Founded in 1996, Belpro Medical is a family-owned company specializing in the manufacture and distribution of products mainly intended for the healthcare market. Specialist in orthopedic supply, restraint, preventive surface and identification bracelet, Belpro Medical stands out for its great ability to adapt its products to the needs of its customers.
Belpro Medical is a great example of a small business that has hired via the Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) program to meet its labour needs while providing job opportunities to a pool of under-represented candidates in the labour market. Among employers participating in the RWA program, more and more employers in the health sector rely on RWA to access a skilled workforce.
Julie Bélanger, President of Belpro Medical, was first contacted by a RWA team member in October 2019. Like many other business managers committed to inclusion and diversity, Ms. Belanger took advantage of the relationship with RWA to help her fill company vacancies with talented candidates who met the job requirements, and who also had an intellectual disability or autism. “We haven’t changed the aspects of the work. The candidates we hired via RWA do all the tasks we were looking to accomplish. The tasks that are performed are routine and the employees are diligent in carrying out them. “
One of the benefits of this collaboration is the turnkey recruitment service offered by RWA and the program’s partner employment agencies*. RWA, by coordinating the selection process, according to the criteria sought by the employer, allows the employer to have access to a wide pool of candidates. Candidates were screened based on their ability to work and evolve within the business on the same terms as all the Belpro Medical’ employees. As a result, Ms. Bélanger adjusted the recruitment process so that she did not have to conduct a formal job interview since candidates were highly recommended by professionals who support candidates in their job search.
To date, two employees referred by RWA are employed in the company out of a total of 23 employees. The manager emphasizes the importance of being supported by partners agencies when integrating new employees into employment: “The employment agencies supported us in their integration, each of the employees with different profiles, and allowed us to establish good management practices. The support provided by the agencies has allowed us to identify the individual strengths of each employee and put in place the necessary accommodations to welcome them.”
Currently, about 15 employees from the company work from home, including an employee who lives with an intellectual disability, referred by the RWA program. He does assembly and packaging. Ms. Bélanger is very satisfied with his job performance. “He does his job very well. It takes good dexterity. The work is done piecemeal and every month it reaches our standards, both in terms of quality and quantity.”
Another employee, hired in November 2020, works at the company’s head office and she is also doing assembly and parkaging. Ms. Bélanger commented, “She does the job properly. She works meticulously and she is very social. She spreads happiness around her.” The manager also reports that all employees appreciate her presence and have been open to and supportive of hiring people with a neurodiversity. Ms. Bélanger states that her team has been very supportive in ensuring that Ms. François is fully included in the work environment and work culture. “My team is sensitive to the act of hiring neurodivergent people.”
The manager concluded by mentioning that hiring candidates with autism or an intellectual disability was a great decision for her company, and that hiring via RWA with support from local employment agencies made the process very smooth, straightforward and successful. She indicated she would be very willing to hire again through RWA if and when the opportunity arises. Her advice for other employers who would like to hire in an inclusive way : focus on openness and flexibility.