Winners of the 2020 UnTapped B.C. Workplace Inclusion Awards

2021 Virtual Conference – Fireside Chat: Reimagining Accessibility

2020 Award Finalists and Nominees



Ash MacLeod - Save on Meats (2020 Winner)

Ash has led the way in creating an inclusive work environment at 43 West Hastings by prioritizing inclusive hiring, creating a culture of acceptance and openness, by ensuring that all staff has their individual needs met at work, and organizing training for the management team by sending them to Accessible Employers workshops amongst other things. He maintains and seeks out new connections with local training and hiring agencies, and offers Save On Meats for training opportunities and practicum placements for at risk youth and people with traditional barriers to employment.

Along with operating a customer facing counter service dining experience, the bulk of Save On Meats work is in
combatting food insecurity in their neighbourhood in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside. Their Daily Meal Program feeds 1,000 of the community’s most marginalized people every day and is focused on creating a platform of stability for recipients to
allow them to overcome their own barriers to upward mobility. One of the programs that our charity runs to fundraise
for these meals, Plenty of Plates, sees Save On Meats employees educating volunteer groups and advocating for all
members of our community. Through Save On Meat’s work in food security, Ash has proven to be a staunch advocate for people living in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside, many facing their own barriers to upward mobility. His tireless efforts to break biases and stigma have resulted in thousands of people being educated every year on the importance of challenging our perceptions of a community that many actively avoid, doing this through social connections over food and as a result, creating advocates and allies for a marginalized group that desperately needs them. He has led the way in creating an inclusive work environment at Save on Meats which has a 50% employment rate of persons with barriers.

Save On Meats

Brody McDearmid - Meridian Meats & Farm Market

Brody McDearmid is the CFO for Meridian Meats and Farm Market. He is a leader in fostering and exmplifying inclusive hiring practices whose inspiration comes from his son David, who is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is Brody’s hope that his sone one day will enjoy a career that will bring him reward and fulfillment.

Since starting their inclusive hiring efforts in June 2017, Brody has been intentional in his recruiting efforts to hire more people with disabilities. These efforts include partnering with local community living organizations, WorkBC, participating in Spectrum Works – a job fair for individuals with autism, and partnering with Ready, Willing, and Able – joining a group of employers who are committed to hiring individuals with autism or intellectual disabilities. Brody has also taken the time to share his knowledge on inclusive hiring and retention at panels and speaking engagements such as the Autism in the Workplace conference. Through Meridian, they have also joined the Community of Accessible Employers for the Presidents Group, and sharing their inclusive practices with other employers.

“It’s important to note that hiring people with disabilities is not about charity. While being an equal opportunity employer feels good, if a business is to be viable it needs to run its operations well and be fiscally responsible. The fact is that hiring people with diverse-abilities makes good business

Meridian Meats & Farm Market

Dave Woogman - London Drugs Broadway

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Brittany Marwick
Ethos Career Management Group
Jennifer LeBrun
ULAT Dryer Balls
Robbie Hsieh
Canucks Autism Network
Farokh Abdul Zahir
Shoppers Drug Mart East Hastings
Johanna Li
EMBERS Vancouver
Tarita Devenock
Travel for All
Jane Shin
Vancouver Community College
Odette Dantzer
British Columbia Public Services Agency
Taylor Chobotiuk




City of Surrey (2020 Winner)

About City Of Surrey:
The City of Surrey is the largest city by land area and second most populated in Metro Vancouver. We are a forward-thinking, globally-recognized leader in building vibrant, sustainable communities. Our city is one of the fastest growing, diverse cities in Canada. Throughout Surrey we offer residents improved access to recreation and fitness facilities, transportation options, police services and green spaces. This makes each community a vital part of a truly livable, modern city. Our approach has given us opportunities to build an accessible and sustainable city where people of all abilities can comfortably live, visit, work and play.

