TORONTO – The CEO of Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario says the operation will remain closed until further notice.
Goodwill has closed 16 stores, 10 donation centres and two offices – affecting more than 430 workers – due to cash flow problems. It does not affect Goodwills in London, Sarnia, St. Catharines and Hamilton.
CEO Keiko Nakamura told a news conference on Monday that Goodwill is exploring options to deal with a “cash flow crisis.”
Nakamura says Goodwill had moved to cut costs by reducing overhead and also cut staff hours, describing it as a “very low margin operation” that was facing increasing competition.
A lawyer with the Canadian Airport Workers Union, which represents the workers, has said the workers were greeted with locked doors when they showed up for their shifts Sunday morning.
Nakamura says she has met with union leaders and has assured them that Goodwill is working with stakeholders and various levels of government to find a solution.
“In order to ensure that we were not asking staff to work at a time when we didn’t feel that we would be able to cover their costs, we had to close down the stores,” she said.
Nakamura said many people do not realize the amount of work required to process the donations that Goodwill receives.
It requires “mass amounts of staff labour” to produce and recycle and separate before donated items are recycled or go into the Goodwill stores, she said.
The non-profit group has operated for more than 80 years in Ontario providing affordable goods and helping people gain access to training and work.