WatchTim Hortons protests expand beyond Ontario with 50 rallies planned across Canada

Jean Levac/Ottawa Citizen files Smith could not describe how specific franchises across the country were selected for the protests but said they were chosen by local organizers. She said Leadnow has 500,000 members.Friday’s planned national protests follow similar demonstrations earlier this month at 16 Tim Hortons restaurants in Ontario, organized in response to a few franchises that clawed back workers benefits, paid breaks and other perks as a result of the minimum wage increase in Ontario from an $11.60 hourly rate to $14 at the start of the month.The protests began after Jeri Horton-Joyce and Ron Joyce Jr., the children of the brand’s billionaire co-founders, rolled out the controversial measures at two Cobourg, Ont., locations they own.Finger pointing between the company and franchisees over who bears responsibility for the cuts has intensified an ongoing public sparring over alleged mismanagement that has included several lawsuits filed against each other in recent months.Tim Hortons has said individual franchisees are responsible for setting employee wages and benefits, while complying with applicable laws. But some franchisees argue the corporation, which controls prices, should help owners grappling with the mandated wage hike by allowing them to raise prices. The franchisees want a 10 per cent price hike across the board, according to a source.The Great White North Franchisee Association, which represents half of Canadian Tim Hortons franchisees, has said Ontario’s minimum wage hike and other changes to the province’s labour laws will cost the average franchisee $243,889 a year.Tim Hortons has said the employee benefit cutbacks made by some franchises in Ontario “do not reflect the values of our brand, the views of our company, or the views of the overwhelming majority” of restaurant owners. TORONTO — Protesters angered by some Ontario Tim Hortons franchisees who slashed workers’ benefits and breaks after the province raised its minimum wage plan to spread their rallies to other areas of the country.About 50 demonstrations are planned in cities across the country on Friday, although at least 38 will be based in Ontario, including 18 planned in Toronto. As of Dec. 31, 2016, the number of Tim Hortons locations in Canada was 3,801.Other cities involved in the protest include Calgary, Halifax, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver and two other cities in British Columbia.Most Ontarians back minimum wage hike, say it will benefit the economyTim Hortons getting ‘dragged through the mud’ and iconic brand isn’t doing anything to stop itOntario’s minimum wage hike will cost the average Tim Hortons franchisee $243,889 this yearOrganizers behind the protest campaign, dubbed Fight for $15 and Fairness, say the demonstrations planned at specific Tim Hortons franchises on Friday are not about the franchise owners themselves, but rather to pressure their parent company.“If they’re feeling the crunch, they know like we do the answer has to come from corporate head office, not off the backs of employees making a minimum wage,” said Leadnow spokeswoman Brittany Smith.“This is about the multi-billion dollar corporation and its parent company, Restaurant Brands International, who have the means to protect workers, but aren’t doing it.”Protesters at a Tim Hortons location in Montreal on Friday. read more

Thousands of Rohingya refugees stranded near BangladeshMyanmar border – UN

“Since Sunday night, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh through the Anjuman Para border crossing point in Ukhia district in the country’s south-east,” Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters Tuesday in Geneva. “Many say they had initially chosen to remain in their homes in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state despite repeated threats to leave or be killed. They finally fled when their villages were set on fire,” he added. Tensions have escalated into violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. Since 25 August, an estimated 582,000 Rohingya Muslims have arrived in Bangladesh. As of Tuesday morning, the new arrivals were still squatting in the paddy fields of Anjuman Para village, where the sound of gunfire continues to be heard every night from the Myanmar side. UNHCR is advocating with the Bangladesh authorities to urgently admit these refugees fleeing violence and increasingly-difficult conditions back home. UNHCR and our partners are delivering food and water to the stranded refugees, among them children, women and the elderly who are dehydrated and hungry from the long journey. “Every minute counts given the fragile condition they’re arriving in,” said Mr. Mahecic. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Tuesday that without immediate additional funding, the agency will not be able to continue providing lifesaving aid and protection to Rohingya children who have fled horrific violence in Myanmar. UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado told reporters in Geneva that almost 60 per cent of the refugees who have fled Myanmar since August 25 are children. “The growing needs are far outpacing resources,” she said, noting that as of Tuesday, UNICEF has received just 7 per cent of the $76 million required to provide emergency support to children over the next six months. Without more funding, UNICEF would soon have to stop lifesaving services. “Rohingya children have already endured atrocities. All of them need the lifesaving basics – shelter, food, water, vaccinations, protection – not tomorrow or next week or next month, but right now,” she said. read more