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    McDonald’s Canada Response to CBC Go Public Reports

    TORONTO, ON (April 15, 2014) - On April 7 and 14, 2014, the CBC Go Public program reported on the use of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“the Program”) in three franchise-owned restaurants in Western Canada.
     
    McDonald’s Canada was first notified of the initial allegations on April 1, 2014 and immediately investigated them. As a result, we are terminating our relationship with one franchisee who operated three restaurants in Victoria, B.C., initiating a comprehensive review of all company and franchise-owned restaurants across Canada regarding use of the Program and we are working closely with Service Canada to ensure full compliance with all regulations.

    McDonald’s Canada has demonstrated by our response to this issue that we do not tolerate breaches of our policies or behaviours that are inconsistent with our high standards for people management. Our commitment is always to do the right thing and to do it with integrity. We stand behind these values in everything we do and we are doing exactly that in this situation.

    McDonald’s Canada has a longstanding track record of job creation in Canada, for helping launch the careers of young people across our nation and for our significant contributions to communities big and small from coast-to-coast. Our good reputation as an employer and corporate citizen is a point of pride for everyone who works at McDonald’s Canada and we will fearlessly defend our reputation when we believe we are being treated unfairly.

    The CBC Go Public reports are rich in speculation but poor on facts. We believe that Go Public’s reporting deliberately misrepresents the use of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in our restaurants. The information provided in the Go Public reports is presented out of context, relies almost exclusively on former employees as the source and is remarkable in its bias.

    We object to CBC’s Go Public use of hidden cameras to film employees in our restaurants without our approval, followed by the not too subtle innuendo and false claims that these individuals may be taking jobs from Canadians. In doing so, the surreptitiously obtained footage depicts many restaurant employees who are not temporary foreign workers. At McDonald’s, we don’t judge our employees by their ethnicity, nor does an individual’s appearance necessarily show who they are, where they are from or whether they are a temporary foreign worker or domestic employee. This is Canada after all – a country that is built on a mosaic of cultures and any assertion that an undercover video confirms an individual employees’ domestic or foreign status is completely irresponsible. This disgraceful practice has put our employees’ safety and personal welfare at risk. Go Public’s reporting is disrespectful of our employees, our franchisees and our good reputation, which we have built over more than 47 years of operation in Canada.

    The Temporary Foreign Worker Program can be a complex one to navigate. The program has its critics but many industries across Canada rely on it to operate their business and build employment across our country for Canadians. Go Public is very familiar with this Program and, judging on its reporting, very skilled on how to position provocative statements that misrepresent the facts on the ground.

    In response to Go Public and out of respect to all our employees – both Canadian and foreign workers alike -- we will set the record straight about McDonald’s and our commitment to job creation in Canada.

    With regards to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program:
    • McDonald’s employs more than 85,000 people across Canada, only 4% are temporary foreign workers. Only 268 of our more than 1,400 restaurants across the country employ temporary foreign workers. The majority of these workers are located in areas with local market labour shortages.
    • Temporary foreign workers can only be engaged where an employer has proven to the federal government that it is has a genuine local labour shortage. All requests are reviewed and approved by Service Canada. Employers must demonstrate that there are no qualified Canadian candidates first before a foreign worker can be contracted.
    • Temporary foreign workers must be provided both government approved minimum hours and wages. The government specifies that such workers must be paid above market wages to protect Canadian jobs and wages. In some cases the employer is required to provide suitable housing. As a result, temporary foreign workers are truly a last resort for employers who cannot find qualified local candidates.
    • There are significant additional costs associated with recruiting, hiring and employing temporary foreign workers. The Program is expensive and time consuming for employers. On average, the costs of recruiting and employing a temporary foreign worker can be up to five times as much as those for domestic workers. This is why participation in the program is always undertaken as a last resort.

    With regards to specific claims made by CBC Go Public:
    • CBC Claim:
    McDonald’s prefers to hire foreign workers instead of qualified Canadian job applicants.
    • Our Response:
    This is not true. We prefer to hire qualified candidates from the local community. It is always a good business practice, it is the right thing to do and we have a long history of doing just that. Last week we hired approximately 6,000 new domestic employees as part of our 4th annual National Hiring Day.
    • CBC Claim:
    McDonald’s discriminates against local Canadian employees by giving foreign workers better shifts and higher pay.
    • Our Response:
    This is not true. We are responsible to honour all the requirements of contracts made with foreign workers as per government-mandated hours and wages but we do not penalize other workers as a result. Our goal is to maximize employment opportunities for all employees – domestic and foreign workers.
    • CBC Claim:
    Federal rules say an employer can’t pay more to foreign workers or take work away from Canadians.
    • Our Response:
    Federal rules require an employer to honour its contract with a foreign worker in terms of wages and hours. The employer must organize their business around this condition.
    • CBC Claim:
    Foreign workers are preferred because they can be motivated by fear.
    • Our Response:
    This is not true. All our employees are protected by the same employment laws across Canada. We will not tolerate infractions of any kind – intended or unintended -- against any employees.

    Our commitment to Canadian job creation and providing a first job experience to young Canadians is clear. Last week we completed our 4th National Hiring Day event with job offers for approximately 6,000 Canadians at McDonald’s. Since 2011, we have hosted the program we have hired more than 21,000 new employees at our restaurants.

    McDonald’s and its franchisees create employment across our country, contribute to the wellbeing of our communities and provide an important service to Canadians.

    At McDonald’s Canada, we remain proud of our outstanding track record as an employer of choice across Canada. We have always been fully committed to employing Canadians first.

    About McDonald’s Canada
    McDonald’s is the leading foodservice company in the world. McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited and its Canadian franchisees own and operate more than 1,400 restaurants and employ more than 85,000 Canadians coast-to-coast. Approximately 80 per cent of McDonald’s Canadian restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs. For more information about McDonald’s Canada, visit www.mcdonalds.ca or follow us on Twitter (@McD_Canada) and Facebook (Facebook.com/McDonaldscanada) for updates on our business, promotions and menu items.

    For more information, please contact: 
    McDonald’s Media Relations
    1-877-786-3342

@McD_Canada


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