Doubleday Canada staff laid off
TORONTO – When single mom Corinne Wong got home, she was going to hug her son and then get ready to apply for employment insurance.
With only weeks to go before Christmas, she was one of about 100 people fired on Thursday after DB Media, otherwise known as Doubleday Canada and Columbia House Canada, closed down after declaring bankruptcy.
“This is not such a good day,” said Wong, who was a website specialist for Doubleday, a book distributor.
“It’s not such a great time of year, being close to the holidays. A lot of us have families.”
Wong, 44, says while she still plans for a festive Christmas with her six-year-old, Jarrett, some of the holiday spirit was sucked out of her.
“Everyone’s upstairs collecting their things,” said Wong through a trembling lip. “It’s tough. We’re like a family.”
Wong was one of the first fired workers to emerge from Doubleday’s corporate headquarters at Finch Ave. and Neilson Rd.
All employees were gathered together on the second floor and given the news at 2 p.m., she said.
Brenda Hefferon, a marketing specialist and 14-year veteran of the company, fought back tears.
“We’ve been through it all together,” Hefferon said. “We share everything together — weddings, funerals, births, deaths.”
In a letter to its outgoing employees, workers were told that “as a consequence of the bankruptcy, the operations of the business have ceased and … your employment with the company has been terminated immediately.”
DB Media is a part of Direct Brands, a distributor of books, music and movies. An e-mail from Direct Brands CEO Deborah Fine announced the “strategic decision to close the Canadian operation” as a result of conditions in the Canadian marketplace.
“U.S. operations will not be affected in any way by the closure in Canada,” she said.
Jeff Betts, a graphic designer with music distributor Columbia House, said employees had been hearing rumours for weeks.
Because it is a bankruptcy “none of us got severance – nothing,” said Betts, 34.