Philippine Asian News Today Vol 19 No 18 - Page 4

HEADLINE  PHILIPPINE ASIAN NEWS TODAY September 16 - 30, 2017 Philippine restaurant chain Max’s expands presence in Canada The leading casual dining chain in the Philippines, Max’s Group Inc. (MGI), is expanding its business in Canada. There is a new deal to set up a new shop in Winnipeg, the capital city of the province of Manitoba, by next year. “Existing stores are doing well. Customers also include non-Filipino diners,” said MGI investor relations officer Paul Cheah about the restaurant’s presence in Canada. Max’s Restaurant currently operates four stores in Canada. It previously opened restaurants with the help of other partners in Vancouver, Toronto, Scarborough and Edmonton. Max’s is popular for its fried chicken served with banana ketchup. MGI disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange that it had signed a deal with Alibin Group Inc. to bring Max’s Restaurant to Winnipeg. Alibin Group is a privately held Canadian company, comprised of family shareholders and operators, which is into retailing business, food services, accounting, finance and private capital market, architectural and information technology. Winnipeg has been the home of the Alibins, a Filipino-Canadian family, since the early 1990s. “We welcome the opportunity to once again serve distinct flavors of home to our countrymen based in Canada,” said MGI president and chief executive Robert Trota. Trota added: “Our tie-up with Alibin Group will anchor the success of this endeavor. They are equipped with the necessary knowledge and business acumen to foster our shared vision.” The deal is the fifth offshore store development agreement inked by MGI for 2017. MGI is the largest operator in the Philippine casual dining segment. Aside from Max’s Restaurant and Sizzlin’ Steak, MGI’s other brands include Yellow Cab Pizza, Pancake House, Krispy Kreme, Jamba Juice, Max’s Corner Bakery, Teriyaki Boy, Dencio’s, Meranti, Maple, Kabisera, Le Coeur de France, and Singkit. Court certifies suit by Filipino and other temporary workers against Mac’s store chain A B.C. Supreme Court has certified a class-action suit filed by temporary foreign workers against Mac’s Conve- nience Stores and a number of immigration companies in Surrey. The class suit was filed by Filipino and other tempo- rary foreign workers recruited from Dubai. The workers claimed that they paid recruitment fees and were promised jobs in Canada. However, when they ar- rived in Canada, there were no hobs waiting for them. In addition to Mac’s Convenience Stores, the class-action suit was also filed against these immigration firms: Overseas Immigration Services Inc., Overseas Ca- reer and Consulting Services Ltd. (OCCS), and Trident Im- migration Services Ltd. The workers said that they received contracts to work at Mac’s stores in B.C., Alberta, the Northwest Terri- tories, and Saskatchewan. “This is a disturb- ing case of how low income workers spent their life sav- ings to try to find a better life in Canada through a job at Mac’s Convenience Stores but instead found they had lost their money and most had no employment,” said lawyer Carmela Allevato, who represents the workers. Allevato, who is based in Vancouver, said that some of the works went back to Dubai, and some to the Phil- ippines. Lawyer Susanna Quail, who is also helping the mi- grant workers, said there may have been up to 450 workers who were brought to Cana- da. Natalie Drolet, execu- tive director and staff lawyer with West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association, said cases like this send a strong message to employers. The lawsuit has yet to be tried in court. The claims have yet to be proven in trial. The notice of claim was filed by the workers in De- cember 2015. Hundreds of migrant workers claimed they paid more than $8,000 for conve- nience store jobs which didn’t exist. The notice of claim was filed with the B.C. Supreme Court. It alleges that from December 2009 onwards, the workers were recruited in Dubai to work at Mac’s stores in B.C., Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. When the workers ar- rived in Canada, they found the more than 425 jobs they had been contracted did not exist. The immigration firms named in the suit are based in Surrey, B.C. The firms allegedly charged the workers an illegal $8,000 recruitment fee and made them pay their own transportation to Canada. Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, migrant workers are issued a permit linked to the employ- ment contract offered by their new employer. If the worker’s job role, location, or employer chang- es, their work permit becomes invalid. Mac’s Convenience Stores Ltd., which began as Mac’s Milk in 1962, now has about 800 stores across Can- ada. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman is- sued the decision dated Sep- tember 18, 2017 certifying the lawsuit. “Shortly after arriving in Canada, each of the [rep- resentative plaintiffs] learned that there was no job for them at Mac’s,” Silverman wrote in his ruling. The workers allege that as many as 450 people, mostly from from Nepal and the Philippines, had similar experiences when they were recruited by consultants in Dubai. In the decision, Justice WWW.PHILIPPINEASIANNEWSTODAY.COM Silverman wrote that the de- fendants “deny wrongdoing on their own behalf, and deny any responsibility for whatever wrongdoings, if any, that any of the other defendants may have committed”. Mac’s Convenience Stores claimed that it con- tracted with OCCS in 2012 to recruit temporary foreign workers. However, the com- pany said that it did not au- thorize the collection of fees. 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