TORONTO, Ontario—Franchise owners who reacted to an increase in the province’s minimum wage by cutting workers’ pay and
benefits are using “a bully tactic,” Unifor, Canada’s largest union said Jan. 5. “At a time when CEOs are making record multimillion-dollar salaries, it is not too much to ask that workers be able to afford a decent standard of living—and that begins with raising the minimum hourly wage,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said in a statement, after news broke that the owners of several Tim Hortons coffee-and-doughnuts shops had eliminated paid breaks and required workers to pay for up to three-fourths of their benefits after Ontario’s minimum wage went up from C$11.60 an hour to C$14 (about $11.20) on Jan. 1. In one case, Ron Joyce Jr. and Jeri-Lynn Horton-Joyce, the son and daughter of the chain’s cofounders, told workers at their franchises in the town of Cobourg that the cuts were “due to the increase in wages.” Workers there told the Canadian Press that the owners were at their winter home in Florida when they sent that message. “This week has really shown why workers need a stronger voice in the workplace,” Dias said.