Kamloops store wins WOW Award

March 19th, 2015

DSC_8968_TerryLake_AlAvila_JulieAlexander_03_19_15_OlsenPhotography (1) (1)Kamloops MLA Terry Lake and employee Julie Alexander today presented Al Avila, Manager of Shoppers Drug Mart at the North Hills Shopping Centre, with a Community Living BC (CLBC) WOW!clbc Award for embracing inclusive employment.

Each year CLBC’s WOW Award recognizes the contributions and innovations of people who are working to build communities that are accepting of all abilities. This year’s awards theme focused on inclusive employment. As part of the three-year Community Action Employment Plan, British Columbians were asked to nominate employers who are hiring adults CLBC serves and creating positive, inclusive workplaces where everyone feels welcome, valued and respected.

Al Avila was nominated by his employee, Julie Alexander, who has worked at Shoppers Drug Mart for over two years. Avila and the staff at Shoppers Drug Mart have embraced inclusion and provided Julie with the same work experience and expectations as they would any other employee.

Four people out of 80 nominations from across the province were chosen for a WOW!clbc Award. The other winners in B.C. are from Penticton, Chilliwack and Vancouver. Nominations were reviewed regionally and then by a provincial committee of individuals served by CLBC, community members, service providers and CLBC staff to determine this year’s winners.

Since 2009, CLBC has presented WOW Awards to recognize British Columbians who are creating opportunities and building awareness for a vision of full citizenship for people with developmental disabilities, one where they lead good lives, have rich relationships, choices in how they live and employment opportunities.

The Community Action Employment Plan is a collaborative strategy that promotes inclusive and supportive employment opportunities.  Among other things, the plan supports coordination of local employment resources and community engagement with employers, government, service providers, volunteers, self advocates, families, community leaders and CLBC staff.  To learn more about CLBC, WOW!clbc Award winners past and present, or the Community Action Employment Plan, visit www.communitylivingbc.ca.

 Quotes:

 Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell 

“In B.C., we have the goal of becoming the most progressive place for people with disabilities in Canada. It’s great to see Al from Shoppers Drug Mart receive this award. Al is breaking down barriers to employment and recognizing that there is a business case for hiring from the disability community.”

 MLA Kamloops-North Thompson, Minister of Health, Terry Lake

“Employing people with developmental disabilities is good for the individual, the business, and the community. There are many great employers in Kamloops whose goal is to foster an inclusive community and workplace. I am pleased that Julie has nominated Al for this award; showcasing their success helps others to realize it’s a smart business decision and rewarding on so many levels.”

 Seonag Mcrae, CLBC CEO

“I want to congratulate Al and all of the WOW nominees for 2014. For many years, Community Living BC has been focused on increasing employment opportunities for individuals while at the same time working towards removing the barriers to hiring people with diverse abilities.”

 Julie Alexander, Shoppers Drug Mart Employee and Nominator

“Al and the team at Shoppers Drug Mart have made me feel that my skills matter and I have a lot to give to the company. I love wearing my uniform and name tag. My friends and family are proud of me and I love my role as an employee of Shoppers Drug Mart! This job has increased my speaking and communication skills and has built my self confidence.”

 Al Avila, Manager of Shoppers Drug Mart and Nominee

“I am truly excited to receive this award, and help other employers recognize the skills adults with developmental disabilities can contribute to the workplace. Julie is hard working, smart and fun and I’m proud to be able to work with her and be a part of her life.”  

Profile: Al Avila, Inclusive Employer, Manager of Shoppers Drug Mart 

  •  Julie’s job first started out helping organize products on the shelves but Al expanded her work to helping in the office and maintaining a clean environment
  •  Al found a way to leverage the diverse talent of adults in Kamloops who want to work to enhance their business growth, creating a win-win solution that provides a long-term job opportunity for people with developmental disabilities.
  •  Al took a step by step approach to outline exact job duties, to be clear about what type of employee he was seeking, took time to meet with support staff to identify individual work traits, and met with Julie’s family members. 
  • Al has customized positions for other people with disabilities in the past. He has supported creating work positions for real pay where people can use their skills and the jobs are made to accommodate the person’s personal styles such as suitable working hours at the person’s pace.
  •  Al and the staff at Shoppers Drug Mart support creating opportunities for leadership by providing hands-on training and encouragement, working alongside individuals and allowing them to determine their own successful work style to get the job done.  

The Case for Inclusive Hiring 

  • A DuPont study showed that 82 per cent of workers who have a disability scored average or above average in performance ratings.
  • A Harris study showed that 55 per cent of employers say that workers who have a disability work harder than other employees.
  • Most job accommodations to help someone with a disability at work cost less than $500.
  •  According to the DuPont survey, 86 per cent of employees who have a disability have average to above average attendance records.
  • Research shows 80 per cent of consumers prefer to support businesses with diverse workforces.
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