President of Ontario Federation of Labour Chris Buckley addresses protesters outside a Tim Hortons Franchise in Toronto on Wednesday January 10, 2018. Labour organizations across Ontario are holding rallies today to protest the actions some Tim Hortons franchises have taken in response to an increase in the province’s minimum wage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Protest against Tim Hortons planned across Ontario today

Labour organizations across Ontario are holding rallies today to protest the actions some Tim Hortons franchises have taken

Labour organizations across Ontario are holding rallies today to protest the actions some Tim Hortons franchises have taken in response to an increase in the province’s minimum wage.

Since the rate rose to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, several franchisees have announced they’re reducing employee benefits and eliminating paid breaks.

They say doing so is a necessary measure to help offset the added costs of the minimum wage increase.

But labour groups describe the company as “wildly profitable” and argue Tim Hortons and its parent company can afford to pay employees at the new rate without taking away previous perks.

Protests have been scheduled at more than a dozen Tim Hortons locations across the province throughout the day.

Organizers say they hope the rallies will send a message to Tim Hortons and its parent company — Restaurant Brands International.

“Head office has the means to ensure that these reprisals against workers are reversed, and we are calling on them to do so immediately,” said Pam Frache, Ontario co-ordinator of a campaign for higher minimum wage dubbed Fight for $15 and Fairness. “And we are not going to stop, actually, until they make this happen. We need to make it right for these employees.”

The rallies come a day after a social media campaign sprang up encouraging people to boycott Tim Hortons in order to show solidarity with the workers.

The campaign urged patrons to take part in “No Timmies Tuesday” on Jan. 9 and instead visit independent coffee shops.

Protesters have said they want the boycott to put pressure on the corporation and franchisees to reintroduce the scaled-back benefits.

But who should take responsibility for that is at the heart of the latest round of finger-pointing in an ongoing blame game between some franchisees and their corporate parent. They have publicly sparred over alleged mismanagement and filed several lawsuits against each other in recent months.

Tim Hortons has said individual franchisees are responsible for setting employee wages and benefits, while complying with applicable laws. But some franchisees argue the corporation, which controls prices, should help owners grappling with the mandated wage hike.

The Great White North Franchisee Association, which represents half of Canadian Tim Hortons franchisees, said the minimum wage hike and other changes to the province’s labour laws will cost the average franchisee $243,889 a year.

The association said it hoped Restaurant Brands International would lower supply costs or raise prices. When it did not, the association said, many franchisees were “left no alternative but to implement cost saving measures in order to survive.”

Tim Hortons fired back, saying such cuts “do not reflect the values of our brand, the views of our company, or the views of the overwhelming majority” of restaurant owners. The chain called the cuts reckless and completely unacceptable, adding staff “should never be used to further an agenda or be treated as just an ‘expense.’”

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

Victoria wins crucial WHL contest over Giants in Langley

Royals take over second in B.C. Division ahead of Vancouver

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Saanich signals support for in-fill developments in Gorge-Tillicum

The Gorge-Tillicum neighbourhood continues to experience infill. Council’s committee-of-the-whole signaled Saanich’s support… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Most Read