tim hortons covid

Tim Hortons under fire over note forbidding staff to take sick leave

Tim Hortons is having a hard time maintaining its spot as the golden child of Canadian fast food lately.

After a financially rough year that included complaints about everything from its new direction and menu offerings to its lid design, the coffee chain has now been trying, like all businesses, to adapt and survive during the coronavirus pandemic.

Though it has taken the precautions of making its popular Roll Up The Rim To Win contest digital-only and switching to drive-thru and takeout only as the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada has continued to increase, some of its franchise locations are apparently not making such prudent decisions to maintain the brand's integrity.

A photo of a shocking note found posted in the back room of a Timmy's location in Edmonton has been making the rounds on social media — and understandably so.

The note — which was up during a time when customer-facing employees are more scared than ever for their health amid, you know, a global pandemic — is addressed to "team members who call in sick."

It reads:

"I have you scheduled for a reason. Therefore, I expect you to show up. Your absence will be considered unexcused. It is expected that you will show up for your scheduled shifts."

The note runs quite contrary to Tim Hortons policy, which states that "team members should always stay home if they are sick" and that employees do not require a medical note to do so.

A spokesperson from the company has called the incident "unfortunate" and "an isolated issue at one restaurant," also adding that the owner of said restaurant has been contacted and has since removed the sign.

The incident comes less than two weeks after the cafe was widely criticized for its rules around sick leave and pay (a hashtag, #boycottTimHortons, was even created earlier this month).

As a result of that PR fiasco, Timmy's vowed to provide up to $40-million to its staff who are affected by COVID-19. But the chain made headlines again within days after an employee was diagnosed with the communicable disease.

And now, this note debacle.

Maybe the chain's new move to provide free coffee to front line healthcare workers can help recover its image.

Lead photo by

Tim Hortons


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