Wednesday, 27 January, 2016

Laid-off Goodwill staff will be paid, CEO says

Mike Mozart CC
Dillon Hess | 23 January, 2016, 10:28

In a statement published on Monday, Goodwill Toronto CEO Keiko Nakamura explained "to those employees and other members of the community who benefit from Goodwill's services, please know that I am thinking about you and doing everything I can to bring clarity to this situation as soon as possible", adding that "I am examining all possible solutions".

Ms. Nakamura said she regretted "the concern, anxiety and frustration" that employees had endured "as a result of Goodwill's cash-flow crisis".

On Wednesday, Goodwill Industries of Toronto said that despite its "best efforts" it would be unable to pay employees as it dealt with a cash flow crisis that forced it to close 28 locations over the weekend.

Nakamura says a website ( has been set up to raise funds for struggling ex-employees. "I believe that possibilities for transformation and renewal of the organization will be explored with individuals and groups who value the contribution Goodwill makes to the communities it serves".

"As hard 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 said the Canadian Diabetes Association was collecting items that had already been donated.

Earlier this week, the union representing the 450 Goodwill workers impacted by the closures said it had spoken with investors who may be able to revive the charity's GTA operations; however it is not clear whether any formal talks have taken place on that topic.

"It was more than a job, it was more of a family, like I said, it's knowing that we could rely on each other, we knew we were helping people", she says. "We're reaching out to help and we hope we're an encouragement to other businesses".

Goodwill employees arrived at work Sunday to learn that the organization had closed its 16 stores and 10 donation centers, as well as two offices, leaving 430 workers in limbo with no explanation of whether they were being laid off or whether the stores were going to reopen.

Workers were given no notice and in a message delivered through a communications company, the Nakamura said workers would not get paychecks they were supposed to receive today.


Renew The Good is asking for assistance in "providing basic needs for our most vulnerable" and is requesting donations of gift cards.

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