Awards for Inclusive Hiring
Several businesses were honoured at the Inclusive Employers Excellence Awards on Thursday, October 19th. The awards were given out at a breakfast event held at the Abbotsford Centre and included an address from Mayor Henry Braun, entertainment by impressionist Ben Simcoe, a panel discussion and a keynote address by Kristen Bower of Vancity.
In his address, Mayor Braun shared the story of Chandler who works at Abbotsford City Hall distributing internal mail, stocking printers and copiers with paper and preparing meeting rooms.
“Chandler’s work is valued and he contributes greatly to our office culture,” Braun said.
Braun lauded the businesses present for their commitment to creating awareness and employment opportunities for people with diverse abilities. The mayor also presented the award for Outstanding Commitment to Inclusive Hiring to Terry MacKay from Tradex.
Other awards presented:
- Innovation in Inclusive Hiring to Vancity, accepted by Matthew Ramsay
- Creative Workplace Solutions to VSSL, accepted by Nathan Bosch and Darren Koop
- Corporate Leadership in Inclusive Hiring, accepted by Ahsan Bandeali from A&W, Jennifer Hunter from Home Depot, and Carly Ferguson from Abbotsford News
- Individual Commitment to Inclusive Hiring to Joelle Rowat of Carillion Canada
The 2017 Inclusive Employer of the Year Award went to the Abbotsford Centre and was accepted by Marvin Robbins. Robbins became emotional as he talked about the employees he’s “privileged to work with.”
“We all have success stories but I want to tell you about ‘Teej’ who came to me 2 or 3 years ago very quiet and shy,” he said. “Today, he’s one of my top employees. He’s the guy who will have the tool I need in his hands before I ask for it. He’s a successful forklift driver and is working at getting his First Aid ticket. I’m just thankful for the chance I get to work with him and all my crew.”
A panel discussion included employers, employees and an employment specialist gave an opportunity to talk about the strengths of hiring inclusively and showed firsthand the difference it makes to people who live with disabilities.
“I am on time, helpful and reliable,” said Karen, who works at Vancity. “Doing this work makes me feel important because I know I am needed.”
Kristen Bower of Vancity gave the keynote address and talked about Vancity’s Workplace Inclusion initiative aimed at hiring people who live with developmental disabilities. More than one third of Vancity’s 60 branches now employ a permanent part-time administrative assistant.
“This is not a token position. It is real, meaningful work that makes a difference to our work flow in each branch,” she said.
Bower shared what the company learned in the process of developing the program. Good planning and collaborating with experts in inclusive hiring in each community were key to the success of the project. She closed with a challenge to those in the audience.
“We are committed to championing all areas of diversity. Will you be committed as well?”
The Inclusive Employers Excellence Awards was presented by Abbotsford Community Services, AbbotsfordWORKS and Communitas Supportive Care Society.