The Tim Hortons debate has come to Ontario hospitals

In Windsor unionized Tim Hortons workers are being trashed for making a living wage at the Windsor Regional Hospital. The hospital owns three Tim Hortons franchises within its walls.

The argument goes, if the hospital cannot break even on these franchises, then it is the workers who must pay – not the customer who buys the coffees and donuts.

With the cost of benefits, workers are earning about $26 an hour, admittedly above the minimum wage many Tim Hortons franchises pay workers.

Certain members of the public are clamoring for a pay cut, although nobody bothers to mention the 8 per cent share of all sales that are paid to Tim Hortons as a contributing factor to the loss.

The hospital claims it is losing $265,000 a year on the three franchises.

The debate likely arose from a similar story in St. John’s Newfoundland, where unionized hospital workers were making $20 an hour plus an estimated $8 an hour in benefits at the hospital-owned Tim’s. The result was a similar sized deficit.

The question is, is it beyond the hospital’s ability to run a coffee shop that didn’t involve rolling up the rim? That way costs could be reflected in the price consumers pay for coffee and food items.

Tim Hortons franchises are so common in hospitals nobody even bothers to point out the discrepancy of a health care institution that counsels patients to avoid high-fat high-cholesterol foods while giving fast food chains that provide such foods the sole contract to sell in their lobby.

Saturated and trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease, yet there is significant amounts of both in many food items served by Tim Hortons.

If you went to the hospital for your angina, you may find that sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich you had in the lobby Tim Hortons had 530 calories, 34 grams of fat (about two-thirds of the recommended daily intake of fat for most people), and 18 grams of saturated fat and 0.5 grams of trans fat. Luckily you won’t be far from the ER after gobbling that down. That is even worse than eating a Wendy’s single burger for breakfast.

Perhaps you may want to wash your sandwich down with a Café Mocha? It has 190 calories, 8 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, and 0.3 grams of trans fat. Yum.

If that is not to your liking, perhaps a Bagel BELT is more your thing, with its 1,000 milligrams of sodium?

We recently noted that some hospitals are waking up to the notion that maybe they should be setting an example in the kind of foods they serve to patients.

Perhaps they could be setting an example in the lobby too, before visitors and staff become patients too.

One response to “The Tim Hortons debate has come to Ontario hospitals

  1. Arlene Patterson

    At our local hospital in Sarnia a high school is just a short distance away and these students use the lobby, eating area and the Tim’s each day for lunch breaks. I do know of patients who will not visit family in that area of the hospital during those times because they are afraid of being knocked over and it is too noisy. When hospitals have created an environment that it is more important to raise money than it is providing a healing environment for patients, the Ministry of Health is way off the mark. The administration of the hospital needs to stop the general public using the hospital as a ‘coffee shop’ which may very well cut down on the spread of infections, noise and bringing back what hospitals are for -” healing the sick.”

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