TORONTO – The premier of Ontario accused the children of Tim Hortons’ billionaire co-founders Thursday of bullying their employees by reducing their benefits in response to the province’s increased minimum wage.
In a letter dated December 2017, Ron Joyce Jr., son of company co-founder Ron Joyce, and his wife, Jeri Horton-Joyce, who is Tim Hortons’ daughter, told employees at two Tim Hortons restaurants they own in Cobourg, Ont., that as of Jan. 1, they would no longer be entitled to paid breaks, and would have to pay at least half of the cost of their dental and health benefits.
The couple said the measures were aimed at helping the company offset the $2.40 hike in the hourly minimum wage.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said if Joyce Jr. wants to challenge the Ontario government policy, he should come directly to her and not take it out on his workers.
“When I read the reports about Ron Joyce, Jr., who is a man whose family founded Tim Hortons, the chain was sold for billions of dollars, and when I read how he was treating his employees, it just felt to me like this was a pretty clear act of bullying,” Wynne said.
While the changes announced in the letter are not a violation of Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, Wynne said she wants Joyce Jr. to reverse his decision.
“I hope that he understands this is really not a decent thing to be doing in a place as wealthy as Ontario,” Wynne said. “I hope he recognizes that his employees need to be treated decently.”
The cutback in benefits and wages at the two Tim Hortons restaurants follow the rise in Ontario’s minimum wage from $11.60 an hour to $14 this week.
A Tim Hortons spokesperson has declined to comment on the letter, but said franchisees are responsible for handling all employment matters at their restaurants while complying with all applicable laws and regulations.