A 35-year-old immigrant worker awaits deportation after being arrested in Neepawa for breaking conditions given to him as a result of a criminal conviction for possession of child pornography while in another country.
On Nov. 19, Canadian Border Services Agency officers performed a sting on HyLife Foods in Neepawa, where Ananias Curu was arrested. Curu is wanted in Northern Ireland for breaching conditions set out by the court in relation to a conviction for possession of child pornography.
HyLife Foods senior vice-president and general manager Guy Baudry said that at the time of the arrest, the company was unaware why the CBSA officers were there, but that they fully co-operated with the agency.
"At the time we did ask what it pertained to, but we were not informed of the reasons this individual was being picked up and detained," Baudry said. "When we became aware of the situation we were extremely concerned about what was happening."
According to Baudry, Curu was one of a number of foreign workers that were recruited from Northern Ireland to work at the plant as it ramped up to full production following a major expansion.
In August, chief operating officer Dennis Vielfaure said the company was beginning a "feathering-in process" that included the hiring of 250 new people by the end of 2012, bringing the total number of employees at the plant to about 900.
Curu was one of these employees, beginning work at the hog slaughtering plant in October.
During the recruitment process, according to Baudry, HyLife works with highly trained immigration specialists that put prospective workers through a battery of tests. The tests include one-on-one interviews and background checks.
However, Canadian immigration law doesn’t require criminal record checks from a number of countries.
Curu, who is orignally from Southeast Asia, was recruited in Northern Ireland where a criminal record check isn’t mandatory.
"In this case, this individual came from Northern Ireland and it is a visa-exempt country, which means Canada doesn’t require a criminal record check before the immigrant lands in the country," Baudry said.
While Curu didn’t need a criminal record check, Baudry said that he "misrepresented" himself during the vetting process. Baudry said the company requires all employees to sign an affidavit regarding any criminal activity in their past.
The company has also decided to institute it’s own rules and regulation regarding foreign recruitment.
"We’ve chosen to mature the recruiting process because we are very dependent on foreign recruitment," Baudry said. "We have instituted a process that if we do recruit from a country that may be visa-exempt, we will be doing the criminal record checks as we do with other countries that are not visa-exempt. It’s another way that we can ensure the safety of our employees and the safety of our communities."
HyLife has partnered with both the federal and provincial governments to recruit foreign employees and Baudry said the company will raise concerns with immigration officials.
"We will be sharing what we are now doing as a company with the provincial and federal immigration authorities for them to consider how they treat the rules at a policy level," Baudry said.
According to a CBSA spokesman, Curu attended a 48-hour detention review on Nov. 21 where the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada chose to continue to detain him on the "grounds that Mr. Curu is unlikely to appear for his admissibility hearing."
On Nov. 27, Curu attended an admissibility hearing where "he was issued a deportation order and was again detained on the grounds that he is unlikely to appear for his removal," the spokesman said.
Curu’s next detential review is Dec. 18.
The CBSA removed more than 15,000 individuals from Canada last year.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 10, 2012