Iqaluit Tim Hortons turning away gift cards from homeless clients

Tim Hortons turns away homeless people with gift cards.

Editor’s Note: After this story was published, the North West Company sent APTN National News an email.

“We currently cannot accept Tim Hortons TimCards at our Northern/NorthMart locations as we operate using a platform that is not integrated with Tim Hortons,” said Derek Reimer, director of business development.

“While we would like to accept at some point, our current system is unable to process these types of transactions (as noted on the Tim Hortons website, TimCards are only accepted at “participating locations”). We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers.”

Reimer says the company wants to offer a Northern gift card as a replacement to use at its Tim Hortons location.

Kathleen Martens
APTN National News
Tim Hortons gift cards provided to homeless people in Iqaluit are being refused at the counter.

Qaumariaq Inuqtaqau‎ said he tried to use the plastic card Wednesday at the Tim Hortons outlet in the Northern store and was told it was no good.

“They just said it’s their rules,” Inuqtaqau‎ said from Iqaluit. “I was saying it’s for homeless elders and they just said no.”

The gift cards were mailed via the Facebook page Helping Our Northern Neighbours (HONN).

It matches donors of food and gifts in southern Canada with needy families and individuals in Nunavut.

In total 15 gift cards worth $10 each were sent to the Northern Territory.

Inuqtaqau‎ said he went to buy coffee and doughnuts for people who live in shacks without plumbing or heating.

He said the hot drinks keep them warm while the homeless shelter is closed.

Heather Porrill of Hinton, Alta., donated the cards after being told they would work in Nunavut.

“I want some action and I want it now!” she said in Facebook.

He posted about his experience on the HONN Facebook page: “Sorry all. Please don’t send up the gift cards for Tim Hortons. They work all around Canada but not in Nunavut.”

Derek Reimer, director of business development for the North West company, which operates the Northern store, said he would look into the situation. He said the Tims franchise is staffed by North West employees.

An email for comment from Tim Hortons head office was not immediately answered.

This isn’t the first time HONN has underestimated just how hard it is to get things in Nunavut.

In February 2015, the group collected 60 boxes of food donations and household items for the Nunavut community of Gjoa Haven.

The plan was scrapped when they discovered the shipping would cost over $12,000.

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2 thoughts on “Iqaluit Tim Hortons turning away gift cards from homeless clients

  1. let us know what happened and if they honored the cards, if not I see a big BOYCOTT. plus look at how much those cards costed, they better be honored or are they just racist.

  2. what a disgrace — Tim Horton’s owns this mess and so does the Northern Store. Tim Horton’s gift cards should be accepted in every franchise. Having a franchisee decide not to accept the cards is ridiculous. The Northern Store has a monopoly in many northern communities, and deciding not to accept gift cards for a franchise inside their store is beyond the pale. This is especially egregious when the cards were being presented on behalf of homeless people who were hoping to use their purchases to gain a little warmth in this harsh, cold climate. With the outrageous prices charged in the North, the owner of the store is making a fortune from people who have little choice. To refuse the cards, knowing their purpose and the situation involved, is heartless and disgraceful. This story needs to be picked up by other mainstream, southern media and Tim Horton’s and the owners of the Northern Store need to be held accountable.

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