For the record, I support Ontario’s minimum wage increases. The sorts of folks who work those jobs often do very important, tedious, thankless and difficult work and they deserve to get much more in return for it than they do. For instance, it’s usually them who has to deal with the public with a smile, even though a lot of the public can be gigantic, malignant dinks sometimes (especially in retail situations). In spite of my feelings on the subject, however, I do to an extent feel for those small business owners who are going to have to find ways to stretch some already thin margins just a little bit thinner. Many of them are very smart, creative folks and I’m sure they’ll see a way through, but yeah, I’ll bet it’s a bit of a frightening prospect right now.
But the funny thing about the fright is that while I’ve heard lots of screaming, none of it ever seems to come from the folks who maybe ought to be worried. It’s always some super rich cunt whose worth more money than I could figure out how to spend in 1000 lifetimes crying about poverty from his winter home in Florida. And in this particular case, I do literally mean from his winter home in Florida.
Employees at an Ontario Tim Hortons owned by the children of the chain’s founders say they have been told to sign a document acknowledging they are losing paid breaks, paid benefits, and other incentives as a result of the province’s minimum wage hike.
“I feel that we are getting the raw end of the stick,” said one front line employee who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of losing their job.
The franchise is located in Cobourg, Ont., about 115 kilometres east of Toronto. The owners are Ron Joyce Jr. and Jeri-Lynn Horton-Joyce, the son and daughter of the chain’s co-founders, Ron Joyce and the late Tim Horton, respectively. Employees say they are married.
In the document, copies of which were obtained by CBC News, Ron Joyce Jr. Enterprises wrote:
“Breaks will no longer be paid. A 9 hour shift will be paid for 8 hours and 20 minutes.”
“These changes are due to the increase of wages to $14.00 minimum wage on January 1, 2018, then $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2019, as well as the lack of assistance and financial help from our Head Office and from the Government.”
The letter is signed “Sincerely, Jeri, Ron and Lisa.”
When CBC News asked about the new policy, they were given a no comment by a manager and told by employees that the owners were at their winter home in Florida. They were, however, emailed a statement from corporate media relations.
Almost all of our restaurants in Canada are independently owned and operated by small business Owners who are responsible for handling all employment matters, including all policies for benefits and wages, for their restaurants.”
“Restaurant Owners are expected to comply with all applicable laws and regulations within their jurisdiction.”
Some of that is undoubtedly true, although these independent, small business owners come from a family worth somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1.4 billion, so this might not have been exactly the right time to mention it.
Feel how ever you want about the new minimum wage, but know that by not supporting it, this is the sort of company you’re keeping. Just something to think about over coffee next time.