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

UPDATED: Gunfire erupts in quiet Langley neighbourhood early this morning

Police have 79A Avenue cordoned off after reports of shots just before 5 a.m.

PHOTOS: Langley City residents given audience with council and staff

Mayor and councillors share successes and plans, while listening to public at three City meetings.

Langley Spartans enjoy multiple wins and a tie Friday

First-year rookie puts five points on the scoreboard for Trinity Western’s Spartans.

Langley’s own Vancouver Giants fall in Prairies during overtime

G-Men fell 6-5 to the Brandon Wheat Kings Friday night.

Body located near Langley fire

A corpse was found near a mall off the Langley Bypass Friday morning.

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Holy Heritage Rail Batman: Superheros come to Cloverdale historic train

The Fraser Valley Heritage Rail is hosting its third annual Halloween rail adventure Oct 28, 29

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Most Read