A culture of inclusion has always been a top priority at Shoppers Drug Mart in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. However, one unanswered question remained − if inclusive employment was the ultimate goal, where or how could Shoppers Drug Mart get started?
This is where Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) became involved, acting as the mechanism to facilitate Shoppers Drug Mart’s vision of an inclusive workplace. Three years and three successful hires later, the partnership Shoppers Drug Mart has formed with RWA is stronger than ever.
RWA simplifies the process of inclusive hiring by helping employers navigate the steps involved. RWA not only connects employers with qualified and capable candidates with intellectual disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but they also ensure that both the potential employee and employer are supported throughout the employment process − from hiring and selection, to onboarding and beyond. Tammy Devlin, Front Store Manager, emphasizes the ease of the RWA process, “they’re very receptive and make [it] easy. This program has been such a privilege and a gift.”
During their partnership with RWA, the team has most recently welcomed Rachel, Katelynn and Faith as merchandisers to the Shoppers Drug Mart family. In their roles, responsibilities include cleaning, organizing and stocking shelves.
To ensure a smooth hiring process, RWA has connected Shoppers Drug Mart to the Yukon Association of Community Living (YACL), RWA’s local employment agency partner. YACL has provided vital hands-on support to Rachel, Katelynn and Faith during employee training, and their shifts. Similarly, YACL has acted as a key resource for Devlin and her team if any questions arose.
Overall feedback from the Shoppers team has been more than positive. Rachel has continuously been praised for the positive attitude she brings to her work, while Katelynn has been praised for her loyalty, reliability, and punctuality.
In addition, Katelynn has recently been asked to expand on her responsibilities and start training on other positions such as front cash and freight. “It has shown people and my team that it doesn’t matter who you are, that anybody is able to work,” shares Devlin.
Devlin notes that she is keen to continue her work with RWA, knowing that adding valuable employees such as Rachel, Faith, and Katelynn will be crucial to ensuring continued success as a business. Consistent success has led to local recognition by YACL for being an inclusive hiring leader in their region, “I love this program. I can’t say enough good things about it. Employers would be silly not to get involved with RWA.”
Funded by the Government of Canada and active in 20 communities across the country, RWA is a national partnership of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) and their member organizations.
If you’re interested in learning more about inclusive hiring, contact us today.