Ontario Franchise Law establishment: It started with Tony Martin, John Sotos and me.

March 5, 2016

But like all deceptions, the betrayal starts with one and then mushrooms to thousands. Two lure in several others.

justice

Justizia, by Luca Giordano

December 20, 2000 was the last time I met with Sotos and Martin. Sotos told a very interesting story:

It was his experience that those engage on the “shadow side” of large scale franchise disputes, suffer severe health consequences.

It was fatal for the dad in Ontario’s first franchise class action case, Bulk Barn. It was fatal for a friend called Julie.

Tony‘s not doing so well.

I don’t know how well John, David Sterns, Michael Webster, Jay Harris, Peter Webber, Andrei Oudovikine, Alexendre Oudovikine, Jonathan Lisus, Jeff Lefler and Franck Panczyk and their families are doing.

***

Justice (virtue)

Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues in classical European philosophy and Roman Catholicism. It is the moderation or mean between selfishness and selflessness – between having more and having less than one’s fair share.

Justice is closely related, in Christianity, to the practice of Charity (virtue) because it regulates the relationships with others. It is a cardinal virtue, which is to say “pivotal” because it regulates all such relationships, and is sometimes deemed the most important of the cardinal virtues.

 


Will “brand strength” or hard fought-for legal provisions likely preserve Tim Hortons franchisee, staff, supplier and communities relationships?

February 23, 2015

In 2000, Tony Martin asked Tim Hortons VP Nick Javor which of their franchise agreement terms protected franchisees when a merger happens.

lao

In his public hearing testimony which lead up to Ontario’s 1st franchise law, Mr. Javor seems to suggest the “brand” is strong enough. He was silent on the contract provisions needed.

Mr Martin: I don’t think there’s anybody who’s suggesting that there aren’t good franchise systems around, and certainly Tim Hortons presents at this time as one of those good systems, for all the reasons you’ve laid on the table here today. What you have we want for all the systems, because when a system goes sour, as you suggest in the Pizza Pizza case, you’re all painted with the same brush. That’s unfortunate. It affects a good business relationship and ultimately probably affects the franchisee the most because they’re the most exposed and vulnerable.

My concern is when good systems get sold, and that’s happening. There’s a trend today where the bigger guy eats up the smaller guy and the relationship changes. We had that experience here in Sault Ste Marie where Provigo bought out Loeb and wiped out two of our best corporate citizens overnight. They slept in their stores for two weeks to protect their interests. That’s how difficult that was.

We’ve heard that 241 Pizza has just bought out Robins Donuts. What happens if tomorrow Pizza Pizza buys out Tim Hortons? Do you have anything in your agreement with your franchisees that protects them in that instance?

Mr Javor: That’s a very good question, Mr Martin, because this is the day of mergers and acquisitions. This is the business strategy of a lot of folks. I would answer your question with perhaps a description of our franchisee relationship. I think successful franchisors and chains and brands get successful not by accident but because of the hard work and everybody’s focused on a mutual goal. The mutual goal in our organization, and other franchisors who have been privileged to be as successful as us, is clear: to deliver customer service and realize that the way we get excellent customer service is by having franchisees who are committed to that. We have a strong culture of excellence and commitment. I think it would be very difficult for a new ownership group to come in and absolutely take away what’s taken us 30 years to earn and to grow together with our franchisee ownership.

The fact that we involve our owners a lot in our business at the advisory board level and committee level that I mentioned earlier I guess is a testament to the strength of that commitment we have to ourselves in the marketplace, and that is bigger than the contract. It takes many years to change cultures at corporations. Those of us here who have been in private business over the years understand that. Truly, yes, the top of the house or the CEO and president help set the tone – that’s well-documented research – but also when you have a strong commitment at the grassroots level in your community, where your franchisees are absolutely actively involved in supporting your community, because they know where their bread is buttered. It’s not downtown Toronto, it’s all the communities where we have stores in our particular chain across the country.

