Letter: Dreams fed by dogged determination smashed

Dear Editor,

We moved to Langley almost five years ago with dreams of finding employment and a better life.

Since moving here, my wife has had a challenging time finding suitable work. Due to her epilepsy, education, experience, and moral standards, her options are limited.

So far her attempts at securing employment have been less than savory. She tried working for a cleaning company and found herself having to ride in a car full of smokers – she quit.

She worked in a bake studio with endless possibilities, but under mismanagement and difficult circumstances. She witnessed maggots being swept off of baking trays – she quit.

She finally found a promising opportunity she liked, but had to tell them she would require surgery in the near future – she was laid off.

In January she saw an Internet ad for a job. There’s even an RCMP officer on the front page of the website. We thought it might be a good opportunity. We were wrong.

She was offered a full-time position and was told that she would be paid in cash.  It seemed unusual and was not ideal, but it we decided it was better than nothing, and that it would be temporary until she found something better.

After a few days of work, my wife confronted the owner about the working conditions. Two days later she received an email indicating that she wasn’t needed full-time and would be sent a new schedule. Nothing arrived.

Subsequent attempts to contact the owner failed.

After a few days of no communication she returned to the business to find out what was going on. The owner told her that she wasn’t needed and would be paid for the work she had done.

After many attempts she has still not received payment.

Another woman who recently worked there – who is struggling with cancer – has been owed money for months, and kept returning to work, hoping to eventually be paid, even through Christmas.

She finally followed her colleagues and left. She has still not been fully paid.

My wife has been working with Employment Standards and has since learned that we are not the only ones affected financially by this business.

How does a business keep getting away with this? How does a person like that stay in business? How many people have been affected?

Even though my wife isn’t owed very much, it is yet another brick in the wall of disappointment stacking up against her, and we are now wondering if buying property here was a good idea.

I hug my wife, wipe a tear from her eye, and tell her things will get better – as I always do.

I take a sip of coffee, and look at the smiling RCMP officer on the website.

The coffee tastes bitter.

Richard Christian, Langley

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