Filipino couple Chris and Jona Pineda, who joined other temporary foreign workers who expressed dissatisfaction from Canadian employer Pierre Pelletier, were spared from their then nearing deportation.
Pelletier was a Tim Hortons employer based in British Columbia, who allegedly cheated on his employees’ overtime pays and threatened them of deportation. His workers then filed human rights infringement charges against him.
The Pineda’s, two of the mistreated employees, worried as their work permits were nearing expirations. On their last work week, they applied for temporary resident visas but to no assurance.
“Sobrang na-stress napo kami noong mga time na ‘yon dahil konting panahon na lang e kailangan na naming magdecide kung uuwi po. Wala po talaga kaming choice noon kung ano pong gagawin,” Mrs. Pineda recalled.
(We were greatly stressed during those times because we only had limited time to decide if we will go home. We really did not have a choice then on what to do.)
After the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigated the complaint, Pelletier was forced to surrender his two franchises in Fernie and Blairmore, Alta.
Fortunately, the Pineda’s applications were approved and together with their children, they were permitted to stay in Canada for two more years, with medical benefits.
“Sobra pong relief talaga na nabigyan kami ng chance to stay pa for two more years. Napakalaki po talagang difference po lalo na sobrang saya ng mga anak ko dahil alam nilang magse-stay kami,” Mrs. Pineda said.
(It is really a relief that we were given the chance to stay for two more years. It really made a difference especially since my children are overjoyed because they know that we will be staying.)
“Lahat ng mga anak ko nagsasabi na huwag po tayong umuwi, mag-stay tayo dito. Sila po talaga yung naging inspirasyon ko para mag-stay talaga dito, lumaban,” she added.
(All my children are saying, ‘Let’s not go home; let’s stay here.’ They are my inspiration to stay here, to fight.)
By 2017, the Pineda’s will be allowed to apply for permanent residency. The couple encouraged other temporary workers not to lose hope.
“Kung gusto mo po talaga ma-achieve po yung gusto niyo po, talagang matupad yung dreams niyo, para sa family niyo po, keep on praying po. Keep your faith,” she added.
(If you really want to achieve what you want, [if you really want] your dreams to materialize, for your family, keep on praying. Keep your faith.)