The Tim Hortons franchise location on Division Street in Cobourg, Ont. owned by heirs of the founders of the popular chain, has become the focal point of controversy when they announced benefits to staff were cut citing increased costs and blaming the mandatory minimum wage hike.

TheTim Horton's franchise location on Division Str. in Cobourg, Ont. owned by heirs of the founders of the popular chain, has become the focal point of controversy when they announced benefits to staff were cut citing increased costs and blaming the mandatory minimum wage hike
Photo Credit: James Pickersgill

Minimum wage increase: fallout continues, controversy grows

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Workers say businesses are penalising them for the minimum wage increase

Across Canada, there are vast number of full time employees who are earning the “minimum wage” as set by provincial legislations. The amount varies from province to province and ranges from about $11.00/hr to $14/hr.

1.6 million employees in Ontario earn less than $15/hr

In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, the minimum wage has just been increased this month from $11.60/hr to $14/hr.  On January 1, next year it will rise to $15/hr.  It’s estimated that about one-quarter of Ontario’s workforce –some 1.6 million workers – earn less than $15/hr.

Employees at several Tim Horton’s coffee shop franchises in Ontario say as owners cut their benefits, they’ll actually be earning less in spite of the minimum wage increase. The Premier of Ontario says of the owners actions *that’s not fair, but it’s also not decent. To be blunt, I think it’s the act of a bully*
Employees at several Tim Horton’s coffee shop franchises in Ontario say as owners cut their benefits, they’ll actually be earning less in spite of the minimum wage increase. The Premier of Ontario says of the owners actions *that’s not fair, but it’s also not decent. To be blunt, I think it’s the act of a bully* © Evan Mitsui/CBC

Late last year, the western province of Alberta increased the minimum wage from $12.20/hr to $13.60/hr and will go to $15 by October of this year.

Job losses, controversy

The move, seemingly a good one to raise the conditions of so many workers, has instead sparked huge controversy.

In a move that has highlighted this controversy, the heirs of the widely popular coffee and doughnut chain, Tim Horton’s, have sent a letter to the employees of a franchise outlet they own near Toronto saying that paid lunch breaks will end along with several other benefits as a result of the increased costs from the wage hike.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has increased the minimum wage to $14 this year, and $15 next year. She says moves by business to recoup profits by cutting employee benefits as unfair and the action of bullies.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has increased the minimum wage to $14 this year, and $15 next year. She says moves by business to recoup profits by cutting employee benefits as unfair and the action of bullies. © via CBC

“I feel that we are getting the raw end of the stick,” (employee-via CBC)

The move has been widely criticised as being miserly, but has since been followed by owners of several other Tim Horton franchises in Ontario.  Several employees have said that the move by owners now means that in spite of the wage increase, they’ll actually be taking home less money.

Another example of business reaction to the minimum wage increase in a memo which outlines employment changes for *casuaul* (sic) drivers at Victory Ford Lincoln Sales in Chatham, Ont. ’You will no longer be considered an employee ... but rather an Independent Contractor and will be paid as such.’
Another example of business reaction to the minimum wage increase in a memo which outlines employment changes for *casuaul* (sic) drivers at Victory Ford Lincoln Sales in Chatham, Ont. ’You will no longer be considered an employee … but rather an Independent Contractor and will be paid as such.’ © CBC

Several other restaurants and other operations are now also taking similar measures, cutting staff hours, business, hours benefits, etc.

While businesses are taking these actions a new poll shows that in fact a majority of Ontario residents support the government’s move. The poll shows 60 per cent supporting the move, to the 30% who are opposed.

Additional information- sources

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3 comments on “Minimum wage increase: fallout continues, controversy grows
  1. Shawn prest says:

    My wife was employment was terminated because of the wage increase

  2. OP says:

    If government wants to help working Canadians increase their standard of living, reduce taxes and cut the cost of government and give everyone a raise…..not interfere with labour market pricing mechanisms of which they understand very little given most politicians are life long public service employees who have never met a payroll or created wealth.

  3. Robert mansfield says:

    You have got to be kidding me!!! Seriously, everyone will be getting a raise, with the exception of pensioners. The Liberal government is the BULLY in this situation. Minimum wages go up 30% and businesses cannot raise prices to offset without losing customers. This is all political. If I was making $15.00 an hour prior to the minimum wage going up, I would most certainly expect a similar wage hike, from $15.00 to $18.00. Then if I was at $18.00, I would expect a raise to $23.00. Etc etc. Bet your life that businesses will raise prices or go out of business. The average profit for restaurants across Canada is 4.0%. That is not a lot of moola. The increase in minimum wages is like gerbles running on a tredmill, and there is no hope of getting ahead unless you are willing to Gerble school and get a real job.