It has been a tough week for over 400 people who used to call Goodwill their employer, but there is a bit of relief on the way.
Citing “cash flow” issues, the doors to 16 retail stores, 10 donation centres and two offices were closed over the weekend, putting the workers out of a job.
Many had been working for the organization for decades.
There were concerns paycheques for the 2 weeks up to and including January 16, would not be issued as scheduled Friday, but it appears that won’t be the case.
Keiko Nakamura, the CEO of Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario released the following statement Friday morning:
I am pleased to announce that Goodwill staff will receive their pay due for hours worked up to and including January 16, 2016. Goodwill staff can expect to receive pay into their bank accounts by end of day today (January 22, 2016). The time will vary depending on the individual’s financial institution. Over the last few days, we were able to work with RBC and ADP to make this happen.
I regret the concern, anxiety and frustration the staff of Goodwill has experienced as a result Goodwill’s cash flow crisis resulting in the closing of all stores and operations.
In addition, records of employment have been processed and will be mailed out next week. This will allow staff to begin the process to apply for employment insurance and seek out other assistance.
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. I am seeking the necessary support and alliances to create a constructive path forward for the organization and the many communities it serves. 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 – its employees, donors, those seeking employment in challenging circumstances and the many families who purchase from Goodwill stores.
As difficult as the current circumstances are, this crisis may present an opportunity for a transformation that allows Goodwill to successfully fulfill its mission in reinvented and empowering ways.
I offer my gratitude to the many individuals who have expressed their concern over this crisis, to those that are seeking ways to help and especially to those Goodwill staff members who have volunteered their time in helping to ensure that wages will be distributed.
In the meantime, if there are staff and clients of Goodwill facing challenges, please go to www.renewthegood.ca. A volunteer group of former staff is currently working to fundraise $100,000 for urgent transitional support. The website has the capacity to accept donations online. The group says funds will be disbursed in priority order for food, rent and medication.
The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and the Ministry of Community and Social Services have been very supportive in working with former staff to coordinate securing client records and facilitating referrals to services with other employment and developmental services providers.
Many people are still bringing goods to Goodwill locations. The organization respectfully asks the public to stop bringing items to our stores and donation centres at this time. Please consider donating your goods to a number of valuable registered, non-profit organizations such as the Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Habitat for Humanity, which all have Goodwill’s goal of helping those facing barriers or who are in need.
I would like to thank the Canadian Diabetes Association, through its Clothesline program, which is helping through the current situation by collecting donated items and sharing in the revenue it generates.
Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.