OFL demands action on behalf of minimum wage workers from CEO of Tim
Hortons' parent company
Toronto, Jan. 09, 2018 - The Ontario Federation of Labour is demanding action from
the parent company of Tim Hortons in an open letter to Restaurant Brands International
(RBI) Inc. CEO Daniel Schwartz. The text of the open letter follows:
Dear Mr. Schwartz:
I write today to formally request that as Chief Executive Officer of Restaurant
Brands International (RBI) Inc.– the parent company of Tim Hortons, you take the
immediate steps required to ensure that Tim Hortons franchise owners respect the
spirit of, as well as comply with, labour laws in Ontario.
It is our view that this can only occur with the full restoration of wages, paid
breaks and benefits to the workers at Tim Hortons restaurants across your entire
The Ontario Federation of Labour represents one million workers in Ontario, and
we advocate for improved and fair working conditions on behalf of all working people
in the province.
Like millions of Ontarians, many of whom are your customers, we were disgusted last
week to learn that many Tim Hortons franchise owners had taken steps to claw back
paid coffee breaks and reduce health benefits of their minimum wage earners, saying
they needed to offset perceived costs associated with the increase in the minimum
wage in Ontario.
These actions against minimum wage earners are particularity galling in light of
the "Canadian Values" branding that Tim Hortons trades upon. Further, it is perplexing
that your franchise owners would take these steps within the first week of operating
under the new minimum wage regulations, when a price hike had already been implemented
in 2017 by Tim Hortons, in anticipation of the increased minimum wage.
We are aware of the corporate structure at RBI where the parent company, Tim Hortons
Corporation, dictates nearly every detail of a franchise-owner's business practice.
We understand that franchise owners must have a net worth of at least $1.5 million
to be awarded a franchise. 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.
We agree with your statement that the actions of Tim Hortons franchise owners are
indeed "reckless", and that "Tim Hortons [employees] should never be used to further
an agenda or be treated as just an 'expense.'" We also agree that this is completely
unacceptable, and does not reflect the stated values of your brand.
Until benefits and paid coffee breaks are restored along with previous labour practices,
such as the payment of shift premiums for overnight shifts and allowing servers
the ability to receive tips instead of forcing workers to remit them to the owner
of the franchise – we will be relentless in our efforts to draw attention and will
continue to be critical of the predatory labour practices at Tim Hortons Restaurants
Stating your distain for the actions of "rogue" franchise owners is not enough to
resolve this unfortunate situation.
The OFL calls on you, as the Chief Executive Officer of RBI Inc., and as President
of the Tim Hortons brand to take immediate and corrective action to ensure Tim Hortons
franchise owners respect the spirit of the new labour laws in Ontario, and immediately
proceed with the full restoration of wages, paid breaks and benefits to the workers
at Tim Hortons restaurants across your entire chain.
Failure to take the required next steps will further escalate this matter within
our membership, your customers and the public, and will leave us no other option
than to recommend continued actions at Tim Hortons locations across Ontario.
The Labour movement is calling on you to take immediate corrective action instead
of simply blaming this situation on the reckless and greedy actions of your franchise
Ontario Federation of Labour