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Apr 17, 2014

Belizeans recruited to work in Canada say McDonald is modern-day slavery

Belizeans who were recruited to work in Canada are finding out that the jobs are not as lucrative; in fact, some say their experience working at McDonalds is a form of modern-day slavery. Jaime Montero is among the Belizeans that made it to Canada, but he tells an investigative reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that not all that glitters is gold. News Five’s Isani Cayetano traces the recruitment of Belizeans.

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Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Canadian job placement agency Acytl has been busy recruiting Belizeans for work in various cities across the country since April of last year.  The group is quite active in securing entry level employment for young people interested in work within the fast food industry.  Tonight, however, the story is not about Actyl.  According to Jaime Montero, who relocated to Edmonton along with several others last September, McDonald’s Canada is subjecting them to modern-day slavery.

 

Jaime Montero

Jaime Montero, Terminated McDonald’s Employee

“When we arrived at the airport, they had said we already have an apartment for you. So at that point, we already know that we don’t have a choice of where to live and being new to Canada, we don’t know the areas of where to live or where work would be. So that’s another point that we couldn’t even decide. They didn’t even give us a choice to choose where to live. It was too far from work and it was very expensive. It was a little bit or more than half of our pay to be renting in a penthouse suite that they gave us. They said you have to live there. You signed a contract with the apartment building and you have no choice. They said if you didn’t want to live there anymore that you could have moved out and find somewhere else cheaper, but McDonalds would still be deducting the rent from your pay biweekly or monthly and plus you would have to be paying your new apartment that you would be staying. They brought us here and they are this big huge corporation and we felt that we didn’t stand a chance to even voice our opinion to them because they had brought us here so they could just ship us back whenever they wanted to. You work for us now, so we are your owners; it is like that. And we felt like left out, like slaves; they just brought us and threw us on the side and okay, you deal with your life from now on. You are just working for us and that’s it. If you complain, we will just ship you out. I see a lot of Canadian workers. There’s a lot of Canadians trying to find jobs; there is a lot of young people here that would want to find a job as well, but I don’t know what is the deal with McDonalds bringing workers and just mistreating them and just throwing them on the side. I don’t really have words for it, but it’s like a big scam that they were doing in Belize…just hiring a bunch of Belizeans to come to Canada.”

 

In an interview with News Five at the start of operations in Belize, president of the Actyl Group Dr. Linda West said that employment in Canada also provided opportunities for permanent residency and citizenship.

 

Linda West

Dr. Linda West, President, Actyl Group [File: April 9th, 2013]

“Yes, this time we are mostly looking for people to work in McDonalds or Subway. Also fast-food restaurants. We are looking for people under the age of thirty-five; you must have high school (diploma). We prefer them to have some experience as a waiter or waitress or hospitality courses are very good also.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“In terms of the length of time once someone gets out there, they are thinking about the future of settling down; getting Canadian citizenship. How long does these other processes take once they are there?”

 

Dr. Linda West

“Yes it’s a great question. So you work generally for your same employer for two to three years. During that time, frequently you can emigrate to Canada and get your Canadian permanent residency and then your citizenship in five. Ah and that’s the full passport in five. You first go as a temporary foreign worker and if you are not successful then that’s all you get to do; is your two year contract. But the vast majority of people will all be given an opportunity to apply for permanent residency and then citizenship.”

 

Records from three employees show they made eleven dollars an hour working at various McDonald’s locations and the company took two hundred and eighty dollars from their pay for rent, bi-weekly.  Their remaining take-home pay for the same pay periods was roughly three hundred and fifty dollars.  News Five attempted to get comment from Dr. West but our effort was futile. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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18 Responses for “Belizeans recruited to work in Canada say McDonald is modern-day slavery”

  1. the voice says:

    Montero you are just lazy and a trouble maker. Canada should kick your @&& back to Belize. Do you have an idea of how many kids will love to have this oportunity? Thanks to you just f@#%& it up for them. Your rent is very cheap compared to other places. And is not a penthouse is a ordinary apartment. Of course is far from your job. is a big city other wise you will be paying more rent. You think you can do better in Belize? NEVER. The only thing you can get in Belize is NO job and if bad lucky shot. Where in Belize will pay you $22.00 an hour for the type of job you are doing? Looks like they took you out of the bush but the bush cant come out of you.

