The CBC has learned that two companies — H2 and BH Management — have been placed on notice after being charged with the most serious offence of human trafficking.
H2 is facing three charges: trafficking in persons, labour exploitation, and trafficking in women and children.
The other two companies face two charges each: human trafficking in respect of a person who is a dependent child, and the recruitment of a dependent person.
It is not clear whether the charges relate to specific people, or the recruitment and recruitment of any individual.
H3 is facing two charges: human smuggling and human trafficking under section 13.2 of the Criminal Code.
The other two charges relate only to the recruitment, harbouring or dealing in women.BH Management, which was formed in the 1990s to provide roadside assistance and roadside assistance contract services to provincial governments, was one of two companies that were placed on “notice of investigation” by the provincial Human Trafficking Commissioner on Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear how many of those charges have been made against the two companies.
The commissioner has ordered an investigation into all three companies.
“The commissioner will make a recommendation to the minister of Justice on what steps should be taken,” said CTV News’ Christine Le.
A statement from the commissioner says she is not recommending any criminal charges, but says her office will be looking at the actions of all three parties.
“All three companies are being investigated by the Human Traffickers Division of the Ministry of Justice,” it said.
“As the investigation continues, the public will be able to learn more about these companies and the actions taken by them.”
The commission says it will also be asking the companies to produce documentation on their business practices.
It did not provide further details on the investigation.
“This investigation has been launched in order to identify any other criminal activity that might be occurring that is similar to the alleged activities of the three companies,” the statement said.
A spokesperson for BH did not respond to requests for comment.
In October, CBC News reported that H2 had been investigated for human trafficking by Manitoba’s Human Trafficked Persons Unit (HTPU).
The HTPU, which investigates allegations of human-trafficking offences, has charged five men and one woman in connection with the alleged trafficking of young women in the province.
In January, a spokesperson for the HTPV said the company was “shocked” by news reports of human smuggling allegations.
The company’s head of Human Trafficks Enforcement, Karen McLeod, told CBC News the company is committed to working with the Human Rights Commission and the province to provide a comprehensive and transparent investigation into the alleged human trafficking of the individuals mentioned in the allegations.
The spokesperson said H2 has “actively” cooperated with the HTPs investigation, and has agreed to “do whatever we can to resolve the allegations.”