FreshCo Ltd. Frequently Asked Questions

Over the past week and a half, the union representatives for the stores that were announced to be converted to FreshCo have been answering questions by email, phone and in-person meeting. We have compiled those most common questions for you below, and at the bottom of the page is the FAQ that the employer gave out.

But first, check out a video message from Wes Connell, Executive Board member who went through a FreshCo store conversion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If I am a member on or is due to be on Maternity Leave and I want to choose the severance, do I need to finish Mat Leave and return to work before ending employment and collecting their severance?

A. You must finish your mat leave and be an active employee prior to collective their severance. You would need to keep in contact with HR to coordinate the end of your leave.

Q. If I want to stay with Safeway and don’t get one of their preferred stores from the 3 I have put down, will the company automatically go to my 2nd choice on the conversion document or will I be asked to consider another Safeway location?

A. No, you will be placed in another Safeway store depending on operational needs. Sobey’s has told us that they will try to place members according to their preference, and most members have been successfully placed into their desired stores, but it is still not a guarantee. 

Q. Do the Starbucks kiosk members need to pick a store with a coffee bar? Can it be a Tim’s or does it have to be a Starbucks?

A. Unless the employee has a minimum of two years of service, they will need to select another store with a Coffee Bar (Starbucks or Tim Horton’s).

Q. Members who elect to stay with FreshCo, do they have any input on where they go during the renovations?

A. No, if the Company is able to temporarily place employees during the renovation period it will be based on the operational need of the remaining Safeway stores

Q. Do members who want to stay with Safeway still need to rank their other choices?

A. Yes, they are still required to rank their choices.

Q. Is the top senior 20% per store or per all 3 closing stores?

A. Per Store

Q. Is the Meat Department at Fresh Co run by Cantors Meats?

A. We have not been advised if there will be a third-party service provider for meats in these locations. It will vary from location to location.

Q. Do Pharmacy Techs keeping the Safeway agreement at FreshCo’s need to change their prescriptions to a Safeway pharmacy in order to receive 100% reimbursement?  

A. No.

Q. If a Full-Time member is in the top 20% that gets to keep their Safeway economics at FreshCo, will they still be entitled to paid vacations off even if they become PT at FreshCo?

A. The employee will be entitled to their vacation accrual amount but not necessarily paid vacation as a Full-Time employee, as status (Full-Time/Part-Time) is not a guarantee and will be determined by the Franchise Operator.

Q. If a member selects to stay with FreshCo and keep their Safeway economics but are not in the top 20%, will they be offered the other options again?

A. If they select the top 20% option as their first choice but do not qualify, they will receive their second choice.

Q. If a member selects to stay with FreshCo, where will I be sent during the renovations, a Safeway or a FreshCo?

A. This will be determined closer to when we compile the option letters, however during the last renovations employees were temporarily placed in another Safeway Store.

Q. If a member is in the top 20% that gets to keep their Safeway economics at FreshCo, will that be in place until they leave the company or until the current Safeway CBA expires?

A. This stays in place unless something different is bargained with the Franchise Operator when the FreshCo appendix expires.

Q. Can I collect Employment Insurance after being paid severance?

A. You would not be able to collect Employment Insurance until the weeks corresponding to severance amount have passed. Example: If your severance amounts to one year of pay, you wouldn’t be able to collect Employment Insurance until a year has passed.

For more information on this, please contact the Community Unemployed Help Centre.

Q. If I select the buydown and get laid off during renovations and collect Employment Insurance, would I owe money after receiving the buydown?

A. Yes, you would owe what you had received from Employment Insurance.

For more information on this, please contact the Community Unemployed Help Centre.

Here is a copy of the FAQ that Sobey’s West Inc. handed out.