A 100-hour Work Week + No Overtime Pay – The Story of Canadian Temp Workers
Muhammad Umar Naseem always thought Canada would provide him with a fair chance at a better future than his native Pakistan.“I liked Canada. I thought it was more peaceful country than any other countries. Like Canada has rules … better than Pakistan and they are being practiced. That is what I was expecting.”He wasn’t expecting his boss to mislead him about Canadian labour laws and take advantage of him, but he says that’s exactly what happened in his first job here, as a gas station attendant at Petro-Canada in Toronto.
Naseem claims his boss at Petro-Canada forced him to work about 100 hours per week when he was hired in 2009. He made $9.50 per hour, and was paid only his regular wage, instead of the government-mandated overtime rate of time-and-a-half for hours in excess of 44 hours per week, or 8 hours a day.
“At that time I worked 16 hours … 14, 15, 16 every day… not less than that.”
In 2009, Naseem was awarded a masters degree from the University of Windsor in automotive engineering. He ended up at Petro-Canada when he couldn’t find a job in Ontario’s struggling auto sector. Naseem went back to Pakistan after his one-year student work permit expired, and returned to Canada a year later under the Temporary Foreign Worker program. He was promoted to manager and given a raise. But he says things got worse. He claims he was still working 100 hours per week, but now, Naseem says, he was not being paid at all for anything beyond 44 hours per week.
“I was like so confused and so tired. When I saw my paycheque I was literally crying … I worked like 200 some plus hours and I see a paycheque with 88 hours.”
As a temporary worker, Naseem was allowed into Canada on a work permit that only allowed him to work for Petro-Canada. He says his boss, a man named Shoyaib Khan, threatened to fire him if he complained.
Source: Overtime exploitation: One man’s claims of a 100-hour work week, and no overtime pay | Globalnews.ca