"Day of Action" planned at Windsor Tim Hortons

Erika Holt
January 12, 2018

Even worse, she says, was the news that employees like her, who had been earning slightly over the old minimum wage after years on the job, would earn $14 - the same wage as a newly hired staff member.

Tim Hortons has been under scrutiny this month since a Cobourg, Ont., franchise eliminated paid breaks after Ontario increased the minimum wage.

That came as Ontario's minimum wage jumped to $14 per hour on January 1, from $11.60 beforehand.

The Ottawa labour council has also established a "minimum wage bully hotline".

The government justifies this increase by referencing the multiplier effect. Companies have predicted job losses and price increases, along with selling or relocating their businesses.

It was on the first of October previous year that the minimum wage in Newfoundland and Labrador increased by 25 cents to $11.00 per hour. If he owned a smaller business, he added, he would consider closing.

The small Scarborough Tim Hortons was named last week as one whose owner announced an end to paid meal and coffee breaks. Shorter term employees will have to pay 75 percent of the cost of these benefits if they wish to continue to receive them. We are also aware that pricing structures are set at the corporate level, and that the parent organization, RBI, has the means and methods to ensure that franchise operators respect the law and follow policies and procedures set forth by the parent corporation. Great White North has more than 60 per cent of all franchisees in its membership and stands by all franchisees, regardless of whether they are members or not, said Patricia Jameson, a spokeswoman for the association, in an email.

Still, the Ontario Hortons franchisees' foray from retail coffee and donuts into retail politics was so egregiously ham handed, and Premier Wynn's response to it so defiantly pitch flawless, that the damage they've done to whatever objectives they'd hoped to achieve is probably irreparable - which, from the perspective of making Canada a better country for its citizens, is a good thing. Is the situation brewing at the Tim Hortons cafes a sign of things to come?

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Premier Kathleen Wynne and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn are riled up over businesses that thwart the "spirit" of new labour laws or worse.

Labour lawyer Muneeza Sheikh says it's easy for businesses to re-assess their bottom line and opt to pay more senior employees the same as newer hires.

The main problem with the actions of both the franchisees and the company is how it is being played out politically.

The parallels in these two mistakes are blatantly obvious. One would wonder why they would be complaining about the hiked minimum wage. The franchisees could have shown they were taking the steps they took out of necessity, countering the argument they were punishing employees.

Protests have been scheduled at more than a dozen Tim Hortons locations across the province throughout the day. Their business consists of selling low cost products in high volumes. Most recently, on August 2, 2017, some restaurants in select markets increased prices for some hot beverages and breakfast menu items, Tim Hortons said at the time.

They really played it badly.

She referred questions to Tim Hortons corporate headquarters, which hasn't responded to CBC calls. His work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com.

"This is not the first time the media have gotten worked up about the wrong numbers", observed Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives analyst Michal Rozworski in a thoughtful commentary on how the note was reported and what it actually said. "We welcome others who understand that where we shop matters and plays a big part in shaping our world".

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