Last week, 600 employees of an Oshawa call centre lost their jobs without pay and without notice.
IQT Solutions abruptly shut down locations in Ontario and Quebec and decided to move operations to Nashville, Tennessee where they had been promised a 1.6 million dollar incentive to create local jobs.
Thestar reported that Labour Minister Charles Sousa contacted the mayor of Nashville and that the city has since rescinded its offer until IQT can prove that it has dealt with any loose ends in Canada.
Recently, IQT has been through some tough times but has yet to file for bankruptcy, so the workers are currently ineligible for Canada’s Wage Earner Protection Program – a federal program that provides assistance for employees of recently bankrupted companies. Sousa has requested that Ottawa make a special exception for these workers, but for anyone living paycheck to paycheck, the processing time of 4 to 6 weeks may be too little too late.
How can the government ensure that IQT abides by Canadian labour laws? Right now, it seems like Nashville will determine that outcome. Unemployed workers who seek legal advice will be able to sue company officers and directors for unpaid wages, but this will hardly amount to what they deserve since it won’t include severance.
With a tattered reputation and barrage of lawsuits awaiting them, it seems unlikely that IQT will surface in Canada again. If Nashville continues to hold out, we may see a stalemate, which will hopefully discourage other companies from absconding for treasures abroad.