Controversial sign at Ottawa Tim Hortons taken down

The sign says customers who stay beyond 30 minutes could be charged with trespassing.

A controversial sign at a downtown Tim Hortons giving a time limit to customers has been taken down.

The letter warned patrons that they have 30 minutes to consume their drink and/or food before Ottawa police will be called.

“This is to inform you that under the trespass to Property Act, that you are not under any circumstances, permitted access to, or be on the premises of, Tim Horton’s 330 Queen St. Ottawa, ON.,” reads the letter, signed by management.

“This notification is to clear the place within 30 minutes after purchase Tim Hortons product, failure to do so will consider as trespassing, the Ottawa Police Service, will be contacted, who will be instructed to charge you under the Trespass to Property Act.”

The sign, posted at 330 Queen. St. was still up as of 1 p.m. Saturday. Staff on site tell CTV News Ottawa the sign was posted for 'the safety of customers and staff' and that they 'see a lot of homeless people'

In a statement Saturday evening, a Tim Hortons spokesperson said the sign has been taken down.

"The restaurant was attempting to deal with a few isolated issues of extreme loitering, but the sign doesn’t reflect our values of creating a welcoming environment, so it has been removed," the statement said.

The councillor for the area said she didn't buy the store's reasoning.

"That excuse about security, I just don't buy it," said Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney. "This discriminates against people who are homeless, seniors as well, people with disabilities."

McKenney says she plans to contact management, as the establishment is in her ward.

"It's appalling," said one customer leaving the Tim Hortons Saturday.

While there has been reaction starkly opposing the sign, others side with the business, saying it's within the store's rights.

"I think it's fair," said one customer. "It's their business, they can run it the way they want."

The note also states a copy of the letter was sent to the Ottawa Police.

Tim Hortons restaurants are independently owned, therefore the owner (franchisee) depends on the location.

Hey @TimHortons does this meet with your approval? #Ottawa #Canada #Shameful

— Canadian Woman (@sxwxgirl1) December 14, 2019

Hey @TimHortons does this meet with your approval? #Ottawa #Canada #Shameful

— Canadian Woman (@sxwxgirl1) December 14, 2019

I think whoever owns that Tim Hortons franchise has the right to limit the time allotted for customers to sit/stay. Loitering is a definite issue with their downtown locations.

— Steve Foget (@FOGETS) December 14, 2019

This is the result of not doing enough to tackle homelessness, the private sector is left to deal with the problem.

— Brad76 (@Brad76_) December 14, 2019 I wont be going there as my disability sometime takes longer. — KK (@k915k) December 14, 2019

This is gross.

Staff said it was “for the safety of customers” — It’s very clear who this sign is meant for and practices like this are shameful, especially in the winter when some people could use a place to warm up for a while. https://t.co/onHMmbWThJ

— Anchal (@anchalsharma_) December 14, 2019
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