On May 24, Fraser Health conducted an extensive inspection at the Tim Hortons at 3433 North Road, a location managed by Interwest Restaurants. The two-hour review revealed multiple critical health hazards, adding fuel to the recent controversy surrounding the establishment's lax policy towards homelessness.
Among the hazards cited by Fraser Health, food was found not to be cooked or reheated in a manner that ensured it safe for consumption, violating fundamental food safety protocols. Moreover, a conspicuous lack of hand-washing facilities for employees was noted, a critical issue that raises concerns about hygiene and the potential spread of diseases. Additionally, the inspection highlighted significant griminess and food debris accumulation throughout the establishment. Disturbingly, this included areas associated with food preparation such as baking and donut glazing areas, stove burners, ice machines, and dishwashing areas.
The on-duty supervisor at the time of the inspection confirmed to inspectors that temperature monitoring records are indeed maintained. However, the inspection report pointed out that the supervisor was unable to access this critical information. This situation highlights potential flaws in their data management system and raises questions about staff training
Compounding these serious findings, Fraser Health also raised red flags about pest control, labeling sanitation a "major concern." The report emphasized areas within the establishment that were observed as fertile breeding grounds for egg-laying insects, adding an additional layer of concern for the already beleaguered Tim Hortons.
In the wake of the publicized inspection report, reactions among the regular patrons were, unsurprisingly, of disappointment and concern.
"I can't say I'm surprised," lamented one customer, expressing dismay at the conditions, but tells us, "Time and time again, management has been aware of the conditions of the restaurant, and nothing has improved for months." Adding, "This is not what you expect from a place like Tim Hortons." Another regular said, "It's disappointing. We thought this was a clean, safe place to come for coffee. I guess we were wrong."
Adding to the controversy, an anonymous customer reported that after raising concerns about the presence of homeless individuals and the general lack of cleanliness directly with Interwest, she was promptly trespassed by Kerr. The customer emphasized her belief that this was a direct attempt to silence criticism and prevent complaints.
In an apparent testament to the ongoing issues at the establishment, several customers have taken to Google to voice their complaints over the past weekend, with one reviewer writing, "They should make sure staff cleans the bathroom and trash bins regularly because it looked pretty awful - to the point I question the hygiene of their food - in my last visit and it seems other people are complaining about the same thing as well."
Days after the inspection conducted at the 3433 North Road location, Fraser Health carried out an additional inspection at a secondary Tim Hortons location also owned and operated by Interwest Restaurants - this at 955 Austin (Austin & Blue Mountain) in Coquitlam. Issues found included food contamination risks, along with, "The icing station is beside a pipe wrapped in insulation. The insulation is ripped exposing fine wire mesh and bits of fluffy insulation. The wire mesh and insulation could fall into the icing and customers could become ill or hurt when consumed." Surprisingly and confusingly, these particular points of concern were deemed to be 'non-critical' by Fraser Health.
It remains to be seen how the management at the Burnaby Tim Hortons will respond to the damning Fraser Health report and the mounting criticism from the public. However, it is clear that changes are necessary to ensure the safety and satisfaction of customers and uphold the reputation of Tim Hortons as a popular gathering spot.
The full inspection report from Fraser Health can be seen by clicking here.