Tamara Seebaran (left) of Communitas Supportive Care Society presents the 2018 Inclusive Employer of the Year Award to Jamie Sabler-French of Cineplex. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)

Businesses recognized with Inclusive Employers Excellence Awards

Five Abbotsford businesses honoured at awards evening

Several local businesses were honoured with the Inclusive Employers Excellence Awards on Oct. 3 in Abbotsford.

The event, held at Browns Socialhouse, recognized those who have made inclusive hiring part of their business model.

The 2018 Inclusive Employer of the Year Award went to Cineplex and was received by Jamie Sadler-French.

In an earlier interview, Sadler-French said that hiring inclusively has been a very positive experience.

“People with diverse abilities are good employees,” she said. “They are eager to work and are dependable.”

Other businesses who were celebrated were:

– The Grounds Guys – for Outstanding Commitment to Inclusive Hiring

– Value Village – for Creative Workplace Solutions

– Starbucks (two locations) – for Corporate Leadership in Inclusive Hiring

– Spaghetti Factory – for Individual Commitment to Inclusive Hiring

RELATED: 2017 Inclusive Employers Excellence Awards

RELATED: Communitas celebrates 40 years

Mayor Henry Braun and several city councillors were among those attending the awards night.

Keynote speaker Mohammad Kallas, with CIBC, talked about how the bank has made it a priority to ensure that they have a diverse staff team nation-wide.

This is more than mere optics, he said, but integral to how the financial institution delivers its services.

“Success depends on a leader who can look past stereotypes and stigma to the unique talent that each person has,” he said.

“This makes us good employers and makes us look at our client needs differently as well.”

The awards evening also included a performance by the Mayday Youth Club Choir, made up of people who live with neuro-diversity and their siblings.

Choir director Nicole Provost said there is a 75 per cent unemployment rate among people who live with neuro-diversity. Part of the purpose of her choir is to showcase the abilities of those who may live with challenges.

“Inclusive hiring makes a big difference,” she said. “It’s good for people but also good for the economy.

Lance Green, who accepted one of the awards for Starbucks, spoke of Colton, a young man who lives out the values of their company.

“Our goal as a company is to inspire and nurture those who come into our Starbucks locations but, honestly, Colton inspires and nurtures us as staff,” Green said.

“No one wears the green apron with more pride than Colton and he truly creates a culture of warmth and belonging for all our customers.”

Chris and Juanita Draaistra, who own The Grounds Guys, spoke similarly of the people who live with developmental disabilities who are employed in their business.

“It’s an honour to receive this award but, honestly, it’s a greater honour to have these guys working for us, seeing the joy on their faces when I deliver their paycheques, knowing that their work with us gives them a reason to get up every morning and do a good job,” Chris said.

The second annual Inclusive Employers Excellence Awards were presented by Abbotsford Community Services, AbbotsfordWORKS, and Communitas Supportive Care Society.

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