AB companies racked up $11.65 M in worker backpay

Between May 2013 and May 2015, Alberta Employment Standards filed judgements against over 1,200 companies, who collectively owed about $11.65 million to workers in unpaid vacation, overtime, holiday pay, wages, and termination pay.

I recently came across a page on the Alberta Employment Standards website called “Unsatisfied Judgments”.

The page displays information regarding Alberta employers that have Employment Standards judgments registered against them.

These judgements include such things as not paying workers vacation pay, holiday pay, or overtime, or paying them less than what was owed. It also includes withholding wages from workers, as well as termination pay.

I decided to extract the data, clean it up, then do a bit of comparison. If you’d like to see all the data I compiled, visit my Google Sheets document.

The data goes back only a decade, but because I accessed it this past May, the data spans from May 2013 to May 2023. If you visited the AES website now, the data would run from July 2013 to July 2023.

To start, there were 57 companies who received a collective 87 judgements between January 2022 and December 2022. Combined, they owed their workers $422,237.18.

Of those 57 companies, 13 of them owed $10,000 or more to their workers.

The most a single company owed its workers was over $84,000, which was for unpaid wages, overtime, and vacation pay. That honour lies with the luxury chocolate maker Choklat Inc, which is based out of Calgary.

Choklat also took top spot for the number of judgements they received. They received 7 judgements last year, something no other company was able to do.

However, because they received so many judgements, it actually brings their the average judgement per worker down. At $12,017.74 owed, on average, per worker, they were actually in 4th place.

The highest average owed per worker went to Edmonton-based DJ Leelan Trucking Ltd., which had a single judgement of $39,096.50, which they owed in vacation pay, general holiday pay, wages, and overtime.

Here’s a look at the top 10 employers who received a judgement in 2022, based on the total amount they owed their workers.

Choklat Inc.Calgary$84,124.207$12,017.74
D.J. Leelan Trucking Ltd.Edmonton$39,096.501$39,096.50
Momentum Offsite Ltd.Aldersyde$25,941.211$25,941.21
Learn Play and Beyond Inc.Edmonton$21,592.394$5,398.10
Security Service Group Inc.Calgary$21,457.152$10,728.58
Edward N Hayward*Red Deer County$20,374.921$20,374.92
Dynasty Construction Ltd.Airdrie$16,184.725$3,236.94
X-Calibur Pipeline and Utility Location Inc.Sylvan Lake$12,439.453$4,146.48
X2 Wireline Services Ltd.Airdrie & Okotoks$12,066.043$4,022.01
Brar Ji Auto & Diesel Repair Ltd.Calgary$11,718.001$11,718.00
*Edward N. Hayward also operated as H&E Logging and Haylands Equipment.

And here are the top 10 by number of judgements:

Choklat Inc.Calgary$84,124.207$12,017.74
Unli Snow Plough Corp.Calgary$6,002.265$1,200.45
Dynasty Construction Ltd.Airdrie$16,184.725$3,236.94
Learn Play and Beyond Inc.Edmonton$21,592.394$5,398.10
X2 Wireline Services Ltd.Airdrie & Okotoks$12,066.043$4,022.01
X-Calibur Pipeline And Utility Location Inc.Sylvan Lake$12,439.453$4,146.48
Hosne Tanzima Inc.*Calgary$4,757.883$1,585.96
William Brandon Goronuk**Edmonton$1,687.982$843.99
Security Service Group Inc.Calgary$21,457.152$10,728.58
Same-Day Yardscapes Inc.Calgary$3,580.712$1,790.36
*Hosne Tanzima Inc. also operated as Funflex Playcare.
**William Brandon Goronuk also operated as WBG Construction & Renovation.

And finally, the top 10 for average amount owed:

D.J. Leelan Trucking Ltd.Edmonton$39,096.501$39,096.50
Momentum Offsite Ltd.Aldersyde$25,941.211$25,941.21
Edward N HaywardRed Deer County$20,374.921$20,374.92
Choklat Inc.Calgary$84,124.207$12,017.74
Brar Ji Auto & Diesel Repair Ltd.Calgary$11,718.001$11,718.00
Secure Resources Inc.Wetaskiwin$11,317.311$11,317.31
James Tom Postrasija*Unspecified$10,768.071$10,768.07
Security Service Group Inc.Calgary$21,457.152$10,728.58
Arvic Search Services Inc.Calgary$8,106.131$8,106.13
VR Life Corp.**Unspecified$6,412.341$6,412.34
*James Tom Postrasija also operated as Ignite Online Technologies.
**VR Life Corp. also operated as VR Life Arcade.

