Goodwill employees say they were paid Friday after cash-flow questions
News comes days after 450 employees locked out
Goodwill's chief executive officer announced that employees would get paid Friday after questions regarding the charity's cash flow left the payments in limbo.
"I am pleased to announce that Goodwill staff will receive their pay due for hours worked up to and including Jan. 16, 2016," Keiko Nakamura, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario, said in a news release Friday morning.
"Goodwill staff can expect to receive pay into their bank accounts by end of day today."
A few employees confirmed to CBC News Friday afternoon that they had, in fact, received their pay.
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Nakamura's statement came less than a week after 450 Toronto-area Goodwill workers were locked out due to a "cash flow crisis" that led to a shutdown of the long-standing charitable organization.
"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," Nakamura said.
At a news conference Friday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said her "heart goes out to the employees" of an organization that receives $4 million annually in subsidies from federal and provincial governments.
"There are a lot of training and employment dollars that go into the Goodwill organization. It's been a wonderful organization, it's been an institution in this province and so it's very important that we find out exactly what happened. And my hope would be: find out what happened, be able to find a way to rectify it, and the organization can carry on," Wynne said.
This crisis may present an opportunity for a transformation that allows Goodwill to successfully fulfil its mission in reinvented and empowering ways.- Keiko Nakamura , Goodwill CEO
"This is a very important service."
The group brought in roughly $28 million in 2014, according to Denis Ellickson, the lawyer representing unionized workers.
The CEO noted there are also records of employment being mailed next week that will allow workers to apply for employment insurance and other assistance.
"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," Nakamura said.
The non-profit chain's CEO said Goodwill is working with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Community and Social Services "to co-ordinate securing client records and facilitating referrals to services with other employment and developmental services providers."
Ellickson said he was "delighted" and "relieved" when he received a call from Nakamura at around 8 a.m. ET Friday regarding the payments.
"This [payroll] is just a first step. We are awaiting further word."
He noted the company informed him it would like to be back in business as soon as possible, which is the same goal he said he has for employees, but Goodwill was "short on details."
"As difficult 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," Nakamura said.
Brown and Cohen, the public relations firm representing Nakamura, told CBC News via email that none of the board members are paid for their work because they are volunteer positions and the former board members resigned last Friday.
Goodwill employees are represented by the Canadian Airport Workers Union. The deadline for workers to file a grievance against the company is Tuesday.
Last Sunday, Nakamura called the situation "fluid" and said "Goodwill is exploring a variety of options."
Goodwill wants the public to know they are no longer accepting donations. People are encouraged to send their goods to other groups such as the Salvation Army, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Habitat for Humanity.
With files from Marion Warnica