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'Enough is enough': Contractor calls out government for inaction of Dutchie’s non-payment


Another person has come forward claiming they were not paid what they were owed by Dutchie’s Fresh Market.

In late 2021, Vamco Inc. signed a contract with Dutchie’s company director Michael Renkema to install the refrigeration system at the new Dutchie’s location on Gateway Drive in Kitchener.

Vamco co-owner David McLaughlin says it’s a job they soon came to regret.

“Within the first two weeks of us starting this job, there was a lot of red flags with Mike,” said McLaughlin.

He said they heard from other businesses that payment might be a challenge.

“We found out through a local supplier that he [Renkema] had a lot of issues paying contractors for other jobs that he had done in the past,” said McLaughlin. “Every time we asked for payment, there was an excuse and those excuses kept growing and growing and growing.”

According to McLaughlin, as soon as the system they built was functional, Renkema opened the store, but McLaughlin said it shouldn’t have opened.

“It [the refrigeration system] was operating, but it wasn't operating as optimal as it should be,” McLaughlin said. “We go through and check all of our systems to make sure that they're operating to the total spec that we design.”

He said Renkema never gave the company opportunity to finish that job because he stopped payment.

Vamco won a court ordered judgment against Dutchie’s for $350,000. To date, McLaughlin said less than $100,00 has been paid. McLaughlin claims many attempts to set up a payment plan have failed.

CTV Kitchener has also obtained public records showing an extensive track record with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour.

Records show Dutchie’s and Michael Renkema has at least 23 Orders to Pay for Employment Standard Act violations.

The cumulative total owing is over $188,000.

The Ministry of Finance has seven Orders to Pay against Dutchie’s and Michael Renkema, totalling $469,000.

In total, there are 16 civil actions filed against Dutchie’s and Michael Renkema in Ontario.

McLaughlin says he is not shocked by the numbers but very frustrated.

“I feel like the lack of enforcement has empowered Mike to continue doing this, and because of that, when is it going to stop?” said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin believes the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Finance and the Ontario Justice System need to act.

“At what point do those agencies step in and say enough is enough?” he asked. “If he doesn't make payment on his debts to all the individuals that have been affected by these judgments, then he has no right to operate a business in Ontario because he's causing more harm than good.”

In a statement Dutchie’s said: “'We are focused on continuing to service our valued customers. We are committed to addressing any issues internally. We have no further comment at this time.”

CTV News reached to the Ministry of Labour who said they could not comment because these issues are before the court. Top Stories

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