Inclusion in Employment – a Win/Win Situation

The Vancouver Sun published an article on October 28th related to the power of inclusion in the workplace. The concept of the story is that when employers turn disability to diverse ability, it becomes a win for the business and a win for the individual. Hiring differently abled workers is a catalyst for positive cultural change in the workplace, spurring innovation and even employee retention.

The article highlights the experiences of Gabi & Jules Handmade Pies in Port Moody, discussing their team of baking specialists, each seemingly faster and more skilled than the last. Aaron can perfectly fold dozens of pie boxes in less than two hours, and when they have enough, he is outta there. Part-timers Ryan, Chris and Alex come in to scoop and weigh cookie dough, which they do by the hundreds with speed and accuracy. The key is ultra-short, ultra-intense shifts, that require a special kind of worker. What is special about the workers at Gabi & Jules Handmade Pies is that these hired guns are people with autism, some of whom are non-verbal. Seven of their 15 staff have some form of autism.

Rather than being a drag on productivity, workers who have autism at Gabi & Jules are matched with jobs they can knock out of the park. One of the owners of Gabi & Jules, Lisa Beecroft’s daughter Juliana has autism, so creating opportunity for people like her was the inspiration for the bakery. But Gabi & Jules is also a key cog in a larger empire, supplying baked goods to the Beecrofts’ three Caffe Divano locations.

Lisa is a member of the Presidents Group, made up of about two dozen B.C. business executives committed to creating inclusive workplaces. Inclusive workplaces make business sense and social sense. It helps us staff positions effectively and move towards a more inclusive society.

In our Employment program, Community Ventures Society works hard to match the individuals we serve with jobs that they enjoy and will excel in. This allows them to go out into the community and contribute as well as earn money for their own needs. We fully support the efforts of Gabi & Jules as well as other inclusive employers throughout BC.


To read more about this story, check out the article in the Vancouver Sun.