BERWICK - Kings County Eassons Transport has been penalized under the federal government‚Äôs temporary foreign workers program.
‚ÄúThe labour market opinion for Eassons Ltd has been suspended since there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the employer or group of employers provided false, misleading or inaccurate information in the context of the request for that opinion,‚ÄĚ a spokesperson from Employment and Social Development Canada‚Äôs media relations office stated in a May 9 email.
According to the Employment and Social Development Canada‚Äôs website section on employer penalties, the company‚Äôs labour market opinion request was suspended May 1. A labour market opinion (LMO) is a required part of the application process for the temporary foreign workers program.
Eassons is being investigated , but there is no indication from the federal government department that the firm has been found guilty of breaking the program's rules.
‚ÄúEmployers who wish to use the program must comply with strict program criteria to ensure that Canadians have first chance at available jobs,‚ÄĚ the government spokesperson said. ‚ÄúAs part of the LMO assessment process, ESDC looks at available labour market information for the region and for the occupation, as well as the efforts made by an employer to recruit or train Canadians or permanent residents."
Should an employer be found to lie on an application after an investigation, there could be criminal sanctions, the department spokesperson said. Breaking the program‚Äôs rules can also lead to employers to ‚Äúhaving their LMOs revoked, being named on a public blacklist, having their ability to hire foreign workers cut off.‚ÄĚ
In 2012, there were 6,780 ‚Äútemporary foreign worker positions on positive labour market opinions‚ÄĚ nationwide in the transportation and warehouse sector. Data from 2013 was not available.
Eassons was founded in Berwick in 1945; the family-owned trucking company has been shifting its operations to the Kentville industrial park.
Calls and emails to Eassons were not returned before press time, but the CBC is reporting the company has used the temporary foreign workers program in the past and plans to co-operate with the federal investigation.