Quebec, Ontario government officials meet with laid-off IQT Solutions workers

Published on July 18, 2011

QUEBEC - Quebec's labour standards board is investigating the sudden shutdown of call centres operated by U.S.-based IQT Solutions, which threw hundreds of workers out of their jobs without their final paycheque.

About 600 employees in Oshawa, Ont., and 600 more in Laval and Trois-Rivieres, Que., were told without warning to gather their personal belongings and leave the premises Friday.

The Quebec board could pursue legal action against the U.S.-based company for not paying workers their outstanding wages and other money owed under Quebec laws on layoffs.

Labour laws generally require employers to give two weeks' notice of a layoff and a minimum of four per cent of salary earned in the last year, generally considered vacation pay.

Officials from the Quebec and Ontario governments are meeting with reeling workers to discuss retraining and other options available to them.

Quebec Labour Minister Lise Theriault and Employment Minister Julie Boulet met with 140 workers at the IQT operation in Trois-Rivieres on Monday.

Danielle St-Amand, a Liberal member of the legislature for the Trois-Rivieres region, said the government is looking at its legal options.

She said foreign entrepreneurs who set up in Quebec have to respect their obligations.

IQT Solutions provides customer service, sales and technical support services to companies in North America and Europe. It had operated three centres in Canada before Friday.

The U.S. company is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., where it announced in June it would bring 900 jobs during the next five years.

A spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Labour said employment standards officers were also meeting with laid-off workers at the firm's centre in Oshawa to determine the company's status and the overall impact of the job cuts.

The dismissed employees described the centre closings as savage.

The Trois-Rivieres centre was setting up a union before the closure.