Canadians Furious With Tim Hortons

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Angry protesters are planning more than 50 demonstrations on Friday at several Tim Hortons locations across Canada after some franchise owners in Ontario slashed workers' benefits as well as paid breaks in response to the Ontario government's minimum wage hike.

The protests, as part of a National Day of Action Against the Cuts, are being organized by advocacy group Leadnow and the Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign.

They have urged Tim Hortons' parent company, Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR, QSR.TO), to take steps to reverse the cuts as well as ensure that employees' wages and working conditions are fully protected.

As part of Ontario's Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, the minimum wage was increased to $14 an hour from $11.60, starting January 1, 2018. The minimum wage will further increase to $15 next year.

"It's shameful that Tim Hortons has done nothing to stop the attacks on the workers that have made the company billions of dollars. The outrage on the streets today is a warning to Tim Hortons: step in to protect your workers or say goodbye to your customers," said Leadnow's Fair Economy Campaigner Brittany Smith.

Meanwhile, a staff memo in November by owners of a Tim Hortons franchise in Ontario had blamed its employee benefit rollbacks on the Ontario government's minimum wage hike.

"I encourage you to let her know how your workplace will change as a result of her new law and that you will not vote Liberal in the coming Ontario election in June 2018," Susan and Jason Holman, who own three Tim Hortons locations northeast of Toronto, wrote in the memo.

Tim Hortons has said that individual franchise owners are responsible for handling all employment matters. The company also blamed the controversy on a "rogue group" of franchise owners who claim to speak on behalf of Tim Hortons and "do not reflect the values of our brand".

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