The Benefits of an Inclusive Workplace

A very enlightening story about the power of inclusion in the workplace. The article mentions how sometimes it just takes a moment to realize certain things. For Sam Benamron, that moment came in 2016, as he was giving out gift cards: One of the physiotherapy clinics he owns had been the main sponsor for a production of the I Can Dream Theatre, a charitable performing arts company for adults with special needs. “Part of the deal was that we would buy $100 gift cards to pay them for putting on the play,” he recalled.

As he handed them to each of the players, “I saw their reaction, and it was priceless. That $100 gift card was as if they had just won the lottery. A light went on. I said, ‘I need to do this on a more personal level.’

That year, he hired two of the young people to work at his Verdun clinic. The following year, after he acquired a clinic in Montreal North, he hired a third. Paul Fernandes, Ainslie Macdonald and Lindsay Oksenberg do such tasks as launder towels and pillowcases and fold them, wash equipment and clean the beds — tasks Benamron was able to eliminate from the physiotherapists’ responsibilities to free them to spend more time with patients. They’re called physio helpers: It’s a regular job, with statutory holidays and vacation pay.

The three have flourished. Filmmaker Merrill Matthews, who is also involved with I Can Dream Theatre, has made a touching and beautiful 24-minute documentary about them and their experience, to be screened March 28 at the Wagar Adult Education Centre in Côte-St-Luc as part of an evening symposium about inclusive hiring.

This really demonstrates the power of promoting inclusive in the our workplaces. To read more about this story, check out the article.