Toronto-area Goodwill outlets to remain closed 'until further notice': CEO

The 26 Goodwill outlets that abruptly ceased operations on Sunday “will remain closed until further notice,” the organization’s CEO said.

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On Monday, the union representing Goodwill employees says it's doing everything it can to get about 430 workers back on the job.

Artan Milaj, the vice-president of the Canadian Airport Workers, said he's been in constant talks with the charity organization after it abruptly closed 16 stores and 10 donation centres on Sunday.

"We are going back and forth with (Goodwill)," he said Monday morning. "We're in talks constantly to see what can be done and return those workers as soon as possible to work."

But the two did not come to a solution, Goodwill Industries CEO Keiko Nakamura said in a press conference after Monday’s talks.

Employees across the province were surprised when Goodwill shuttered the stores Sunday with no notice. The charity cited a "cash flow crisis" as the reason for the sudden closures. Two offices have also been shuttered.

Nakamura said the unexpected closure was the result of a “cash flow crisis” caused by a combination of increased competition, high rent costs and fewer donations during certain parts of the year.

“It became clear that we would not be in a position to be able to cover some of those costs,” she said, adding that 85 per cent of revenue is based on sales.

In a statement, Nakamura called the closures a "fluid situation," and said the company will explore a variety of options to continue its decades-long mission.

Goodwill’s board of directors has resigned, she said, but the organization continues to work with various levels of government and stakeholders to find solutions to the crisis.

Nakamura is the former CEO of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. She was fired from her position in 2011 following a spending and expense scandal at the corporation.

She did not comment on her future at the organization.

Goodwill centres in some parts of the province, such as Hamilton, London, Sarnia and St. Catharines, have not been affected by the closures.


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