My heart bleeds for you Tim Hortons. Last year, you only earned $3 billion (US) in revenue, so with this minimum wage increase, I’m wondering how you will keep afloat? Those extra two dollars you now have to pay your hard working employees is bound to create havoc. Owners of the stores will need to work even harder to make ends meet.

Hopefully, you detected the sarcasm.

It was all over the news Thursday. A Tim Hortons, owned by the children of the business’ founder, has told employees they will no longer receive benefits or get paid for their breaks. The reason?  It’s that darn minimum wage increase. Without “assistance” from head office or the government, Tim Hortons apparently cannot afford to continue offering 15 minute paid breaks or health and dental.

Here are some of the changes Tim Hortons — at least this particular store — is making to accommodate the new labour laws:

  • Breaks will no longer be paid. This means that someone working an eight hour shift will be paid for seven and a half hours instead of the full eight.
  • No more bonuses for covering shifts when called on days off.
  • No “day of pay” when you have a death in the family and cannot work
  • Dental and Health benefits will no longer be covered. Those who have worked at Tim Hortons for five years or more will have to cover 50 per cent of the cost. Those working between six months and five years will have to cover 75 per cent of the cost.

Essentially, for some employees, having to pay 50 per cent of the cost of their benefits and with the loss of paid breaks, an employees biweekly paycheck could be even less than it was prior to the minimum wage increase.

But, the owners? Oh, they won’t be affected now. The revenue will continue to stream in. Problem solved, right?

This is what I hate about the world we live in. It’s run by greed. While small, mom and pop businesses have a right to be a little concerned, this province-wide freak out by large franchise businesses is disgusting. It’s proving that employers really don’t care about the people who work for them. It’s all about the bottom line, and if that means your cashier can’t afford to actually eat at your restaurant, then that’s too bad.

As a former Tim Horton’s employee, I know first hand how hard these people work. It is a fast-paced environment, with high expectations of quality and service. Most employees are immigrants or young people trying to support themselves and their families. They come in before the sun rises and sometimes leave after the sun sets. They cater to the whim of all customers, no matter how rude or inappropriate they may act. They clean bathrooms, work the food line, stand at cashier, and make runs to the garbage dump wearing t-shirts in -30 degree weather. They do all of this, every shift, regardless of whether they are feeling well or just spent the last 12 hours in classes or writing exams.

Can you imagine doing that job?

The raising of the minimum wage is causing unnecessary fear among business owners. They think they need to immediately cut staff and raise prices. A December report by the Bank of Canada didn’t help with its statistic that 60,000 jobs could be lost by 2019. But, can you judge the financial repercussions of these labour laws after only one week, based on predictions and rumours? As with most big changes, businesses need to give the process time to work. The economy will bounce back after a few months of uncertainty, and if it doesn’t, owners can deal with it at that time. Acting pre-emptively to ensure larger revenue does nothing but make you look foolish and heartless.

In fact, before making any changes to your business, I challenge every business owner, manager, or executive to try living off $14 an hour while paying into benefits. Do this for a year. Only then can you complain about the minimum wage’s affect on the economy.

As for Tim Horton’s, it’s a damn shame. As a fervent Timbit lover, I’m incredibly disappointed. The franchise is saying that each store owner has a right to enact their own rules, but this store is owned by the family founders. What kind of example are they setting for everyone else? This precedent is incredibly dangerous for those working for so little money to begin with.

Honestly, I would rather buy a more expensive coffee at a local business and reduce my caffeine intake than spend money at a restaurant that treats its employees with such disdain.

Sorry Tim Hortons, but you just lost me as a customer.

Author

Katherine DeClerq is the editor of Women's Post. Her previous writing experience includes the Toronto Star, Maclean's Magazine, CTVNews, and BlogTO. She can often be found at a coffee shop with her MacBook computer. Despite what CP says, she is a fan of the Oxford comma.

14 Comments

  1. Me as well. I read about this story two days ago and was disgusted by the greed. They heirs can’t afford paid breaks or benefits for thier hardworking employees but they have no issue spending the entire winter down in thier Florida home with a 1.2 billion net worth.

    I can save the $5 I spend each day at Tim Hortons by simply taking a thermos of coffee to work with me.

  2. Peter ORourke Reply

    I can afford an extra nickel for my double double and have paid for cheap food, drink and service for decades on the back of minimum wage earners. It’s their turn.

  3. lol, this is just like when dave chappelle was on SNL. Im not surprised that Tim Hortons is screwing over its employees because thats what theyve always done, what they will always do and its no surprise to me that a multinational corporation screws over the little guy.

    frankly, your article just shows how vapid you actually are to addressing real issues. boycotts are not effective so long as you dont understand the underlying factors at play.

  4. I would say that working 8 hours and getting paid for 7.5 is quite common, the .5 is an unpaid lunch break so no problem there. The benefits and bereavement thing sucks though!
    Can’t say I am a fan of Timmies anymore, their donuts are nothing like they used to be, the coffee is vile and the lineups are insane because they want to compete with every other fast food place by having salads and potato wedges. Stick to coffee and donuts Timmies….oh wait…nevermind!

  5. $3 billion in revenue doesn’t translate into $3 billion in profit. Although I don’t necessarily agree that they can’t afford the increase to cloudy the argument by saying they are making $3 billion is wrong. The article should have stated the company’s current net profit and what their bottomline would look like after the wage increase. Business is complicated and there are so many other considerations that come up besides how much their “revenues” are. Businesses operate on a profit and everyone should understand that. The only entity that operates at a loss and continually survives is the government but they do that by stealing other people’s money to give to themselves and their constituents.

  6. Tim Hortons is one of the most profitable business. This couple who inherited this business are a couple a spoiled rich kids that have no consideration for their hard working employees who are their backbone of their business. They work so hard so the owners can go on vacations and enjoy luxury at the expense of other human beings-disgusting. Tim Hortons should be boycotted. Donuts are not even healthy they are just flour fat and sugar. Second Cup and Starbucks makes better coffee.

  7. You do know these are all small business owners, right? Not 1 of these franchise owners made the “3 billion” in profit. They are all small business owners dealing with the reality with a 20% + increase to likely their largest cost as a business. What do people think was going to happen???

  8. The only way to get our point across is to stop supporting Tim Hortons. No longer rolling up the rim!

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  11. you are spot on I stopped the minute I heard of TH behaviour not going to return regardless of how they spin their present predicamen

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