A Filipino businessman in HALIFAX was sentenced to a two-year prison term following an immigration fraud case filed against him. Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Glen McDougall handed down the decision to Hector Mantolino, who exploited Filipino workers with promises of a good life in Canada.
McDougall has warned employers who bring temporary foreign workers to Canada not to follow the footsteps of the guilty businessman. He further noted, “The temporary foreign workers program should not be used as a license to attract more foreigners to work in Canada and eventually exploit them to work abuses. This is not what Canada is about. This is not what Canadians stand for.”
Below Minimum Wages
Over a number of years, Mantolino brought 28 workers to Canada directly from the Philippines using certain provisions under the foreign worker program. He manages several cleaning and maintenance firms to bring in workers and pay them below the minimum wage.
Mantolino pleaded guilty for fraudulent acts of misrepresentation under provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in December 2017. According to an official court document, Mantolino paid his recruits at least $500,000 less than the total reported wages. In exchange for fees, the Filipino recruits were promised to receive a decent Canadian wage but were only paid as low as $3.10 per hour, minus all the required reductions.
In June 2013, Mantolino was charged with 56 counts of immigration fraud all were rolled into a single arraignment, following an investigation conducted by the Canada Border Services Department. He was alleged to have told the workers to lie about their actual salaries if they would want to stay in Canada and remain employed.
McDougall considered the weight of the aggravating circumstances that led to Mantolino’s conviction. These circumstances include the time duration the non-payment scheme was in place and the amount of effort the offender exerted to avoid detection. On top of this, the judge also noted the vulnerability of people who were emotionally and physically exploited by Mantolino.
Jason Sta. Juana Jr., one of the complainants, applauded the judge’s decision, hoping the case would send a stern warning against abusive employers. Mr. Mantolino used his position to abuse the 28 temporary foreign workers with his offer of a low salary. His company can offer services at a low price than competitors at the expense of his workers
McDougall expressed his disappointment over Mantolino, pointed out that the businessman himself is a long-time immigrant in Canada. He added that there were more than 300,000 temporary foreign workers in Canada with more to come soon and they should be protected against exploitation within the bounds of the law.
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