The City of Surrey is committed providing accessible and inclusive services, programs, and opportunities for all members of our community. The City has an inclusive hiring strategy that focuses on attracting, hiring and promoting a diverse workforce that includes individuals with disabilities. We strive to interview and hire individuals with disabilities into existing positions within the city using a minimum of modifications. Our Human Resources team works closely with disability employment agencies to ensure support throughout the hiring process and into employment. We believe inclusive hiring is important as it allows our residents, of all abilities, to see themselves reflected in the City, our community and our work as well as recognize their own potential for employment and community inclusion.  We believe in creating a resilient workplace that values diverse thought and the unique skills that that people with all abilities bring.

Binners' Project

About Binners’ Project:
Binners’ Project is a group of waste-pickers aided by support staff dedicated to improving their economic opportunities, and reducing the stigma they face as informal recyclable collectors. Binners are among one of the most marginalized groups in urban areas. Their livelihoods stem from refunds received from used containers collected from bins. Binners positively contribute to our environment by diverting a considerable amount of waste from landfills.

“Binners’ Project is a group of waste-pickers aided by support staff dedicated to improving their economic opportunities, and reducing the stigma they face as informal recyclable collectors. Binners are among one of the most marginalized groups in urban areas. Their livelihoods stem from refunds received from used containers collected from bins. Binners positively contribute to our environment by diverting a considerable amount of waste from landfills.”

Kinsmen Lodge

About Kinsmen Lodge:
Kinsmen Lodge has a rich and proud history of serving the diverse and varied population of the Surrey community since 1975. We are governed by the Whalley & District Senior Citizens Housing Society, a registered charity and non-profit organization which was incorporated in 1961.  As advocates of the Eden Philosophy of Care™, we are committed to a loving and holistic approach to healthcare services.  We believe in maintaining high standards of care and are Accredited with Exemplary Standing with Accreditation Canada.  Our core values are Respect, Dignity, Independent Choices, Safety, Compassion and Quality of Care.  In their lifetime of achievements and work, each of our Elders has touched many lives before journeying to Kinsmen Lodge.  We continuously strive to keep them engaged, interested and connected in whatever way works best for them – living is our focus.  Our Elders inspire us and it is an honour to provide their care.

“Kinsmen Lodge is thrilled to be nominated in the non-profit & public sector category for the UnTapped 2020 BC Workplace Inclusion Award.  We take great pride in being inclusive and providing opportunities for people with different needs throughout our care home.  We make every effort to lead the way in accessibility in our workforce through our direct sponsorship of students with special needs, targeting and recruiting volunteers with physical and mental challenges and our ongoing commitment to hiring persons with disabilities.  Our diverse staff are valued, respected and appreciated members of the Kinsmen Lodge family and help make a difference in our Elders’ quality of life each and every single day.”



British Columbia Libraries Co-operative Sechelt RainCity Housing YWCA Metro Vancouver
Mission Possible West Coast Foundation  
Quest Food Exchange YMCA of Greater Vancouver  




Embers Staffing Solutions (2020 Winner)

About Embers Staffing Solutions:
With a mission to help people rediscover hope and self-sufficiency through meaningful work opportunities, the social enterprise EMBERS Staffing Solutions (ESS) launched in 2008. For 11 years, ESS has provided temporary and transitional jobs to people facing multiple barriers through low-barrier employment opportunities, helping thousands of individuals transform their lives and, in turn, improve the health and safety of the communities in which they reside. ESS is self-sustaining and invests 100% of its profits back into the community through higher hourly wages, equipment and training for workers. In 2019 alone, the organization employed over 2000 people and paid out over $7.8 million in wages and benefits

“Inclusion in the workplace means welcoming, respecting and accommodating the different needs and abilities of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and ways of life.  Thousands of individuals have been marginalized from mainstream employment due to poverty, homelessness, mental/physical health, and racial/ethnic discrimination.  While many have the desire­, talent and ability to work, they may require additional support and employer flexibility to successfully integrate into the workplace.  People with disabilities may be able to work some days and not others requiring flexible time schedules. People starting back after addiction treatment or prison, may require a gradual re-entry while they deal with counselling, health or family issues.  Immigrants may need adjustments to deal with language and settlement issues. Yet in all cases, work is a transformative power that builds self-esteem, a sense of belonging, provides hope for a better future and a way to contribute back to the community.  Inclusion in the workplace is about recognizing the value of every person and creating a way for them to contribute. “

H.A.V.E Culinary Training Society

About H.A.V.E Cafe:

Hope Action Values Ethics Culinary Training Society is a registered charity and nonprofit that opened in 2007. H.A.V.E. offers an eight week culinary training program as well as an advanced Professional Cook Training Program for people that face barriers to employment, particularly residents of the Downtown Eastside. H.A.V.E. also operates a cafe and catering social enterprise that give our students on-the-job training and help directly fund our programs.

