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Timeline of allegations against Dutchie's


In mid-March, a small group of former Dutchie’s Fresh Food Market workers went public with allegations of unpaid work in an exclusive interview with CTV News, setting off a deluge of similar allegations against the Kitchener, Ont. grocer.

The evolving story has also raised questions about the government’s ability to enforce employment laws.

Here’s a timeline of CTV News’ reporting:

March 14: Four former employees come forward claiming Dutchie’s Fresh Mart owes them unpaid wages. All are recent immigrants from Ukraine.

Collectively they allege they’re owed around $16,000.

Four former employees of Dutchie's Fresh Food Market who spoke to CTV News: Alina Melnychuk, Bohdan Savka, Natalia Savka, and Olha Fedoryk. (Heather Senoran/CTV Kitchener)

“It’s not normal. I have family. And I need my salary, my money,” says former employee Natalia Savka.

Dutchie’s company director Michael Renkema says they take the allegations seriously and are committed to addressing them promptly and appropriately.

March 15: More than 10 businesses and vendors tell CTV News they are still owed for goods and services they provided to Dutchie’s, and at least one says they’ve been waiting more than three years to be paid.

March 16: More than a dozen people protest outside Dutchie’s Kitchener location, demanding wages they claim they are still owed.

Former workers stand outside the Dutchie's store in Kitchener. (Chris Thomson/CTV Kitchener)

March 18: CTV News speaks with two more former Dutchie’s employees who say they made complaints to the Ministry of Labour about unpaid wages. While both of their cases were settled, only one was ever paid what he was allegedly owed.

In a subsequent interview, a lawyer explains why the Ministry of Labour can’t force employers to pay worker wages – even though they’re the ones tasked with responding to complaints.

March 28: CTV News obtains public records showing the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour have issued at least 30 orders to pay against Dutchie’s and Renkema.

The cumulative total owing is $657,000.

There are also 16 civil actions against the company in Ontario.

The owner of a refrigeration company who won a court ordered judgement against Dutchie’s for $350,000 says he was never paid in full, and isn’t surprised by the stories he’s heard.

“I feel like the lack of enforcement has empowered Mike [Renkema] to continue doing this,” says David McLaughlin of Vamco Inc. “And because of that, when is it going to stop?”

In a statement, Dutchie’s says: “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.”

April 1: Dutchie’s Gateway Park Drive location briefly appears on the market. An online real estate listing descibes it as  as a “fully-equipped Supermarket for sale.” Top Stories

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