I honestly think that when a merger and acquisition comes along the strength of the brand will come through based on these types of commitments and relationships.

Mr. Javor and Tim Hortons were active in the spirited behind-closed-doors debate of the proposed amendment to the Arthur Wishart Act, Bill 102 in 2010: here, here and MPPs seek anti-swindling law for franchises.

Mr. Nick Javor, LinkedIn


What is the Canadian Franchise Association doing to protect the 1,100 CDN franchisees and 96,000 employees at Tim Hortons?

February 1, 2015

The Canadian Franchise Association says it …advocates on behalf of franchisors and franchisees in Canada

CFA

Tim Hortons is a member of the CFA. The CFA’s Code of Ethics says that their members’ should treat each other with fairness.

Tony Martin former ON MPP and MP made certain recommendations from his experiences during the public hearings which led to Ontario’s 1st franchise law.

News Release
April 4, 2000

Investigate Franchise Association Abuses: Martin

Tony Martin, MPP

Tony Martin, MPP, Sault Ste. Marie
New Democratic Party
News Release
Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada

INVESTIGATE FRANCHISE ASSOCIATION ABUSES: MARTIN

TORONTO – The Consumer and Commercial Relations Ministry should investigate the Canadian Franchise Association over its failure to help Ontario franchise holders, NDP MPP Tony Martin said today.

The CFA is advising the Conservative government on proposed changes to provincial laws governing franchise agreements. But the association is under fire from hundreds of its own members for its indifference to their complaints, the NDP Critic for Consumer and Commercial Relations said in the Legislature today.

“The CFA has been of no help to many hundreds of entrepreneurs who lost their shirts in shoddy franchise deals,” Martin said. “Instead of taking the CFA’s advice this government should be sending in ministry staff to thoroughly investigate this association’s failures.”

Martin raised the case of Brenda Hope, a mother of two from Coldwater who lost $90,000 as a Chemwise Inc., franchisee. For more than a year, the CFA has refused to look into Hope’s complaints, although it endorsed Chemwise as a member.

Similarly, the CFA has refused to accept a registered letter from Bulk Barn franchisees who have a series of complaints against the franchisor. Martin was also refused when he tried to deliver the letter. The Sault Ste. Marie MPP called on Consumer and Commercial Affairs minister Bob Runciman to act now to protect small businesspeople.

“Perhaps the minister can convince the CFA to live up to its responsibilities to mediate franchise disputes. If he can’t, we need a full-scale probe of this group. It’s the least we can do for hard-working families who lose everything in dubious franchise deals,” Martin said.

The MPP has proposed his own legislation, Bill 35, that is far tougher than the government’s Bill 33. The Martin Franchise Bill would require full-disclosure of franchise contracts, a dispute resolution mechanism, the right to associate and the freedom to source products outside of the chain when not trademark related.

-30-

Also: Martin’s questions directed to the CFA during their Mar 2000 expert witness testimony.

Source

CFA National Sponsors


How long will CDN organized labour & the NDP fiddle while 96,000 Tim Hortons franchisees’ staff and management burn?

January 31, 2015

Makes a citizen democrat want to burn up his orange card.

ndp card

How about the nearly 1,100,000 other Canadian employees/families that work in franchised outlets?

Don’t the union and NDP brainiacs understand that 3G Capital will be forcing the franchisees to do their dirty work by laying off tens of thousands of their hourly and managers, many of them personal friends? Hello: jacking up franchisees cost of goods to +32%, driving their “equity” into the red, makes layoffs inevitable.

Franchisees dislike unions true. But the fear and loathing for the vulture capitalists is profound, notwithstanding the company-man, shill franchisees.

Smart, silent current franchisees know the sewer they’re being sent into: Country Style, Second Cup, Coffee Time, Bakers’ Dozen, etc.

