Contractor Calls Out Government for Inaction on Dutchie’s Non-Payment

Contractor Calls Out Government for Inaction on Dutchie’s Non-Payment

Vamco Inc. Contractor Demands Action Over Unpaid Dutchie’s Fresh Market Bill

In a recent outcry against inaction, Vamco Inc., a contracting company, has called out the government regarding non-payment issues with Dutchie’s Fresh Market. This comes as another instance of a contractor alleging non-payment by Dutchie’s.

The saga began in late 2021 when Vamco Inc. entered into a contract with Michael Renkema, the company director of Dutchie’s, to install a refrigeration system at the new Dutchie’s location on Gateway Drive in Kitchener. However, what started as a business agreement soon turned sour for Vamco.

David McLaughlin, co-owner of Vamco Inc., expressed regret over their involvement, citing early warning signs. “Within the first two weeks of us starting this job, there were a lot of red flags with Mike,” said McLaughlin. These flags included rumors from other businesses about potential payment challenges.

“We found out through a local supplier that he [Renkema] had a lot of issues paying contractors for other jobs that he had done in the past,” McLaughlin added. The situation worsened as every attempt by Vamco to request payment was met with excuses that continued to escalate over time.

McLaughlin highlighted that despite the functional state of the refrigeration system they installed, it was not optimal. “It [the refrigeration system] was operating, but it wasn’t operating as optimally as it should be,” McLaughlin remarked. He emphasized that Renkema prematurely opened the store without allowing Vamco to complete their work to the required specifications.

As a result of Dutchie’s failure to pay, Vamco pursued legal action and won a court-ordered judgment against Dutchie’s for $350,000. However, McLaughlin revealed that less than $100,000 has been paid to date, with numerous failed attempts to establish a payment plan.

Public records obtained by CTV Kitchener revealed a troubling track record for Dutchie’s and Michael Renkema. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour issued at least 23 Orders to Pay for Employment Standard Act violations, amounting to over $188,000. Additionally, the Ministry of Finance imposed seven Orders to Pay, totaling $469,000. In total, there are 16 civil actions filed against Dutchie’s and Michael Renkema in Ontario.

McLaughlin expressed frustration over the lack of enforcement from regulatory agencies, stating, “I feel like the lack of enforcement has empowered Mike to continue doing this.” He urged the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ontario Justice System to intervene, emphasizing the need for accountability and justice.

“In a statement, Dutchie’s mentioned their focus on customer service and internal issue resolution but declined further comment at this time,” reports CTV News. The Ministry of Labour declined to comment, citing ongoing court proceedings.

McLaughlin concluded by questioning when regulatory agencies would step in decisively. “At what point do those agencies step in and say enough is enough?” he questioned, adding, “If he doesn’t make payment on his debts to all the individuals that have been affected by these judgments, then he has no right to operate a business in Ontario.”

The ongoing saga between Vamco Inc. and Dutchie’s Fresh Market underscores the challenges faced by contractors dealing with non-payment issues and raises broader questions about regulatory oversight and accountability in the business landscape.

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