January 19, 2018 11:18 am

Ontario premier criticizes owners of Tim Hortons franchise, says workers shouldn’t be used as pawns

Massive protests have emerged following Tim Hortons franchise owner's cut backs in employee breaks and benefits. Marketing specialist Marc Gordon shares his insight surrounding the controversy.

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TORONTO – Ontario’s premier is accusing the owners of a Tim Hortons franchise of using their employees as pawns to push back against her government’s hike to the minimum wage.

Kathleen Wynne has posted a statement on social media that links to a story about apparent benefits cuts at several of the coffee shops in Durham Region.

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READ MORE: Tim Hortons protests: Why the controversy has hit such a nerve with Canadians

The report says a letter from franchise owners blames the province’s increased minimum wage for the cuts and encourages employees to let Wynne know that they will not vote Liberal in this year’s election.

Wynne says she’s happy to talk to any business owner about the wage hike but says taking frustrations out on employees is not fair.

Earlier this month, Wynne accused the children of the company’s founders, who own a pair franchises in Cobourg, Ont., of “bullying” their employees by cutting paid breaks and benefits in response to the wage hike.

READ MORE: Tim Hortons vs. minimum wage hike by the numbers

A spokeswoman for the Great White North Franchisee Association, which represents some Tim Hortons shop owners, says the group had no comment on the premier’s latest statement.

Ontario’s minimum wage rose on Jan. 1 to $14 an hour from $11.60. It will jump to $15 in Jan. 1, 2019.

VIDEO: How Tim Hortons became the flashpoint in fight over higher minimum wage

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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