Franchise Industry Statistics, 1998

  • Number of Employees: Ontario 400,000 to 600,000 (Canada 760,000 – 1,140,000)
  • Annual Retail Sales: Ontario $45 to 50 billion (Canada $90 billion)
  • Number of Franchisees: Ontario 40,000 (Canada 76,000)
  • Total Investments: Ontario $2 to 8 billion (Canada $3.8 – 15.2 billion)
  • Number of Franchisors: Ontario 500 (Canada 1,300)
  • Franchised Retail Sales (% of Total Retail): 40
  • Number of new lawsuits per year in the Ontario Franchise Industry: 5,000 Ontario Government

I’d like to know:

  1. How many NDP executive positions in joint provincial/federal ridings (Simcoe Grey and Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte) do I have to volunteer/toy with to get an audience from the ON NDP? Monthly payer?
  2. Maybe Ms. Nash MP should ask Charlie Angus ($15 per hour minimum wage?) about the work that Tony Martin former MPP and MP and I did,
  3. Or maybe Mr. Singh and Ms. Horwath need to check their egos and start bragging about what the entire Hampton caucus did to get Ontario’s 1st franchise law and the de facto Canada-wide statute after 30 years of all-party broken promises?
  4. Maybe check with the Fightfor15.org people to find out why they are very, very interested in knowing more about franchising?
  5. btw: McDonald’s (franchisor and franchisees) has just been fined by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board because they judge McDonald’s as a “joint employer” (see here, here).

Full Disclosure: I was a franchisee (twice), studied poli sci, a member of the Teamsters’ union, and continue to be viewed as a “union organizer” by franchisors and their toadies.

Based on the theory that your enemy’s enemy, is your friend, you’d think it’d be Palm Sunday for Mr. Stewart and the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators rather than a type of amateur hour.

Kathleen Wynne Les Stewart

With friends like this, it almost makes a guy see red.

Dale Carnegie moment: Of course, saying you care about the lost jobs is a lot easier than having to co-operate with people that have, like, technical knowledge of the most sophisticated form of international commerce: business format franchising.


Tony Martin: Why 100,000 CDN franchisee families should keep his family in their thoughts.

February 17, 2014

The Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure) Act, 2000 exists because of Martin. He draws people together is a way only an Irish immigrant could.
Tony Martin

I would suggest ALL franchisees, everywhere, who know enough to value the legal protections that “good faith, fair dealings and commercially reasonable” might give to their life, recognize this, faith-filled parliamentarian’s fearless role in not managing but eradicating  predatory industry practices, starting in 1996.

As reported in the Sault Star, NDP colleagues offer words of support after Tony Martin hospitalized after suffering stroke:

The longtime NDP politician and anti-poverty activist reportedly suffered the stroke Sunday.

Bud Wildman, former provincial cabinet minister and a close friend, said doctors are hopeful Martin, 65, will recover.

He said Martin’s family is by his side.

“I’m concerned for my friend. He’s a strong person. I’m hoping he’ll make a full recovery,” said Wildman.

My thoughts are with Bud, Madge, Karen and Jacques and especially Anna and their children.


Tony Martin asks a few questions of the Canadian Franchise Association, CFA

September 22, 2012

Mr. Richard Cunningham spoke very professionally and accurately for the franchisor- and supplier-only association.

Mr. Tony Martin, MPP was a key player in asking the right questions which helped clarify how much contempt each stakeholder had for the democratic process. There were five expert witness spots in the 4 days of travelling public hearings that resulted in the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000. The subcommittee gave the CFA one of those slots.  The complete record of testimony can be found on WikiFranchise.org.

Questions

[…]
Mr Martin: I’m following up on the question that Richard [Patten, MPP] asked a few minutes ago in terms of who you’ve actually kicked out of the association. I’m led to believe that, in fact, you’ve only revoked the membership of one and that was Pizza Pizza. Is that correct?

