Bill Kelly: Plenty of blame to go around in Tim Hortons fiasco

A Tim Hortons coffee shop is shown in Toronto on Wednesday, June 29, 2016.
A Tim Hortons coffee shop is shown in Toronto on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Eduardo Lima.

There were protests around the province Wednesday at various Tim Hortons stores to protest the decision to cut benefits to employees in response to the recent minimum wage hike.

I know there’s a great deal of anger about the decision by a few franchise owners, but I think the anger is misplaced.

Fact is, there’s plenty of blame to go around on this issue.

READ MORE: Tim Hortons protests planned across Ontario over employees’ benefit cuts

The government could have and should have implemented changes to the minimum wage years ago, and to force an accelerated wage increase just before an election, reeks of political opportunism with little to no regard for the impact it would have on small business, and — make no mistake about it — each of those Tim Hortons stores is a small business.

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Truth be told, the franchise owners are between a rock and a hard place.

The international conglomerate that owns Tim Hortons, Restaurant Brands International, sets the prices for supplies for the franchises and it sets the prices for what we pay for our double-double each day.

READ MORE: Rising minimum wages could speed up automation not relocations: labour leaders

Economists tell me that Restaurant Brands International could have increased the price of their products by a penny or two to offset the increased cost of the wage hike, but they chose not to, in order to protect their own profit margins.

Government self-interest and corporate greed are the toxic cocktail that created this fiasco and they should be the focus of the public outrage.

Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML and a commentator for Global News

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