Laid-off Goodwill staff will be paid, CEO says
A man cleans up a pile of clothes and items outside a closed Goodwill donation centre in Toronto on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, January 22, 2016 9:13AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 22, 2016 1:58PM EST
TORONTO -- The CEO of Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario says laid-off staff will be paid by the end of the day.
Keiko Nakamura says the payment will be for hours worked up to and including January 16 -- the day before the charitable organization announced it would close 16 stores, 10 donation centres and two offices due to cash flow problems.
In a statement Friday, Nakamura says records of employment will be mailed out next week, allowing former staff to apply for employment insurance or other assistance.
Nakamura says she regrets "the concern, anxiety and frustration the staff of Goodwill has experienced" as a result of the closures.
More than 430 workers have been affected by last weekend's sudden shutdown.
Nakamura says a website has been set up to raise funds for struggling ex-employees.
"My overriding priority since the closure of our operations has been to ensure the payment of our staff for work done. But the future of Goodwill is not assured," she said in the statement.
"As difficult as the current circumstances are, this crisis may present an opportunity for a transformation that allows Goodwill to successfully fulfil its mission in reinvented and empowering ways."
She asked that people refrain from bringing donations to Goodwill locations and instead take them to other non-profit organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said Friday her heart goes out to the employees and added that the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is working with them to ensure supports are in place. But, she said, it's too early to say what went wrong.
"There are a lot of training and employment dollars that go into the Goodwill organization," she said.
"It's been a wonderful organization. It's been an institution in this province, so it's very important we find out exactly what happened and my hope would be find out what happened, be able to find a way to rectify it, and the organization can carry on."