Sydney Call Centre Employees Complete Comeback With $25,000 Salvation Army Donation

by Dec 5, 2019News


It was just about this time last year when Wayne Sharpe was among local call centre employees waiting in a long line at the Salvation Army for a turkey donation to help him put a Christmas dinner on the table.

Just one year later he gathered with hundreds of fellow employees at the company, now known as the Sydney Call Centre, to celebrate a complete turnaround of their fortunes and to give the Salvation Army a $25,000 donation as a thank you for its support during their dark days.

Sydney Call Centre employees made a $25,000

Sydney Call Centre employees made a $25,000 donation to the Salvation Army on Wednesday. The donation was a thank you of sorts after the Salvation Army offered employees assistance last Christmas. From left, Maj. Charlene Vincent, Maj. Corey Vincent, and Todd Riley, vice-president of the call centre.

Wayne Sharpe

“The way things are, it is going to be a way better Christmas and things are a lot better than they were last year,” Sharpe said. “At this point in time last year we weren’t getting paid, we didn’t know what was ahead of us, but this year we are getting paid and everybody has money for Christmas.”

Dan MacInnis

Dan MacInnis, a longtime call centre employee, was about to have a meal in the lunch room when word of the company’s closure was revealed last year.

“It was devastating. You walked into work and it was like you don’t have work anymore,” he said following Wednesday’s cheque presentation.


“I was here 14 years at that point and I had come to work everyday never even thinking something like that could happen. You just kind of embrace what you have because it might go tomorrow.”

He said Maj. Corey Vincent and the Salvation Army really stepped up for the call centre employees in their time of need, so there was no doubt they would give back as soon as they could.

“Corey Vincent, he has an amazing heart. When we sat down with him last year he was literally in tears hearing some of the stories we were telling him about people that didn’t have oil and things like that. He was right on the front lines.

“(It was not) even a question that we wanted to give it back to them.”

Wednesday’s $25,000 donation was raised through payroll deductions, ticket sales and bake sales.

Sydney Call Centre owner Anthony Marlowe also made a $5,000 contribution.

“I’m not going to cry but I’m going to say that you have no idea the impact that this money will have in Sydney and Cape Breton,” Vincent told the employees on Wednesday.

“The results of your hard work and your donation will be felt this Christmas throughout Cape Breton and I can’t thank you enough for that.”


Sydney Call Centre

  • 500 employees when ServiCom shutdown Dec. 6, 2018
  • 650 employee at Sydney Call Centre on Dec. 4, 2019
  • 800-plus employees expected in near future.
  • $25,000 Sydney Call Centre donation to Salvation Army

The donation was “unexpected,” according to Vincent, adding the Salvation Army simply did what they could to help neighbours that were hurting.

“We just wanted to step up to the plate to make sure you guys had a good Christmas and that you were taken care of but we had no idea that, that act of kindness would result in this.”

While the Salvation Army was the employees’ overwhelming choice to receive support this year, Todd Riley, vice-president of the local call centre, said others in the community will be considered for assistance in future years as the call centre continues to grow and flourish.

“The Salvation Army was just there for us right at the beginning and we couldn’t be prouder of having a neighbour come over and say ‘whatever you need, whatever you need help with — even if it is counselling on dealing with job loss — we are there for you,’” Riley said.

The Sydney Call Centre made a $25,000 donation to the Salvation Army on Wednesday. From left, Maj. Charlene Vincent, Maj. Corey Vincent, Todd Riley, vice-president of the Sydney Call Centre, and Flora MacDonald, a controller at the call centre. MacDonald is shown handing Cory Vincent an actual cheque, just after a large ceremonial cheque was presented.

“I thought it was a touching moment. It really opened the eyes to everyone in our call centre and I think in the community, as well. There’s an opportunity to become a better person and grow and foster a relationship with everyone in the municipality.”

The growth of the call centre since January likely means its employees will be able to offer assistance to the community again this time next year.

When the centre first closed on Dec. 6, 2018 about 500 employees who serviced four clients were out of work. Today, there are almost 650 employed at the call centre, serving eight clients, and Riley said “innovative and creative ideas” could soon push that employee mark closer to 800.

The owner of Iowa-based Marlowe Companies Inc. gave full credit to the call centre employees for the Salvation Army donation and the current success of the call centre.

“The Sydney Call Centre was both MCI’s most profitable and highest revenue generating for 2019,” Marlowe told the Post via email. “In addition to having an amazing team in Sydney, it is MCI’s largest contact centre, that capacity, along with having it full with amazing employees, enables Sydney to be No. 1 for MCI.”

Marlowe also credited the response of the federal and provincial governments during the time of crisis. The federal government provided a $500,000 loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to help expand operations, while the province offered a three-year payroll rebate worth nearly $2.5 million.

“ACOA’s no interest business loans are a great way for Canadian companies to obtain low cost access to capital,” according to Marlowe.

“The payroll rebate, which credits back a portion of the payroll taxes generated in exchange for meeting certain employment levels, is a tremendous way for provinces to incentivize employers to grow and sustain jobs, while funding the incentive via the incremental taxes created by the those jobs. The program certainly influences our decision making on where to allocate work to the benefit of Nova Scotia.”

Reflecting back on the past year and all its up and downs, “a nice turn of events” is how Sharpe referred to the end result.

“I’m very happy for the way (Marlowe) did things for us. He brought everything to fulfilment for us and we are all back to work. We are a team again.”

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