Work­ers feared de­por­ta­tion

Cape Breton Post - - PROVINCE -

Four emo­tional Filipino work­ers told a Nova Sco­tia court Thurs­day they worked long hours for lit­tle pay, fear­ing they might be de­ported if they ob­jected to the de­mands of a Hal­i­fax busi­ness­man.

Hec­tor Man­tolino pleaded guilty last De­cem­ber to mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion un­der pro­vi­sions of the Im­mi­gra­tion and Refugee

Pro­tec­tion Act which pro­hibit pro­vid­ing “false or mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion’’ to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

One of the for­eign work­ers, Joan Bor­romeo, says Man­tolino paid him less than an agreed hourly rate of $9.20 at his prop­erty clean­ing ser­vice and charged him var­i­ous work per­mit fees in­clud­ing $2,500 for an ap­pli­ca­tion for per­ma­nent res­i­dence and a $1,000 bond that Man­tolino said would be paid back, but wasn’t.

The 38-year-old Bor­romeo says in a vic­tim im­pact state­ment that as a re­sult both he and his wife strug­gled fi­nan­cially and be­came emo­tion­ally “stressed and de­pressed.’’

Ac­cord­ing to a joint state­ment of facts, Man­tolino gave 28 work­ers con­tracts stip­u­lat­ing a rate of pay that he knew wouldn’t be paid to them, and know­ingly paid each worker less than the stated pay on their con­tracts and work per­mit ap­pli­ca­tions.

The to­tal dif­fer­ence be­tween the stated amounts and the amounts ac­tu­ally paid to the work­ers is “no less than $500,000,’’ ac­cord­ing to the court doc­u­ment.

Fi­nal sub­mis­sions were sup­posed to be sub­mit­ted by the fed­eral Crown and de­fence on Wed­nes­day.

How­ever Nova Sco­tia Supreme Court Jus­tice Glen McDougall granted an ad­journ­ment after one of Man­tolino’s lawyers, Lee Co­hen, was un­able to at­tend court after a devel­op­ment with a case he is also work­ing on in Char­lot­te­town.

The sen­tenc­ing hear­ing is sched­uled to re­sume Jan. 4.

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