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Eyes on Tim Hortons and Ontario, as BC prepares for minimum wage hike

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With a raise in the minimum wage on the horizon for British Columbia, it would be wise to watch what’s happening with Tim Hortons in Ontario, according to a local business expert.

Some Tim Hortons franchisees have reduced employee benefits and cut back paid breaks in response to Ontario’s minimum wage hike, prompting a deluge of online criticism and accusations of bullying. The company’s head office is blaming a “rogue group”.

The BC government is planning to increase the provincial minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021. So would business owners here cut benefits in response?

These things can be hard to predict, according to Dr. Sarah Lubik, the Director of Entrepreneurship at Simon Fraser University.

“Every business owner will react slightly differently to these kinds of challenges and these kinds of shifts in the ecosystem that they need play in. There’s every reason there could be people deciding to take this strategy as well.”

Lubik says one of the solutions is to give businesses information, so that when they start to ask questions about what they can do to avoid cuts, they have the resources.

“Some sort of answer, some sort of place to go for the answer to ‘OK I need to raise wages, now what’ rather than letting them figure it out on their own.”

She says some of those support systems are already in place but the government needs to make sure everyone knows about them.

Lubik also says if low-wage workers are consulted on situations like this, businesses can build loyalty from their employees.