Mr Cunningham: I’m not at liberty to say, I believe. That would be privileged information of the association and I don’t think it’s appropriate to make any of that public here.

Mr Martin: You’re not going to give me any numbers even?

Mr Cunningham: No.

Mr Martin: Then just to query as to the membership in your group and who you speak for, I’m led to believe that you have 220 out of about 1,300 franchise systems in the country. Is that correct?

Mr Cunningham: I don’t what the date of that paper is, but our franchise member list is just over 300 right now because some of our member companies, like CARA, for example, would have eight brand names.

Mr Martin: And 80 of your members are lawyers, accountants or consultants?

Mr Cunningham: Correct.

Mr Martin: Also there are some big systems-and we heard from one of them today-that don’t belong to your association. Do you have any auto dealers?

Mr Cunningham: No.

Mr Martin: Do you have any food stores?

Mr Cunningham: Yes.

Mr Martin: How many?

Mr Cunningham: One chain.

Mr Martin: Petroleum stations?

Mr Cunningham: Yes, Petrocan.

Mr Martin: What about hotels and motels?

Mr Cunningham: Yes, a number of them.

Mr Martin: You made a statement earlier about the information I shared with the committee that the perception out there is that there’s lower risk by going into a franchise than the independent small business route. I have a study that suggests that’s not the case that the incidence of failure in franchising is greater than in going the independent route.

Mr Cunningham: I don’t know your study so I can’t comment on it.

Mr Martin: It’s a study called Survival Patterns among Franchisee and Nonfranchise Firms Started in 1986 and 1987. I can give you a copy of the report. It was reviewed by Ms Susan Swift from our legislative research branch, and it’s actually quite interesting. It has a number of findings that I think maybe your association might find worth looking at because it challenges very seriously the contention-and I suggest it’s something that needs to be perhaps looked into further. If we’re offering franchising in the country as a more secure way to get into business, particularly in an environment where there are a lot of people who are being restructured and walking around with severance packages looking for someplace to invest them and they are thinking that franchising is a bit more risk-free than actually setting up an independent business, then we may be sending them down a road that will result in stories such as the ones we’ve heard over the last two or three days here.

Mr Cunningham: Can I respond to that?

The Vice-Chair: Go ahead, sir. We’re just about out of time here now.

Mr Cunningham: Even if these statistics are out there, and as people are being told that franchises are more successful than non-franchises, the disclosure is going to give them the information and the ability to contact people in the system. If they call up XYZ system and talk to 10 of the franchisees and they say, “I’m not allowed to associate,” “I’m not making any money,” “I’ve been in this business five years and I’ve lost money,” or “I’m not in the system any more because I lost my life savings,” I think that in itself is going to tell those people, regardless of what any statistics are, not to buy.

Mr Martin: The problem is, though, that a lot of the people that they should actually talk to have signed confidentiality agreements and they can’t talk.

Mr Cunningham: They wouldn’t be able to do that, though, with this disclosure legislation.

The Vice-Chair: Richard, thank you so much for your time today and for the presentation you left with us.


There was one glorious time when the truth about Big Franchising was revealed and recorded.

July 25, 2012

QueensParkFour days in 2000.

March 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Public hearings into the franchise relationship. Four days of traveling public hearings: Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa and London. Ontario, Canada. Traveling public hearing: extremely rare, if not unheard of, under the Mike Harris government.

Approved by the former Ontario  Minister Robert Runciman over a beer with Tony Martin at the Queen’s Park members’ bar. Two men who share a love of democracy as expressed in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

I had the tremendous honour of traveling throughout Ontario as before these life stories were twisted into the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000. I seemed to have made an impression on the politicians.

Of the current MPPs (107), I know 29 of them. One Minister since I was 17 years old. 45 minutes from my house to their House.

It happened once.

It can happen again.

— The Legislative Assembly of Ontario, looking north to the main doors, University Avenue, Toronto Ontario


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