Canadian government blacklists McDonald's franchise in Victoria, British Columbia, along with two other employers, amid investigation of alleged misuses of Temporary Foreign Worker Program; franchise owner could also face criminal prosecution

OTTAWA , April 9, 2014 () – The federal government has blacklisted a McDonald's franchise in Victoria, along with two other employers, while it investigates alleged misuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney says the owner of the McDonald's franchise could also face criminal prosecution, depending on the outcome of its investigation.

Kenney says if the franchise owner lied in the original application to employ temporary foreign workers, the Canada Border Services Agency could lay charges under the Immigration Act.

The minister says penalties for such a prosecution include up to five years in prison and fines reaching $100,000.

The restaurant owner is alleged to have hired foreign workers in place of Canadians.

McDonald's said it had launched its own investigation of the restaurant and that it was moving to terminate its relationship with the franchisee.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been under increased scrutiny after a series of abuses, including a case last year where the Royal Bank displaced a number of Canadian workers after contracting out IT services to a foreign supplier.

The Harper government has since backtracked on changes it made to the program, including allowing businesses to pay foreign workers up to 15 per cent less than the average wage for a job.

The government also announced earlier this year that it planned to impose hefty penalties by 2015 for employers who abuse the program.

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