People who have a disability ‘instrumental to labour market’
Tim Hortons franchisees champion inclusive employment practices
Friday July 27, 2012 -- Natalie Hamilton
When Tim Hortons franchisees Mark and Valarie Wafer first hired a person with a disability, they quickly discovered it meant more than doing the right thing.
Including Clint Sparling as a staff member and building an inclusive workforce makes good business sense too, Valarie tells Community Living Leaders.
Since 1995, the Wafers have hired 80 people who have a disability. They currently have 12 people who have a disability working at their six Scarborough coffee shops. Their appreciation of people who have a disability and their advocacy efforts have grown along with their workforce.
“We didn’t really have any experience in working with people who have a disability but we were willing to give it a try,” Valarie recalls.
“We very quickly learned Clint was such a dedicated employee who gave so much to the job. There was a change in the general team too. Belonging to an inclusive workforce is something special to them.”
The Wafers have learned people who have a disability are also “instrumental to the labour market,” Valarie says. About 16 per cent of people in Canada have a disability and the Wafers are reflecting that demographic in their hiring decisions.
Mark and Valarie advocate for the inclusion of people who have a disability in the workforce through their involvement in their local Rotary Club and Rotary at Work, a partnership between local Rotary Clubs and Community Living Ontario. The goal of Rotary at Work is to help Ontario residents who have a disability find meaningful work.
Mark is also a member of the Ontario Disability Employment Network’s champions’ league.
Valarie envisions a future in Ontario where including people who have a disability in the workforce is common practice.
She would like to see all companies’ hiring practices represent the demographics of their community.
“Once (employers) realize what a valuable impact this will make to their bottom line, their workforce culture and customer loyalty, our province will be a much stronger place to live and work.”
The Wafers were recently recognized for their dedication to creating inclusive workplaces with Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals. The medals pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's 60-year reign.
- More to come
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