'No one was living in the store': Lethbridge Burger King denies findings of health inspection

The owner of a Lethbridge Burger King is “categorically denying” anyone ever slept or lived at his restaurant after Alberta Health Services found evidence that foreign workers had been living or sleeping on the premises.

The franchise was ordered by AHS to remove all mattresses and associated furniture

An AHS inspection document notes it appeared there had been flooding in the basement of the Burger King, and evidence was found of sleeping and living accommodations for foreign workers in another room. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC)

A Lethbridge Burger King is "categorically denying" anyone ever slept or lived at the restaurant after Alberta Health Services found evidence, during an inspection earlier this month that foreign workers were living or sleeping on the premises.

In the executive order dated Jan. 10, the AHS officer reported finding "evidence of sleeping/living accommodations for foreign workers" in a basement room of the Burger King. 

The restaurant was then ordered to remove all mattresses and associated furnishings and to "no longer allow individuals to stay/live/sleep in the restaurant premises," by Jan. 17. 

But Sadiq Noor, owner of Sadiq Holdings Inc.— the company that owns the Burger King franchise — said he's "categorically denying" that anyone ever slept or lived at the fast food restaurant.

"Absolutely no residents were there, zero," he said.

Noor said they had stored some used beds in the basement of the store and that the AHS officer misunderstood and thought someone was sleeping there. He said they've appealed the order.

"We called the gentleman [inspector] and clarified the situation," he said.

The owner of this Lethrbridge Burger King says no one ever lived or slept there. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC)

In a statement from Burger King's corporate office, they said they've spoken to the restaurant owner, who confirmed the "accusations regarding accommodations are not true."

"However, we will continue to ensure compliance with our high operational standards," reads the statement. 

In an emailed statement, AHS said the work was completed as of Wednesday morning, and the order had since been rescinded.

CBC News asked AHS what led to the original conclusion that foreign workers were living and sleeping at the restaurant.

The agency responded that it would not be releasing any further information.

Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees the temporary foreign worker program, said the Lethbridge fast food outlet did not have permission to employ any foreign workers at this time.

However, the agency confirmed that the restaurant did receive approval on March 24, 2016, to hire four foreign workers for one year.

About the Author

Lucie Edwardson

Journalist

Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary. Lucie most recently headed a pop-up bureau in Lethbridge, Alberta. Her experience includes newspaper, online, TV and radio. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson

With files from Carolyn Dunn