The purpose of H.A.V.E. is to source persons with challenges to employment through social and employment service providers in the D.T.E.S., Strathcona and North Shore; improve their life skills; teach them a specific occupational skill (cooking) in an actual work environment, where food is served to real customers, and place those who successfully complete the training into stable employment with members of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

 “At H.A.V.E. we believe that inclusion in the workplace means taking the time to learn about each person and what their specific needs are (whether they are physical, emotional, environmental and so on) and using that information to do what we can to ensure that each individual has equal resources and opportunities for success.  This requires trust, strong communication and an ongoing commitment to evaluate where the employee or student is at and make tweaks and changes over time. Our goal is to have each person feel respected, that they are growing professionally and contributing to our organization. At H.A.V.E. our work environment has a family feel where everyone is valued and no one is left out.”


Potluck Cafe Society

About Potluck Catering:
Potluck Café Society transforms lives by creating jobs and providing healthy food for people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). An award–winning social enterprise, Potluck Café Society (a registered charity) owns and operates Potluck Café & Catering, a thriving business that employs neighbourhood residents and provides up to twenty five percent of the operating revenue required to run the Society’s ongoing programs surrounding food security and nutrition on the DTES.

“Inclusion in the workplace means every single person working or volunteering for Potluck is treated with the same level of dignity, respect, and kindness. Each member of the Potluck family is given the same opportunity to succeed and for those who need additional assistance, help is always available so they can come to work knowing they have the support they need and go home with a sense of accomplishment.”



Atira Property Management Starworks (DDA)
Green Chair Recycling The Cleaning Solution
Just Work  


WORKPLACE INCLUSION CHAMPION – Small Business (Under 100 Employees)


Gabi & Jules Handmade Pies & Baked Goods (2020 Winner)

About Gabi & Jules:
Gabi & Jules is a bakery in Port Moody that specializes in pies and baked goodness and is inclusive of individuals of all abilities. Named for their daughters Gabriela & Juliana, they were inspired to create an inclusive workplace based on the fact that their eldest daughter Juliana has autism and they saw how isolating that diagnosis can be. They opened their bakery with a mission to create a place where people could find acceptance and purpose and therefore we build inclusivity into our business from the outset. Prior to COVID, 35% of the workforce at Gabi & Jules were individuals on the autism spectrum. As they’ve reopened and redefined their business, they have continued to work to find ways to create meaningful employment opportunities for individuals of all abilities.

By creating an inclusive workplace we have seen firsthand all of the tremendous benefits that it has on our business. Leading with kindness and acceptance has cultivated a great environment where all team members can feel valued for their contributions and take pride in where they work. Our philosophy when it comes to inclusion is rooted in creating meaningful employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities through various approaches including job carving and looking at gaps in our team and seeing potential for how we can create employment opportunities.

Toys R' Us Coquitlam
Save on Meats

About Save on Meats:
The mandate at Save On Meats includes inclusive hiring practices of people with traditional barriers to employment. Their hiring program not only creates meaningful employment opportunities for people with barriers of all kinds, but also greatly contributes to a positive and empathetic work environment, making our organization’s work culture a draw for all of our staff.

Save On Meat’s corporate culture supports and offers internal opportunities for training and advancement to all members of their work force. They partner with several employment organizations that offer ongoing support to  team members if needed to ensure their comfort and success. Their management team has access to multiple training opportunities to help them lead our diverse team, including Accessible Employers workshops.

