The Ontario Premier is accusing Tim Hortons co-founders’ children of bullying Ontario coffee shop employees by cutting their benefits to raise the minimum wage in the province.
Wynne said that if Ron Joyce Jr, whose father co-founded the coffee chain, was opposed to his Liberal government’s decision to raise the minimum wage, he should have attacked her, not the workers.
“I would be happy if this man made statements about government or politics,” she said. “What I find really unfair, and where I think it’s starting to be bullying, is that it is attacking its employees. He behaves in a way that I find unfair to his employees, to people who do everything to make ends meet. ”
In a letter sent at the end of last month, Ron Joyce Jr and his wife, Jeri Horton-Joyce – the daughter of the company’s other co-founder, Tim Horton – told employees of their two Tim Hortons cafes in Cobourg in Ontario, those who wish to continue with the dental plan and other health benefits should pay a portion of the program costs themselves. In addition, employees will no longer be able to take paid breaks, according to the letter.
According to the couple, these measures are intended to allow their business – Ron Joyce Jr. Enterprises Ltd. – to offset the increase in the minimum wage in force since 1 January. It went from $ 11.60 to $ 14.00, and it will increase another dollar, to $ 15 an hour, on January 1, 2019.
Wynne, who will be seeking re-election this spring, has focused on policies like the minimum wage to ensure her political future.
“When I read the articles about Ron Joyce Jr – a man whose family founded Tim Hortons, a chain that was sold for billions of dollars – and when I read how he treated his employees, he told me seemed like a pretty clear case of intimidation, “she said.
Ontario’s premier has been talking for months about fairness and opportunities in the provincial economy, arguing that some workers are being left behind. Ms. Wynne explained that her minimum wage plan was designed to help low-income workers.
Several members of the business community did not welcome the plan. Most of them said that they do not have the increase as such, but rather the speed with which it is set up.
“A difficult situation”
Although the changes announced in the Co-Founders’ letter do not violate Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, Wynne urges homeowners to back down.
“I hope he (Ron Joyce Jr) understands that it’s really not a decent thing to do in a place as wealthy as Ontario,” she said. “I hope he recognizes that his employees need to be treated decently.”
In their letter to employees, Joyce Jr and his wife complained of “the lack of assistance and financial assistance” from Tim Horton’s head office and the government.
“We apologize for these changes,” says the letter, relayed on social media. “It is possible that we will reinstate some or all of the benefits that we had to withdraw when we have a better idea of the costs for the future.”
A spokesperson for the Great White North Franchisee Association (GWNFA), a group created last year to hear the complaints of some Tim Hortons franchisees about their parent company, did not want to comment on of the letter. She further clarified that the Joyce family would not comment for the media.
However, the association’s board of directors issued a press release on Thursday stating that the Ontario Liberal government has put its members in a “difficult situation” with the increase in the minimum wage.
In addition to rising wages, the legislation introduced an increase in costs for pension plans, employment insurance and employer contributions to vacation pay, the statement said.
“The goal of GWNFA and its members is to limit job losses where possible, and as a result, franchisees have been forced to take steps to protect their businesses in this new tax reality due to significant cost increases. labor.”