  2. sickntired says:

    Them foriegn recruiters very slick and razzle dazzle we poor youth. I doubt anybody weh get citizenship so easy. McDonalds da wah chancy organisation too and just want super cheap labour from we people cause none of their own people want to work for them lee bit a money. Belizeans beware. Govt need fi send di labour dept to the Actyl sessions mek them know we watching them and report them to the Canafian embassy if them continue be liad.

  3. kunko joe says:

    $11.00 an hour, $140.00 a week for rent and all the food you can eat sounds good to me. Have you seen the minimum wage in the US and how much were you making in Belize?

  4. Maple Leaf says:

    Tell me Jaime, what restaurant in Belize is going to pay you $20.00 bz an hour? $ 560.00 a month is screaming deal for a penthouse in Canada.

    Saying you are being treated as a slave is an insult to those who truly suffered through it.

    You were terminated…. let me guess,,,, drinking . Stop being bitter…. Canada is a great place to live and work.

  5. man fa college says:

    Where is the labor department of Belize in defending Belizean workers home and abroad?Talk is cheap,and now labor dept. has to discuss this with the Canadian govt.or publish a travel advisory for Belizeans to Canada simple as that.We are all equal regardless of where we are,never forget.

  6. JODY GMEZ says:

    that sound crazy..only some one stupid will take that job there..why dont they hired they own people over there.?? why belizean?? that no sound good at all..then you have to get a hole brunch of shit for just for the job..and still when u get over there you punish.best thing you punish where u live….

  7. Teddy Steinway says:

    Hey Montero. You acting so tough now? You pissed away the best shot you had.
    Life in Canada is hard but yo can make it there if you want to work. Good dental, vision, medical plan. Great apartment in the downtown core close to services like art galleries, libraries, the market etc. instead you find out there’s a clock on the wall and a job to hussle for. Go back home!

  8. DOSOMETHINGGOB says:

    WHEN I SAW THIS ON FACEBOOK AND THE NEWS… I INSTANTLY THOUGHT OF A FRIEND I HAVE THERE… I ASKED HIM… AND HE FELT AFRAID TO TELL ME AT FIRST… BUT EVENTUALLY OVER A CONVO WE HAD.. HE ADMITTED IT… EVERYTHING WAS GREAT… AS THEY STEPPED OFF THE PLANE AND MET THE REP’S THERE THE ATMOSPHERE CHANGED… THE AMOUNT OF RENT THEY PAY IS OVER HALF THERE SALARY AND THEY STILL HAVE TO PAY LIGHT, WATER, GAS, THEIR FOOD, AND TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM WORK… AT THE END OF EVERY BIWEEKLY PAY PERIOD THEY HAVE ABOUT 167.00 TO LIVE ON WHAT SORT OF LIFE IS THIS? THEY WENT THERE TO HELP OUT THERE FAMILIES… NOW THEY ARE BARELY ABLE TO MAKE IT ON THEIR OWN… FALSE PROMISES… IT WAS SOO SAD TO WATCH THIS GUYS EYES FILL WITH TEARS AS HE WAS TELLING ME HOW HARD IT WAS

  9. Ervin M Perez says:

    Here is the scam..

    We owned the apartments. We owned the franchise. Since we will get into trouble if we try to scam Canadians, we need to scam some third worlders (TWs). We will pay them the minimum wage in their right hand for a full days work, but take back at least 2/3rd s from their left hand by having them contract to live in our apartments. So we get a fulls days work for 1/3 the real market cost, plus we generate revenues for our apartments. If they make too much noise, we will just get their work visa revoked and send then back to their TW countries. Too smart. too smart.

