Montréal, November 24, 2016 — Three individuals of a group of Arab customers, who were denied service and expelled from a Tim Hortons in the Borough of Saint-Laurent, will file complaints of racial discrimination against the establishment.
On October 31st, at around noon, several male customers of Arab origin, in their thirties and over, were inside the Tim Hortons on Marcel-Laurin Blvd. These persons did not all know one another before the incident; some have frequented the establishment prior to the incident without any problem. On that day, however, some were denied service and others, the right to consume products for which they already paid, by the manager.
In an aggressive tone (“Débarrasse-toi d'icit”) and using rude gestures such as finger-pointing, the manager, a Québécois man in his sixties, targeted approximately seven Arab or Arab-looking customers among the twenty-something crowd in the restaurant and ordered them to leave the premises. No reasons were provided by the manager.
When some customers insisted on their right to stay and consume products that they have bought, the manager threatened to call the police, which he did without further delay.
Four Arab customers waited for the police inside the Tim Hortons so they could explain the situation and ask for help. Two officers arrived and after speaking with the manager, informed the men that they were no longer welcomed inside. They were then ushered out.
The four men then went to local Police Station 7, not far from the Tim Hortons, in order to file a formal complaint. However, since the expulsion was not considered to be a criminal act, the police did not accept their complaint.
“We have never encountered racism in a such a public, abusive and humiliating manner”, said “Nabil”, an engineering student. “It's clear that the manager targeted only customers with an Arabic look, and that's racial profiling, pure and simple.”
“I'm almost 40 years old, and I have never been treated like this in my whole life,” added “Omar”, an information technology professional. “We cannot allow this racist act in a civilized society, especially in a city as multiracial as Montreal, and in a borough with such a high Middle-Eastern concentration.”
The three men have mandated CRARR to help them file a complaint of racial discrimination for each with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission. They are trying to reach other expelled Arab customers to ask them to do the same.
CRARR will be seeking moral and punitive damages for each man, a public apology, and the adoption and posting of an anti-racist policy at the Tim Hortons.
“We absolutely have to impose tough penalties on this kind of discriminatory treatment, which should not be tolerated in Quebec in 2016, ” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi. “And we need to see whether there is a pattern involving a much deeper problem, namely consumer racial profiling and systemic racism,” he added.
“We call upon the upper management of Tim Hortons in Canada to make all its restaurants free of all forms of racial discrimination and profiling, and to take all appropriate measures to repair the wrong caused to these men, ” added Mr. Niemi.