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

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Security guard now on patrol at three Terrace banks

Company hired to secure ATM vestibules due to safety concerns

LNG Canada sponsors fast-tracked driver’s license training in Terrace, Kitimat

The $80,000 contribution is part of the company’s commitment to hire locally

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

Most Read