Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

A Burger King franchise was issued a public health order because Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers were sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant.

Burger King said in an emailed statement that it had spoken with the independent owner of the location.

“He has confirmed that the accusations regarding accommodations are not true,” said the company. “However, we will continue to ensure compliance with our high operational standards.”

The Alberta Health Services order, dated Jan. 10, said the inspection found evidence of “sleeping/living accommodations for foreign workers.”

Related: B.C. company struggling to find employees

It said allowing sleeping or living accommodations in a restaurant is a health code violation. Food-handling services must be separated from living quarters and other areas that may be ”incompatible with the safe and sanitary handling of food.”

The restaurant had until Wednesday to remove all mattresses and furniture and ensure people were no longer living or sleeping there. It was also ordered to clean up a basement room flooded by a busted pipe, as well as a storage room full of unused equipment.

Related: Foreign workers say they paid thousands for B.C. jobs that didn’t exist

Alberta Health Services said Wednesday afternoon that the restaurant had done the work and the order was rescinded.

A spokeswoman with Lethbridge police said officers were not investigating possible charges.

Last year, the owners of an Econo Lodge in Red Deer, Alta., were sentenced and fined for exploiting foreign workers. Court heard they housed up to four workers in the same room and charged each $400 per month in rent.

— With files from J.W. Schnarr of The Lethbridge Herald

The Canadian Press

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