rbcCanada’s largest bank has in recent weeks come under fire for allegedly replacing Canadian workers with foreign hires. The Royal Bank of Canada, commonly known as RBC, denies this assertion.

The controversy began after an RBC employer in Toronto informed the media that he and dozens of his coworkers were being replaced by temporary foreign workers from India. According to the whistleblower, employees were not only fired, but were asked to train their replacements before leaving.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the government department overseeing foreign hiring, is not allowed to grant employers permission to hire abroad if those hires will take jobs held by Canadians. With measures in place to safeguard the rights of Canadian employees, critics have been questioning how such an event transpired, and whether the situation was in fact illegal.

In fact, the foreign workers were not hired directly by RBC, but by an Indian outsourcing firm called iGATE Corp. The organization has a longstanding relationship with RBC, and has provided IT services to the bank since 2005. Its workers are expected to remain in Canada until 2015, after which time the jobs would be relocated overseas.

Specific details over how iGATE received permission to bring in workers has not yet been released. However, ESDC has agreed to launch an investigation into the case to determine its legality as well as to identify how it unfolded.