Three entrepreneurs brought 178 illegal workers to Quebec

Three contractors who made $2.3 million by bringing 178 illegal workers to Quebec to clean hotels there have been sentenced to a year in prison for serving in the community.

In June 2019, the Border Services Agency arrested eight illegal workers at a Quebec City hotel as part of the Calmar project. Investigations eventually led to the arrest of three Colombians who had illegally employed 178 citizens, mostly Mexican, as domestic helpers at 32 hotels in Quebec City, Chicoutimi, Montmagny and Baie-Saint-Paul.

Didier Alirio Rubiano Montoya, 48, and brothers Jorge Alexander and Josimar Pena Mendoza, 46 and 35, were subsequently arrested under the Immigration Act. They had developed “a well-coordinated plan” to invite their workers who were purporting to visit Québec City.

However, once they arrived, the three acolytes tended to them and quickly began their household chores. “The defendants took over the entire employment relationship. Hired, assigned work, scheduled, transportation provided and paid for,” said Judge Steve Magnan.

Below minimum wage

Paid in cash to minimize the traceability of the defendants’ businesses, the workers were paid below minimum wage. “The actions of the defendants placed the foreigners in a situation of vulnerability and illegality, forcing them to live in hiding,” the judge explained.

While exploiting the 178 workers, the three Colombians earned $2.3 million between June 2018 and July 2019. The three men, all well integrated into Quebec society, work in the automotive sector, in bakeries or confectioneries. They received a one-year prison sentence, which they had to serve at home other than working.

They must do 180 hours of community service while under house arrest. It was not specified what fate was reserved for the 178 foreigners who came here to find work.

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