Now, let’s take a look at how 2022 compared to previous years.

We’ll start with the total number of companies with judgements each year.

Interesting that the number of companies receiving unspecified judgements has dropped significantly over the last 4 years, with last year being roughly a third of what it was in 2018.

I wonder why after trending upwards for 6 years, the numbers reversed under the United Conservative Party.

Let’s look at the total amount of those judgements now in each year.

Here we see another drop in the total number, but the decline didn’t begin until 2020. This time, however, last year’s numbers were roughly only a quarter of what they were in 2019.

Next, on to total value of the judgements.

Once again, another trend reversal beginning in 2019. We dropped from nearly $1.9 million in total being owed to Alberta workers in 2018 to less than half a million dollars last year.

Finally, let’s check out the average judgement value per year.

No downward trend this time. Under the UCP, we saw a significant drop in the first year, followed by two years of pretty big increases and another drop last year.

Now, if you think Choklat Inc.’s numbers were shocking, would you believe that over the last decade, they actually had only the 18th highest amount in total unsatisfied judgements.

Here are the top 20 companies, based on the total amount in unsatisfied judgements over the last judgements.

The McBean Group Ltd.Calgary2018$709,294.852$354,647.43
Nome Productions, Inc.*Calgary2013$623,866.1092$6,781.15
Coil Works Inc.Castor2016$267,618.0216$16,726.13
Highway Rock Products Ltd.Calgary2015$232,659.0627$8,617.00
Addiction Canada Ltd.**Glendon, Sundre, & Clearwater County2016–18$203,636.9739$5,221.46
Boschman Construction Ltd.***Gibbons & Calgary2015– 16$193,918.5824$8,079.94
Neilma’s Janitorial Services Inc.Edmonton2015$177,054.9718$9,836.39
Thomson Cabinets (2016) Ltd.Red Deer2020$172,000.4618$9,555.58
Innovate Building Systems Inc.Edmonton2015$157,172.2550$3,143.45
Wax Partnership Inc.Calgary2020$147,033.249$16,337.03
New Kanata AcademyCalgary2015$143,569.3911$13,051.76
X-Site Energy Services Ltd.Red Deer2020–21$135,793.113$45,264.37
Single Source Asphalt Paving and Concrete Construction Inc.Nisku2018$131,388.2614$9,384.88
Citation Growth Corp.****Unspecified2020$109,493.631$109,493.63
JackTek Systems Inc.Acheson2021$108,185.001$108,185.00
The Beautiful Group Salons (Canada), Ltd.Calgary, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, Sherwood Park2020$96,266.5633$2,917.17
Superpro Painting Systems of Edmonton (2016) Ltd.Edmonton2018–19$92,506.3017$5,441.55
Choklat Inc.Calgary2020, 2022$88,305.7314$6,307.55
Blowertech Ltd.Edmonton2015$86,340.309$9,593.37
Sixth Sigma Engineering Inc.Calgary2018$84,430.502$42,215.25
B. Kennedy Architecture Inc.Edmonton2019$79,737.167$11,391.02
*Nome Productions, Inc. also operated as Race To Save Nome.
**Addiction Canada Ltd. also operated as Vita Novus, Inc.
***Boschman Construction Ltd. also operated as 1734561 Alberta Ltd.
****Citation Growth Corp. later became Fiore Cannabis Ltd.

Between May 2013 and May 2023, 1,201 Alberta companies received 2,513 unsatisfied judgements, adding up to a combined total of $11,647,338.60, for an average of $4,523.24 per judgement.

Keep in mind that the judgement amounts may not actually be the amount the employer was supposed to pay their workers. It’s the amount AES has decided they must pay the workers. The amounts could end up being the same, but they may not be.

The data also doesn’t specify how many workers were affected by these judgements.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

4 replies on “AB companies racked up $11.65 M in worker backpay”

Is there a specific reason that the money owed is still outstanding? Surely they’re not all bankrupt?

They’re just refusing to pay, & hoping the whole thing will go away. Unfortunately that works too often.

That is so sad, but true. They’re hurting the people that worked so hard for them. I guess they have no conscience. Unbelievable!!!!

If you Google most of them, they’re bankrupt. I don’t know why the author didn’t talk about why they’re not paying at all.

I think they’re trying to imply this is companies refusing to pay their workers, when in reality it’s mostly companies going bankrupt and their workers being some of the many creditors, being owed things like banked vacation pay, etc.

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