50% of the Save on Meats workforce identify as having either mental or physical disabilities, and/or a history of poverty, addiction, or a criminal record.
In an industry known for a high turnover rate, they have seen 70% employee retention vs. the average hospitality rate of 30%. They credit this largely to their barrier employment program.



London Drugs – Gibsons The Clubhouse at Pender Harbour
Murphy Battista LLP TnT Maintenance
Salmon N’ Bannock ULAT Dryer Balls


WORKPLACE INCLUSION CHAMPION – Medum & Large Business (100+ Employees)


Parq Vancouver (2020 Winner)

About Parq Vancouver:
Parq Vancouver is Vancouver’s premier entertainment destination that invites guests to step into an environment of luxury, passage and discovery. Here, guests experience world-class dining within eight culinary destinations. The journey continues at the state-of-the-art Parq Casino, an award-winning casino spanning two floors. A sense of wonder is elevated by a 30,000-square-foot, sixth-floor outdoor park, notable health and wellness services, beauty expertise at the Spa by JW and The Glamoury, and 60,000 square feet of flexible event space including the city’s largest hotel ballroom. With two distinctive yet equally luxurious hotels, the JW Marriott and the DOUGLAS, an Autograph Collection Hotel, Parq Vancouver meets the needs of every metropolitan adventurer. Parq Vancouver acknowledges its location on the unceded traditional territories of the Coastal Salish peoples of the Musqueam (xwməθkwəy̓əm), Tsleil-Waututh and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw Nations.

At Parq Vancouver, we applaud trailblazers of all kind and believe an inclusive workplace begins with a diverse workforce. We are committed to respecting, understanding, and valuing difference – only then can we truly foster fulfilment throughout our organization. Being located near Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, we feel a sense of responsibility to our community to provide opportunities to those who may have traditional barriers to employment and may be normally overlooked. We strive to assist them in finding employment and setting them up for success in other areas of their lives through both our hiring and procurement processes. Additionally, employing a diverse and inclusive workforce with unique and varied perspectives gives our business an advantage over our competitors and creates opportunities for life changing impacts.

Meridian Meats & Farm Market

About Meridian Meats & Farm Market:
Meridian is a local, family owned business that specializes in grass-fed beef, fresh & local produce, deli sweets and savouries and local groceries.

“Inclusion means finding the right person for the position, regardless of any disability they might have.”


About Securiguard:

Securiguard, founded in 1974, is Western Canada’s leading provider of corporate security through a focus on customer service, creating value for our clients, and caring for our people, community and the environment. With offices in Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna, Terrace and Edmonton, we employ over 2000 security officers and offer a comprehensive selection of services. Our services include uniformed security guards, concierge officers, bike patrollers, vehicle patrols, K9 patrol and detection units and loss prevention specialists in various environments such as airports, ports, municipal governments, governmental agencies, critical infrastructure, colleges, universities, as well as commercial and retail spaces.

With a diverse range of sites and positions, our People & Culture Department follow a values-based recruitment methodology to ensure our processes are free of bias and discrimination, and that we select employees who are the right fit, embracing our core values of respect, empathy, accountability, courtesy, and honesty.

“Securiguard values the diversity of our staff. We are committed to building a facilitative environment of respect, inclusiveness and career growth. Our diversity objectives include increasing representation in our workforce of people living with disabilities, women, people of Indigenous decent, members of visible minority communities and members of the LGBTQ community. Inclusion in the workplace is crucial for a diverse workforce. Inclusion to us, means creating an environment where people with different ideas, perspectives, and lived experiences feel welcome and heard by their management and peers. Our inclusion efforts aim to ensure that everyone on our team feels safe to express themselves, is treated fairly and respectfully, and has equal access to opportunities and resources. Some of the ways we promote inclusion in the workplace is by creating collaborative diverse teams and by conducting regular employment engagement surveys to let us know how we can better support our people.”



BroadbandTV Corp. Mowi Canada West Tugo Travel Insurance
London Drugs – Kamloops Rocky Mountaineer Vancity
London Drugs – Richmond Tacofino YVR


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UnTapped — Open Door Group
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