations in downtown Vancouver were illegally employing foreign nationals who did not have work permits.

CBSA executed a search warrant at Freshslice Pizza's head office in Vancouver, which revealed documents that led to the charges against Bahman Afshari, the owner of two Freshslice locations at 549 W. Pender St. and 575 Dunsmuir.

Also charged were JM Food Services Ltd. and Fine Edge Enterprise Ltd., both doing business as Freshslice Pizza.

Ray John Russell, the founder of Freshslice, is the director of JM Food Services. Isabella Flores is the director of Fine Edge.

In a previous interview, Russell said he came to Canada from Iran at the age of 20 with $8 in his pocket, learned English, earned a civil engineering degree and started his own construction company in Vancouver.

The Freshslice companies were accused of employing nine foreign nationals without authorization, an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and Afshari was accused of employing four illegal workers.

The companies and Afshari pleaded guilty in Vancouver Provincial Court to seven counts.

Last week, the companies were ordered to pay fines of $8,000 each for four illegal workers for a total of $32,000.

Afshari was earlier sentenced to a fine of $12,000 ($4,000 for each count), one year of probation and 25 hours of community service.

"The enforcement of these cases is critical to maintaining the integrity of our laws," Yvette?Monique Gray, director of the CBSA Pacific Region Enforcement Division, said in a statement Friday.

"These regulations are in place to ensure fairness to Canadian citizens and to those who abide by Canada's employment laws, and we are proud of the Criminal Investigations Division's work in this case."

The CBSA said the foreign workers could face removal from Canada on a one-year exclusion order, meaning they would have to wait a year before they could apply to return to Canada.

CBSA did not reveal the countries of origin of the illegal workers.

The CBSA is responsible for the enforcement of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and conducts investigations when there is evidence or information of possible violations of the Act.

This covers not only criminality, but people who do not comply with terms and conditions imposed if they are foreign workers, students or visitors, CBSA said.

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