After a number of workers were pulled off Hastings Racecourse by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) last week as part of what the agency said was an ongoing investigation, BC Attorney General David Eby spoke at a press conference on Tuesday in an effort to provide more information on the developing situation.
Eby said an investigation by the CBSA is currently underway, after “an individual reached out to me with concerns about what was happening.”
These concerns, he said, included “the issue of people working without permits.”
Eby said he asked authorities to “look into” these concerns, and upon them doing so, “found there was some merit to the concerns, and that resulted in them bringing the CBSA into the investigation.”
Eby said the CBSA investigation has been underway “since at least January,” and it is still continuing.
According to Darren MacDonald, General Manager at the Hastings Racecourse, the workers escorted off-site were employed by various horse owners, rather than the racecourse or the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.
“These individuals were working in the backstretch under the employment and supervision of various horse owners and trainers,” said MacDonald.
Asked about the connection the person who first expressed their concerns had to the workers who were arrested, Eby was vague in his answer, saying that it was “difficult” for him “to talk about the extent of the investigation, or the number of people involved, because that’s not a definite answer yet.”
However, he noted that so far, “there’s a least one individual who has been identified who is a gaming worker,” but due to the nature of the investigation, Eby said he couldn’t provide any further details.
In the meantime, Eby said that the worker who was identified has been suspended with pay.
With files from Vincent Plana