Unifor Bites Back!


When an employee was wrongfully dismissed, it took the combined pressure of NDP MP Andrew Cash, Unifor Local 1996-O President Sam Snyders and some tough questions from a Toronto Star reporter to correct the injustice.

As an applicant to the Canadian Immigration & Citizenship Visa Extension Process, the Bell Technical Solutions worker had provided all required documentation and was awaiting review. While this process can take over a 100 days, a worker can continue to legally work with what is known as an implied status of eligibility, during that time.

Yet the company, BTS, terminated the worker alleging that he didn’t meet requirements to legally work in Canada, which was patently false. Although the union provided numerous routes to confirm the worker’s legal status with the Citizen and Immigration Canada, the company stated it was “not their job” to call and confirm but instead required written documentation – documentation that the CIC does not currently provide to mail-in applicants.

“When a worker follows the rules at every step of the way it is wrong and completely unfair that a government department would be unwilling to send a simple email confirming the facts,” – NDP Member of Parliament, Andrew Cash.

The Toronto Star began looking into the case after speaking with the worker, Unifor and Andrew Cash. BTS then changed their tune and promised to re-instate the worker with full back pay for the time he was unfairly dismissed.

The disappointing fact remains…it required action from Unifor, the media and a Member of Parliament to convince a national employer like Bell Canada to reverse their decision to unfairly dismiss a worker.

“For this worker justice prevailed, I worry for others who don’t have the strength of a union to help them,” – Unifor Local 1996-O President, Sam Snyders.