By Mark J. McInnis, The Globe and MailWaffle House is an American fast food chain with more than 1,000 restaurants in the United States and Canada.
But it’s also one of Canada’s most famous food destinations.
And in the last few years, the chain has been in a lot of trouble, from being fined for violating federal anti-discrimination rules to having to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars to customers who said they were left without the food they ordered.
In December, the Canadian government ordered the chain to pay $12 million to consumers who say they were not able to get their money’s worth at the chain’s restaurants in Quebec.
The company said it was still appealing the decision, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has now closed its investigation into the matter.
On Friday, the federal government announced it was extending the investigation to include other Canadian food chains.
“This decision by the Federal Court of Canada was based on compelling evidence and evidence that clearly demonstrated that Waffle House failed to act in good faith in this matter,” said the Canadian Competition Bureau.
“This action reflects a decision by a court that is mindful of the need for consumers to be protected and that will continue to be an important element of enforcement.”
Waffle house’s troubles began when a lawsuit was filed in 2006 alleging that Waffles, as the name suggests, were refusing to serve customers with disabilities.
The lawsuit, which was eventually settled out of court, claimed that the chain was denying customers with certain disabilities access to the menu because it didn’t want to “lose customers that Waffles would lose if it lost customers.”
Waffles, however, maintains that it is in compliance with federal regulations, which mandate that restaurants serve customers who meet the eligibility requirements.
According to a statement from the company, the settlement was not made on the basis of any discrimination or disability discrimination and the company has never discriminated against any of its customers.
In 2015, Waffle house received a fine of $14.5 million from the Competition Bureau, and in 2016 it was fined $13 million for failing to follow federal anti-“discriminatory” rules.
In 2017, Waffles paid $16.5 billion to settle a similar case with the U.S. government.
The Canadian government said in a statement that it “will continue to pursue enforcement action against Waffle Houses as a matter of urgency.”