Alberta job agency charged for collecting illegal fees from workers

Employment agencies cannot operate in Alberta without a licence or charge for job search services
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 12/10/2009

The Alberta government has charged an employment agency for collecting thousands of dollars in fees to place foreign workers in fast-food jobs in Calgary and for operating without a provincial licence.

“Alberta’s rules against recruitment fees prevent employment agencies from taking advantage of workers,” said Service Alberta Minister Heather Klimchuk. “These fees can be a financial hardship for people working to improve their situation or to provide money for their families.”

In 2007, Jose F. Garcia, operating as J.F. Garcia Manpower Services, allegedly charged two workers from the Philippines $6,000 each to find them positions at fast-food restaurants in Calgary. He allegedly collected $1,500 up front from each worker then demanded the remainder as a portion of their wages. The restaurant owners contacted Service Alberta when they became aware of the arrangement.

During the course of the investigation, Service Alberta issued a Director’s Order to Garcia in July 2008 requiring that he stop collecting fees and cease operating until he obtained a licence for his business.

Garcia is charged under the Fair Trading Act and the Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation. He faces two counts for charging fees to find jobs for workers, which is prohibited under the regulation, and two counts for operating an employment agency without a provincial licence. His first court appearance on these charges is scheduled for Jan. 28, 2010, in Calgary.

The Fair Trading Act provides a maximum penalty of $100,000 and up to two years in jail, or both. More information about the rules for employment agencies can be found on Service Alberta’s website at www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/1016.cfm.

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