Jan 18, 2016

By Jane Brown

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There is uncertainty as to whether Goodwill will reopen 16 stores, 10 donation centres and two offices that were suddenly shut down yesterday morning.

Donated goods piled up outside the Goodwill collection centre on Richmond Street in downtown Toronto, as donors wondered why no one was there to receive them.

The outlets that were closed are in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia and Brockville. More than 400 employees have been left in limbo.

They are represented by the Canadian Airport Workers Union.

“A lot of people are right in the middle of a pay cycle, so you’ve got outstanding wages in addition to of course, if they are closing, you’ve got severance, you’ve got termination and other benefits that they would be entitled to…we don’t know what’s going to happen with,” explained union lawyer Denis Ellickson.

Ellickson also says its stunning that this is happening because of the amount of revenue that Goodwill has either generated or received from various government levels.

Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Central and Northern Ontario reported total revenue in 2014 of just over $28-million and expenses of just over $29.2 million. The registered charity’s tax filings also show it received more than $4-million in government funding.

A short statement from CEO Keiko Nakamura blamed the closings on a cash flow crisis. Nakamura is the former head of Toronto Community Housing who was fired from the city agency in 2011 in the fallout from a spending scandal.

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