An unlicensed employment agency in Alberta has paid back $15,000 in illegal fees it charged to find jobs for foreign workers. Recent changes to Alberta’s Fair Trading Act were designed to curb the exploitation of foreign workers through the charging of fees for finding jobs and require agencies who recruit immigrants for employment in the province to be licensed.
Service Alberta received nine complaints that Josephine Garcia Ramoso, operating as 4 J’s Garcia, collected $15,000 from co-workers and individuals in Edmonton’s Filipino community to recruit their relatives in the Philippines for jobs in Alberta. The workers remained in the Philippines and were never offered jobs.
After an investigation by the provincial government, Ramoso was charged under the Fair Trade Act of operating without a licence. She pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay back the fees she had charged by a court-ordered deadline of Jan. 15. She was also fined a total of $4,500 — $500 for each count — which she has to pay by Sept. 10.
“If employment agencies take advantage of foreign workers, we take it very seriously,” said Service Alberta Minister Heather Klimchuk in a release. “We investigate and take action, and we work hard to get restitution for the workers through the courts. This is a good example of that happening successfully.”
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