Friday, 12 April 2013

Tim Hortons Is Hiring!!

Tim Hortons Is Hiring!! (Must Speak Tagalog)

 Abstract: this is NOT an actual job advertisement for Tim Hortons.

Up the street from me, Tims has only foreign workers.  Down the street from me, it also has, more or less, foreign workers.


This whole thing about how the Harper government was encouraging employers to hire cheap foreigners and bypass Canadian citizens seems to have become sort of a big deal lately.  My only response was—what took so long, and why are people who formerly didn’t care what abuses the Harper government visited upon its citizens suddenly giving a damn?


I don’t get it.  It’s been going on forever.  Typically what would happen when there’s a shortage of labour is that: a) wages might go up; or b) companies might train workers to do jobs. 


Using ideology instead of pragmatism, Harper and Flaherty opposed this; using ideology instead of pragmatism, Harper and Flaherty discounted the successful models of north European countries, where they have things like apprenticeships, licensing, education, training, business-government-union cooperation and so on.   Instead, taking money from their corporate benefactors (it’s known, in Tory senate circles, as “the ol’ in n’ out”), Flaherty and Harper gave, and gave, in return.  You grease my palm, Jim and Steve said, and I’ll grease yours.  In other words, the Tories told businesses: “look, you don’t have to train or be responsible for anything.  And we feel your pain about living wages.  So here’s what we’re gonna do for you.  If you keep giving us massive campaign donations we can lie about through the ol’ in n’ out, we’ll let you bring in foreign workers you can exploit until kingdom come—and we’ll give you a 15% premium just to do it."  (In the form of cutting foreigners’ wages more or less to the tune of what the donors will give back to the Tories).


Easy peasy.


Friend of mine worked for close to 2 yrs at a Tim Hortons in Edmonton.  He was the only white man there.  He was the heat.  He was a big fat white guy who worked late nights, and his job was to shoo off panhandlers or beggars.  It was kind of a schizo job; on the one hand, he was supposed to be outside in any temperature in his visor bundling people off, but on the other hand he was also supposed to be inside, making himself useful cleaning floors and tables when there were no obvious lowlifes outside.  His boss from the south pacific, a non-Canadian citizen who was probably able to buy citizenship by “starting a business” and “hiring people,” and who does own a number of Tim Hortons franchises, tended to arrive to check up at, well, never the right time.  He’d show up when my friend was wiping tables when there *was* a homeless person outside, or he’d show up when tables had wrappers on them and my friend *was* out in the parking lot talking a guy away.  Whatever.  My friend was obviously a good employee or else he wouldn’t have been there so long and wouldn’t have gotten another better job shortly after. 


My friend’s co-workers were *exclusively* Filipino.  And they lived *exclusively* in places rented to them by the owner of the Tims—a classic company store model.  You bring in cheap foreigners that you don’t have to pay regular wages to, and you get their wages back in rent, and if they don’t like it, they’re on the next plane back—all this, facilitated by the ideology of Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper.  Stephen Harper curiously seems to imagine himself a family man, but of course his idea of “family” envisions only his own family.  The Tims owner in Edmonton who couldn’t (?) get Canadian employees is ruthless with his Filipinos.  It is bizarre even that he hired 1 white Canadian, but maybe he had to for token government or paperwork purposes; maybe he couldn’t find a Filipino bouncer for a coffee shop, or one who had the right language skills and special cultural abilities for defusing potentially violent situations.


Now, I realize I’m not giving the Tim Hortons multi-franchisee foreign-owner foreign-hirer his own space here.  Presumably, if he had the chance, he’d be right out there talking about how much he loves to support the economy and hire people, and so on.  It is nevertheless possible that, in his native Australia, he couldn’t get away with the stuff he pulls with the Harper government’s assistance in Canada.  Otherwise, he might be doing it in Australia.  Then again, he probably does get many more voluntary trips home than his Filipino workers.  And who knows?  Maybe he just got to Edmonton and said to himself: “Man, I just loooooovvvvveeee the climate here.  I can’t leave.”


Bottom line:


The foreign workers program was meant to fill gaps in the Canadian economy.  The Harper government has used it to slash wages to appease its corporate donors and unemploy Canadians and prevent training of Canadians, thus ensuring future economic ossification and suffocating not only secondary or tertiary, but also primary jobs for Canadians.  For ideological purposes, the Harper government has chosen to assist not Canadians, but foreign countries and governments, by helping them to offload cheap labour on Canada whilst enriching private companies in host countries, and decalibrating the ability of Canada to develop, train, and employ skilled workers who will bolster the Canadian economy going forward.




  1. No, there haven't been comments or anything, but I used the phrase "must speak Tagalog" in my title, and I think this post probably got hits from, yes, even the Philippines--from people who quite possibly legitimately thought that making a web-click would lead to a job advertisement for people with Tagalog language skills. No, I haven't changed the title yet, but I'm sorry if Tagalog speakers seeking work wasted even a second clicking on this site. On the other hand, we keep getting told that the fastest-growing ethnic population in Canada is Filipino, so. . . . It's a welcome and warning, or a warning and a welcome.

    And it is incontestably true, written legally in black and white, that the Harper government has put in place measures to allow employers to exploit foreign workers like Filipinos by paying them less than Canadian-born workers.

    Anyway, I apologize to the no-one who has made a comment, and those others who have not, if my post title has made someone think the title's "must speak Tagalog" line would lead to an actual job posting. My post refers to a domestic Canadian situation, but one that obviously does affect foreign workers, alongside Canadian-born workers who would have to be paid more (if they could get jobs employers can get foreigners to do for 15% less).


  2. Setting aside the Harper government's attempts to exploit foreign workers and impoverish domestic workers, one supports the faith and resilience of Filipinos.

    1. I have now removed the word "Tagalog" from the title of this post because it only helps to encourage Conservative politicians in Canada to attempt to unemploy Canadians and help employers to seek exploitable foreign workers. Canadian workers want to work, and Filipinos should not be exploited by Jason Kenney. It will be on Jason Kenney's doughnut-fed, bulbous, lucubrant head when he remarks his grey-stained pillow in the morning, the ways in which he has fought against Canadian workers and sought to enslave poor people of other colours he has never even met.

      Way to go, Jason. Your Maker awaits you.