Todd Weimer (left) and Nathan Bosch (second from left) of VSSL are shown here two of their former employees, Scott and Trevor, who have both since moved on to other employment in their communities. Nathan and Todd continue to hire people with diverse abilities. (Photo by Angelika Dawson)

Todd Weimer (left) and Nathan Bosch (second from left) of VSSL are shown here two of their former employees, Scott and Trevor, who have both since moved on to other employment in their communities. Nathan and Todd continue to hire people with diverse abilities. (Photo by Angelika Dawson)

Inclusive Employer Awards to be presented

Businesses to be honoured at event on Oct. 19 in Abbotsford

Several businesses in Abbotsford will be honoured Oct. 19, when the Inclusive Employer Excellence Awards are presented.

The awards recognize businesses who are committed to hiring people with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges or brain injuries.

The event is presented by Abbotsford Community Services, AbbotsfordWORKS and Communitas Supportive Care Society.

Tamara Seebaran works as an employment specialist with Communitas and says it’s important to recognize business owners who make it a matter of course to hire inclusively.

“There is still a stigma attached to hiring people with diverse abilities,” she said.

“These businesses are proving the stigma wrong. They are successful, long-standing employers who know that having a diverse workforce is good for business.”

Nalish Ladha, community and employer relations person for AbbotsfordWORKS, agrees.

“These employers understand the benefits of inclusion and embrace diversity, which gives them a competitive edge and a healthier bottom line,” she said. “Inclusive hiring just makes good business sense. These companies will continue to access talent, which will lead to innovation and enable them to thrive as a business.”

Matts Batryn, an employment specialist with Abbotsford Community Services, notes that as of the 2012 Census, 13.7 per cent of Canadians identify as having a disability.

“The employers who excel at hiring inclusively should be commended for their commitments but speak to any of them and they will simply say that having a dependable, hard-working employee is reward in itself,” he said.

Nathan Bosch of VSSL Outdoor Utility Tools has hired several employees through Communitas to do assembly line work and quality control.

“They are always on time for work and they do a fantastic job,” he said, adding that customers appreciate the fact that VSSL is an inclusive hirer.

VSSL will receive the award for Creative Workplace Solutions.

Other businesses who will be recognized include: Tradex, VanCity, A&W, Home Depot, the Abbotsford News and Carillon.

The Abbotsford Centre will receive the 2017 Inclusive Employer of the Year Award.

The awards take place at an invitation-only breakfast on Thursday, Oct. 19 at Abbotsford Centre.

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