Tim Hortons Faces Boycott Calls Over Requiring Vaccination for Summer Camp

Tim Hortons Foundation Camps in Canada are facing boycott calls online for requiring all of their summer camp attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The #BoycottTimHortons hashtag has been trending on Twitter Saturday in response to the mandatory vaccine policy after a petition was launched late last month against it. The petition was launched by Tamara Ugolini, a parent and rights activist according to her online profile.

Ugolini aims to gather 25,000 signatures to pressure the foundation to drop its mandate. Over 19,000 people signed the petition as of Saturday afternoon.

"Denying minors the ability to partake in fun activities is cruel and unwarranted. Kids have already missed out on so much, and Tim Hortons needs to let them camp!" the petition read.

Camp Faces Boycott Calls due vaccine mandate
Canada's Tim Hortons faced calls this weekend for a boycott over its COVID vaccine mandate in summer camps run by its foundation. Above, a child get the Pfizer vaccine against COVID in Montreal, Quebec, on November 24, 2021. Photo by ANDREJ IVANOV/AFP via Getty Images

In November 2021, Canada approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five to 11, while in March 2022 the Moderna vaccine was given the green light for children ages six to 11.

According to its website, the Tim Hortons Foundation Camps aim to serve teens from underserved communities and work "with adolescents aged 12 to 16 who meet our economic qualifications. These are some of the most formative years of young people's lives and our programs are tailored to make a lasting impact."

However, Ugolini claimed in a blog post that Tim Hortons is discriminating against children due to their medical status.

"Tim Hortons Foundation Camps are requiring full vaccination of all attendees, including campers," she wrote on April 28. "It means that underprivileged kids are being discriminated against because of their medical status and denied opportunities."

In her blog post, Ugolini posted a screenshot of an email she told Newsweek that she received as a tip from a mother who forwarded the communication about her child being denied a spot at Tim's camp. Ugolini clarified that the email has nothing do with her personally or her children.

The email, which appears to be from a camp coordinator, read: "I will have to decline their spot for summer 2022 since the vaccination against COVID-19 is mandatory. Due to the challenges and risks that COVID-19 continues to pose we at Tims Camps have made the decision that all staff and campers must be fully vaccinated to attend camp this summer. It has always been our first priority to keep our youth and staff safe, and with public health guidance we believe this is the necessary route to take to keep the camp community as safe as possible. If your camper is not fully vaccinated, they will be unable to join us this summer."

Ugolini told Newsweek that she and those against Tim Horton's camp COVID policy plan to continue running the Let Kids Camp petition, but will not call for boycott in case the policy wasn't overturned.

The camp's vaccine policy has gained mixed reactions on Twitter as one user accused Tim Hortons of "segregating and discriminating against our children."

"A business that was once seen as a symbol of Canada is now a symbol of tyranny. WE MUST FIGHT BACK AND #BoycottTimHortons," user DonaldJBernier tweeted.

Twitter user nickysiemens13 called the COVID policy a "joke" and added that "this is the entire point of camp: allowing kids to be a part of something amazing they've never experienced without discrimination."

Meanwhile, boycott calls have also been criticized by others such as Twitter user SuperSpacedad, who tweeted that the policy has "made extremely dumb anti-vaxxers extremely mad, apparently."

Newsweek reached out to Tim Hortons Foundation Camps for comment.

Update: 05/12/22 5:51 p.m. ET: The story has been updated to include comments from Tamara Ugolini.