The federal government has revoked or suspended three employers' permits to hire workers through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

CBC's Go Public reported Sunday on the suspension of all pending foreign worker permits for three McDonald’s locations in Victoria that are owned by franchisee Glen Bishop, pending the outcome of an investigation. Bishop would not address the complaints, but told CBC News he had "nothing to hide."

The names of Bishop's company and two other businesses were posted Sunday on Employment and Social Development Canada's website as having "broken the rules or been suspended from the Temporary Foreign Worker program."

In a written statement issued Sunday evening, Employment Minister Jason Kenney said the government "will not tolerate any abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Any employer found to have broken the rules will face serious consequences.

"Our message to employers is clear and unequivocal: Canadians must always be first in line for available jobs."

The government has also temporarily suspended permits for 59077 Newfoundland and Labrador Limited, owner of Jungle Jim's Restaurant, Greco Pizza and Captain Sub in Labrador City, N.L., while The Boathouse Restaurant in Fenelon Falls, Ont., had its permits permanently revoked.

The notice said the Labrador permits were suspended because the government had "reasonable grounds" to suspect that the employers provided "false, misleading or inaccurate information."

CBC News reported in January that the Canada Border Services Agency was looking into allegations that more than two dozen foreign workers were housed in one Labrador City split-level residence, in violation of their employer’s agreement with the federal government.

Four former employees of Jungle Jim’s restaurant and Greco Pizza told CBC News that 26 foreign workers shared the home for months. The owners of the restaurants denied the claims.

ESDC said the business in Fenelon Falls saw its access to the program revoked because it found it "provided false, misleading or inaccurate information."

Foreign worker rules tightened

The federal government brought in legislation last month in its budget implementation bill that would allow it to impose heavy penalties on businesses that abuse the TFW Program.

It also implemented a series of new rules on Dec. 31. Those measures include:

  • A two-year ban for employers who are found to break the rules, with their name and address placed on a public "blacklist."
  • The ability to review employer compliance for up to six years from the first day of employment of a temporary foreign worker.
  • On-site workplace visits at any time without a warrant, except in the case of private dwellings.
  • The power to revoke or suspend work permits already issued in some cases. This applies to all those issued after the end of 2013.