TORONTO, Ont. – For some former employees of the now-defunct Hyndman Transport, the monthslong wait for compensation is over.
They started receiving payouts last month under the federal government’s Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP), which provides compensation to individuals whose employer is bankrupt or subject to a receivership.
“This is the reason we pushed so hard for a receivership,” said Andrew J. Hatnay, the lawyer who fought for Hyndman workers’ rights, referring to the appointment in January of KSV Advisory as the receiver.
“Without a receivership and without being able to obtain WEPP payment, employees would have recovered nothing,” Hatnay said.
Hyndman was the Canadian subsidiary of American trucking giant Celadon Group, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy December 9, forcing thousands out of work overnight.
Hatnay, a partner with Koskie Minsky, represented 250 of the 400 Hyndman employees. He has said that they are owed more than $2.3 million.
In a report filed with the Ontario Superior Court on June 24, KSV Advisory said that 365 people had applied for compensation.
“The receiver has been advised that certain former employees have recently started receiving their WEPP payments from Service Canada,” it said.
Ideally, under provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the government would later recover the money from the sale of the assets of the bankrupt entity.
In the case of Hyndman, however, it is doubtful any money would be left after meeting the debt obligations of priority creditors.
“The liquidation analysis reflects that, on a global basis, recoveries are not expected to satisfy the Chapter 11 debtors’ secured obligations,” KSV Advisory said in its report.
It was also not immediately clear how many former employees have received compensation, but an owner-operator who worked for Hyndman said his application was still pending.
“We still have a fading hope (of receiving compensation).”– Former Hyndman owner-operator Ahmed Issa.
“Contractors or owner-operators have yet to see a dime trickle in our accounts,” said Ahmed Issa.
“But we still have a fading hope.”
Hatnay confirmed that all employees who are owed severance will be receiving a payment from WEPP, including some of the owner-operators.
KSV Advisory has completed the sale of most of Hyndman’s assets, including its former headquarters in Ayr, Ont.
The receiver has listed the sale of the remaining property in Wroxeter, Ont., as well as completing the WEPP claims process as its main priorities. Another objective is to determine the validity of a trust claim by owner-operators, it said.
And in early March, hundreds of trucks owned by Hyndman were sold off at a Ritchie Bros. auction in Bolton, Ont.
Overall, Hatnay said, he is happy the way KSV has handled the liquidation process.
“We believe the appointment of a receiver was critical to this process, and has facilitated the payment of WEPP to the terminated employees.”
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