    Now where is Immigration Canada in all this?

  10. Cheecky says:

    Give the jobs to the Mexicans. Usually they are willing to work and pool their money together. Seriously, I think Belizeans have a distorted concept on life in other countries. It’s not milk and honey with roads paved with gold (not sure who came up with this tall tale). Whether its McDonalds or any other fast food restaurant, you will be required to work a certain number of hours. They were trying to be convenient by renting a place for you and having it deducted from your check. Makes sense to me. Most places (unless you are staying in a seedy neighborhood) including the US requires you to sign a lease. If you break the lease you can be sued or wages garnished for the lease period. Anyway instead of me trying to explain it’s not milk and honey I will go back to my original comment. Give the jobs to the Mexicans especially the illegal immigrants without criminal records. At least they are willing to work. They are already there and should be contributing to society in a documented form. These Belizeans sound ungrateful at least most of what I read on here about Belizeans and foreigners they are complaining.

  11. CEO says:

    Even though I agree that some improvements can and should be done, life in the US and Canada is not like life in Belize. Everyone has to work and pay rent up north!

  12. PATRIOT says:

    @ the voice: “Where in Belize will pay you $22.00 an hour for the type of job you are doing?” Driving taxi cabs and working in hotels and restaurants are the lowest paid jobs in Canada. Mostly people of Indian origin who are first time comers to Canada are seen in this job!

  13. Been There and Done That says:

    Send the bum Back to Belize and see how long he survives in gangland.
    Back to $3. bz @ hour cleaning the dust of the cans for the chinee man.
    He thought he was going to Canada to take it easy. Many young uneducated Canadians and Americans have 2 jobs to survive. He has it better than many.
    His share of the rent in the apartment is quite reasonable for the huge city he is in..
    Far to work ! Where the hell you think you are ? Some little village or own in Belize. Remember you are no longer the 3rd world failed state of Belize.
    If I was McD I would give him a free ticket back into the middle of George Street.

  14. OriginalWoman says:

    $20 Bz an hour for working in a fast food chain like McDonald’s is great in Belize but not in Canada or the US where the minimum wage is $10 an hour. There is no comparison because the cost of living in those two countries are HIGH. I believe Mr. Montero, I mean as someone already mentioned, why did the Canadians travel all the way to Belize to give jobs away, that their fellow Canadians can also do??? The grass is not always greener on the other side, as it appeared.

  15. OriginalWoman says:

    @ Ervin M Perez, I so agree with you!!

  16. Payton says:

    the minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 not $20 so life is hard in the U.S. and many People have to work two jobs to make so suck it up and get a second job is Canada is the place that you wish to live. $11 a hr. starting out is good its not great but good many people in the U.S. in fast food do not make $11 and a waiter and waitress only make $2 and hr. plus tips so try living on that.

  17. Been There and Done That says:

    He was getting $11 @ hour. More than minimum wage.
    He did not have to pay 1 month rent up front plus 1/2 month rent as security deposit or sign a 1 year lease.
    Possibility to get Permanent Residence after a few years and Canadian Citizenship after a few more (if he stays out of jail, which I doubt is possible for him).
    A Canada Passport is worth more than its weight in Gold as opposed to the Belize Rag Passport which is only good for criminals hiding out in Belize.
    Not a bad deal for an uneducated Belizean

  18. My opinion says:

    I live in America i pay rent of 1800.00 for a 3 bedroom apartment and trust me its no luxury. That excludes light and gas. I still have to pay cable 60.00 internet 50.00 light bill 100.00 gas 25.00. I still no get to the food and Phone bill. I make 3200 a month you do the math, plus i travel 2 1/2 hrs to work and thats one way. I still no put in travel expenses. And there is more. Life is hard we must face it to climb the ladder.

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