Opposition questions Ontario oversight of Goodwill after government provided funds

An opposition critic says he wonders whether the Ontario government monitored Goodwill Industries closely enough after one ministry gave the company more than $1.5 million in 2015 to help create jobs for adults with developmental disabilities.

'They're going to have to have a very good explanation,' PC critic Randy Pettapiece says

The Ontario government had been giving the charity more than $1.5 million annually in recent years. (Cheryl Krawchuk/CBC)

An opposition critic says he wonders whether the Ontario government monitored Goodwill Industries closely enough after one ministry gave the company more than $1.5 million in 2015 to help create jobs for adults with developmental disabilities.

Randy Pettapiece, Conservative critic for Community and Social Services and MPP for Perth-Wellington, accused the provincial government Wednesday of providing the funds to the charitable organization without proper oversight.

The government had been giving the charity more than $1.5 million annually in recent years.

"They're going to have to have a very good explanation as to why they kept pumping money into Goodwill, especially if, as the rumours say, they knew what was going on," Pettapiece said.

Helena Jaczek, the Minister of Community and Social Services, said government staff reviewed the charity before approving the funds.

"And they had no suspicions of anything that might, you know, raise any questions, essentially," she said.

Keiko Nakamura, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern Central and Northern Ontario, announced her resignation Monday and said the company is continuing with its bankruptcy process.

Nakamura said efforts to restructure have been unsuccessful and there is no viable option that would allow the organization to re-emerge from the bankruptcy process.

Goodwill is $6 million in debt, $4.2 million of which is owed to former employees in vacation entitlement and severance.

In January, the charitable organization announced it was closing 16 stores, 10 donation centres and two offices due to cash-flow problems, affecting more than 430 workers in  the Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia and Brockville areas.

The province is in line with other creditors to try to recover its final monthly payment to Goodwill of about $150,000. 

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