May 27, 2014 7:19 pm
Updated: May 28, 2014 3:39 pm

Labour leader questions motives behind Tim Hortons’ hiring spree


EDMONTON — Tim Hortons was holding what it called a Recruitment Day in the Capital Region on Tuesday. The mission? To find 800 new workers.

By lunch, Bob Podritske, who owns two locations, had met with eight job-seekers and made two hires. But he says he’s seeing fewer and fewer people drop off resumes than in previous years; and believes that’s in large part due to Alberta’s red-hot economy.

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“With so much construction and growth in Alberta, our economy is so strong. We’re in our own economy in comparison to other provinces,” he says.

Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, isn’t buying it.

“The reason they can’t find Canadians is because they’re not responding to our hot labour market in a way economists say they should which is to offer higher wages. That’s Economics 101.”

According to, which collects data about compensation across North America, the average wage for a Tim Hortons employee in Edmonton is $13.28.

The average wage of a Tim Hortons employee, according to

PayScale Canada

McGowan goes so far as to call the recruitment nothing but a “public relations exercise.”

“Keep in mind the restaurant industry is in the midst of a very heavy lobby campaign with the federal government trying to convince them to take off the moratorium on the foreign workers program, and Tim Hortons is taking the lead.”

WATCH: The fight over temporary workers

Podritske admits he’s concerned about the moratorium, which means restaurant owners cannot hire any new temporary foreign workers, or extend existing ones.

“I think it penalizes all of us for maybe a few that weren’t abiding by the rules,” he argues.

Of his 77 employees, 12 are temporary foreign workers, many of whom work the “hard-to-fill” late-night shift. If any of them quit, Podritske worries he might not be able to replace them.

“We would have to cut our hours of operations down. And it would hurt local Canadian workers too because some of them need to work late night or evenings too.”

Tim Hortons has been hiring temporary foreign workers since 2005, according to spokeswoman Alexandra Cygal. B.C. and Alberta employ the most foreign workers in Canada.

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News

© 2014 Shaw Media

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