Please accept this as an open letter to the people of the Elk Valley, Crowsnest Pass, and especially Fernie. We have a long-standing, personal relationship with the town of Fernie and its residents, including our employees. Kristine was born, raised, and went to school in Fernie and Pierre has lived here for over 34 years and also went to school here. We’ve both worked for local restaurants, small businesses, and the coal mines for over 15 years, earning honest wages to build a life and family and, eventually, invest in and own our own small business.
We have many close friends and family here and affiliations with different local groups, charities, and volunteer organizations. We are actively involved in many community events and our children’s schools. At this time, we would like to express how extremely saddened and shocked we are at this recent turn of events and want to set the record straight with our local community.
As you know, we employ Temporary Foreign Workers as part of our restaurant team because of the significant shortage of food service workers in the area. Fernie, along with many other communities, has been in a critical labour shortage for many years. Having the Temporary Foreign Worker Program available to us has not only allowed us to keep our doors open, serve our community, and maintain our hours of operation and therefore, jobs for our other employees, but also to protect our family’s future. We are real people, local Fernie-ites who, like everyone, work hard to make a living.
Our Temporary Foreign Workers are valued members of our business and community. Some have moved on to other jobs and cities, and some have brought families to our area with our assistance. And we as employers have been proud to get to know and trust them on a personal and professional level, attending weddings, births, birthdays, parties, and just about anything else you do with someone you call a friend.
We feel it’s very important to set the record straight on our support of Temporary Foreign Workers and mention that not only have we provided jobs for these team members, but have also given assistance by providing vehicles, bikes, furniture, laptops, groceries and clothing to help get them started. We’ve also written letters of confidence to the government so they could return after they went home to visit families. ALL of our team members are important to us and we help out whomever we can, however we can.
At this time, we want to assure everyone that we are dealing with these allegations as they unfold, and are fully cooperating and complying with the B.C. Employment Standards Board. We intend to respect the process and are not in a position to comment publicly on employment issues or matters relating to the investigation. We want people to know that we have always sought to maintain and run our business with integrity. We have always worked hard to maintain high standards in our business practices, as we have in our community. You all know the many local charities, children’s events, sports teams and community events that we take part in and support. And many of you know us on a personal level and know our character.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the overwhelming outpouring of support: the calls, texts, emails and words of encouragement. We will do our best to get through this with courage and dignity. At this time, we respectfully request your patience while we try to deal with this through the proper channels.
Thank you for your continued support,
Pierre and Kristine Pelletier