“Given this new increase, as well as continued economic and competitive pressures, increasing commodity costs and minimal increases in menu pricing, effective June 1, we will be shifting all hourly team members in the restaurant to unpaid breaks,” the memo reads.
A spokeswoman for Tim Hortons said these decisions are made at the franchise level by each individual Tim Hortons restaurant owner, consistent with provincial labour regulations.
Under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, employers are required to give workers a 30-minute unpaid meal break after five consecutive hours of work.
Ontarioâ€™s minimum wage jumps to $11 Sunday | Toronto Star
On Sunday The Toronto Star reported that a Tim Hortons franchisee is eliminating paid breaks for his/her employees as retaliation against the June 1 increase of the minimum wage in Ontario to $11 per hour. Yesterday, I sent off a letter to the head office of the coffee and donut emporium. I would encourage others for whom this is an issue to do the same.
Here is that letter:
To Whom It May Concern:
It was with great dismay that I learned in Sunday's Toronto Star that some Tim Hortons' franchisees are retaliating against the new Ontario minimum wage by eliminating paid breaks for employees. An owner's memo released by an employee stated:
“Given this new increase, as well as continued economic and competitive pressures, increasing commodity costs and minimal increases in menu pricing, effective June 1, we will be shifting all hourly team members in the restaurant to unpaid breaks.”
While I imagine this news is most disheartening to the many who faithfully and cheerfully serve your products, you should be aware that it is also very distressing to consumers who care about workers' rates of remuneration and working conditions and try to make ethical decisions in their discretionary purchases. I am one such person among many.
Your corporate response cited in The Star, that these decisions are made at the franchise level by each individual Tim Hortons restaurant owner, consistent with provincial labour regulations, was unsatisfactory in the extreme for many reasons.
Tim Hortons has long marketed itself as a Canadian institution and icon that we should all revere as patriotic citizens. Who can forget the role your coffee and donut emporium has played over the years in bringing caffeine comfort to early-morning hockey dads, sending underprivileged kids to camp, and being in the most desolate of locations, including Afghanistan 'supporting our troops.'
Sad to say, all of that iconography rings hollow when head office absolves itself of any responsibility for the actions of its franchisees. To hide behind legalities, deferring to provincial regulations and decision-making protocols, conveys an air of corporate indifference and avarice, not leadership.
There is no doubt in my mind that should this controversy have a negative effect on your very profitable operations, the lamentations about price pressures cited by the above-quoted Toronto operator notwithstanding, you would use your influence to rectify this unacceptable gouging of your employees.
As one very active in social media and blogging, I intend to spread the word about this egregiously unfair situation as widely as I can. My purpose, of course, is to encourage as many as possible to boycott Tim Hortons until equity is restored.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.
Should you feel so moved to express your views about the company's mistreatment of its employees, here is the link (external - login to view).