Detained racetrack employees working in Canada illegally, using false documents, IRB told
Several workers arrested after a Canada Border Services Agency raid at the Hastings Racecourse early Monday morning appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board Wednesday for admissibility hearings.
58-year-old Javier Angel Olalde was one of the first men to appear Wednesday morning.
Allegations at the hearing stated Olalde came to Canada from Mexico as a visitor in April, but had been working as a groomer at Hastings Racecourse, being paid $1,100 every two weeks in cash.
The board was told Olalde was not in possession of work authorization but had allegedly paid $600 to obtain documents to allow him to work at the track. It was not made clear who Olalde had obtained the documents from.
Workers at Hastings Racecourse are required to be licensed by the province’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.
Olalde had reportedly worked at the track legally in previous years, and had paid $30 for the same documents in years past.
“I don’t think you can claim innocence in this little endeavour of yours,” adjudicator Daphne Shaw Dyck told Olalde who sat with a lawyer and interpreter during the hearing. “You have taken a ridiculous risk on this occasion.”
A hearing for another barn worker, Brandon Carrion Gomez, a minister’s counsel told the hearing a GPEB employee is under investigation in regards to the registration card Carrion Gomez had been working under.
CTV News has reached out to the GPEB for comment, but has not yet heard back.
Witnesses told CTV the Monday morning raid at the track lead to about 24 people being detained. During Olalde’s hearing a minister’s counsel revealed that a total of seven people were arrested.
Carrion Gomez and was released on conditions, pending his removal from Canada. Olalde was also released and will, for now, be living with his son, who is a Canadian resident in Coquitlam, after posting a $1,000 bond.
The remaining workers will appear before the IRB through the rest of the day.