Tim Hortons franchisee group files new lawsuit against parent company

Tim Hortons called the lawsuit “unfounded,” in a statement by its media relations team

The legal battle between a group of Tim Hortons franchisees and their parent company escalated Friday as the corporate-unsanctioned association filed a lawsuit alleging that Restaurant Brands International, its subsidiary and several executives continually subvert their right to associate.

The defendants have engaged in conduct that “seeks to interfere with, restrict, penalize, or threaten franchisees from exercising their rights to associate,” according to a lawsuit filed in an Ontario Superior Court of Justice on behalf of two franchisees who belong to the Great White North Franchisee Association. None of the claims have been proven in court.

Tim Hortons called the lawsuit “unfounded,” in a statement by its media relations team.

“We have always been clear that we will not interfere with our franchisees’ right to associate and that remains true today,” it read, adding the lawsuit is the latest tactic of the group’s “disregard for the brand and our restaurant owners.”

The GWNFA, which incorporated in March to raise franchisee concerns over the management of the brand, alleges the defendants systematically stymied their group.

The claim alleges this pattern includes the defendants denying future store opportunities to franchisees because they are “not aligned” with Tim Hortons’s interest and setting aside a $2 billion fund to buy out franchisees who have joined the GWNFA or may do so in the future.

READ MORE: Burger King, Tim Hortons join forces to form world’s 3rd largest fast food company

READ MORE: Fraser Valley Classic Car Show doubles down with Tim Hortons

“It is happening. We know it’s happening,” said GWNFA president David Hughes, one of the lead plaintiffs.

He hopes the lawsuit, which is seeking about $850 million in damages from RBI and its subsidiary, will force the parent company to reconsider legal action it commenced late last month.

RBI subsidiary the TDL Group Corp. served default notices to all of the GWNFA’s board members, including Hughes, on Sept. 18. The company accused them of providing confidential information to Tim Hortons former CEO Don Schroeder, who then allegedly gave it to a Canadian newspaper.

Schroeder and the GWNFA deny these claims, and the association included the legal action in its statement of claim as proof of the company’s efforts to hamper its operations.

This is the group’s second lawsuit against the company.

In June, a $500-million lawsuit filed on behalf of franchisee and GWNFA member Mark Kuziora alleged RBI improperly used money from a national advertising fund. The allegations have not been proven in court and RBI said at the time that it vehemently disagrees with and denies all the allegations.

The lawsuit is currently in the preliminary stages, said Hughes, and the GWNFA hopes it will move before a judge in early 2018.

While the two sides are now mostly communicating through lawyers, Hughes said the association is willing to sit down with executives and work out a fair deal for franchisees.

Until that deal is achieved, it doesn’t appear Hughes will back down.

“I’m the guy that started. I’m the guy that’s going to stand. If I’m the last man standing, so be it.”

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Community support keeps girls hockey alive on the North Island

“A successful program depends on community engagement and support.”

Wilson recognized by Port Hardy Council for commitment to thrift store

Marg is a true leader for Port Hardy’s auxiliary and her nominators feel she is unstoppable.”

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

One person dead in logging truck collision

“The logging truck was stopped for other traffic, and it was rear-ended by a passenger car.”

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Most Read