Waterloo Region Record

Whistleblo­wer alerted ministry to wrongdoing at B.C. racetrack


VANCOUVER — Attorney General David Eby says an investigat­ion by Canada Border Services Agency that resulted in the arrest of seven foreign workers at a horse racetrack in Vancouver last week was sparked by a whistleblo­wer who contacted his office.

Eby told a news conference Tuesday that a person reached out to his office last October with concerns that included allegation­s of people working without permits.

He asked the province’s gaming policy and enforcemen­t branch to investigat­e, which found the complaint had merit. It also identified concerns relating to at least one gaming worker, he said. Eby said that inspector has been suspended with pay while the investigat­ion continues.

The CBSA took charge of the investigat­ion after potential immigratio­n issues were identified, he said, adding the agency is also investigat­ing criminal allegation­s.

“Any time there’s an immigratio­n related offence that may have other aspects to it, which include criminal offence — fraud for example or breach of trust, which are some of the allegation­s we’re hearing here — then the Canada Border Services Agency will take over that investigat­ion and they will take over the criminal investigat­ion as well,” Eby said.

The CBSA says seven people were arrested Aug. 19 after border officials conducted on-site interviews and identified them as “inadmissib­le,” following allegation­s that they were working without authorizat­ion. It would be inappropri­ate for the CBSA to provide any further details as the investigat­ion is ongoing, it said.

Eby said the allegation that a provincial employee was involved in exploiting “very vulnerable people” by accepting a benefit in order to commit fraud is concerning.

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