EmployAbilities Award

The Filter Shop at B.G.E. is proud to be awarded the Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction. Please watch the following video for more information about the award and The Filter Shop at B.G.E.

Inaugural Employ Abilities awards pay tribute to inclusive hiring practices in Edmonton
By Bill Mah, Edmonton Journal November 6, 2012

EDMONTON – When EmployAbilities recently contacted B.G.E. Service and Supply to ask if the filtration-solution firm had ever considered hiring people with disabilities, the agency was surprised to discover that the company had long been doing so.

“They had accommodated people with disabilities without our intervention,” said Iris Saunders, executive director of EmployAbilities, a community-based non-profit agency that breaks down barriers to employment for persons with disabilities.

On Tuesday, B.G.E. was one of six Edmonton-area businesses to receive the first EmployAbilities Employers Awards of Distinction.

Roberta MacGillivray, president of the family-owned company, said B.G.E.’s diverse hiring practices began with her father, who started the business in 1968.

“He has a large family; there were eight siblings and three of them were born deaf, and as he grew the business there were lots of opportunities for him to hire his siblings,” MacGillivray said.

“One particular brother has been working for us for 35 years and with that, he would always bring in friends to do what was needed. It was always kind of a natural part of the talent pool that we would draw from.

“We saw it as ‘we have jobs and they need work.’ ”

Of B.G.E.’s 160 employees, three have hearing impairments and up to 90 per cent of the manufacturing workforce have been new immigrants at some point.

EmployAbilities wants to see more employers give opportunities to people facing workplace barriers so the agency created the awards this year.

“We wanted to recognize forward-thinking corporate citizens who provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities,” Saunders said.

B.G.E. won the Diversity Leadership Award for its record of hiring based on ability, regardless of disability, language or cultural barriers.

Budget Car and Truck Rentals won the Employer of Persons With Disabilities Award of Distinction for creating ways to attract and retain people with disabilities.

“The disabled community is an untapped vein of talent and productivity in Edmonton’s workforce,” said Roxy Primeau, Budget’s customer contact centre manager.

The Alberta government is encouraging employers to consider underutilized labour pools such as aboriginals, mature workers and people with disabilities to lessen the impact of a forecasted labour shortage of up to 114,000 workers by 2021.

Moore’s Clothing for Men was recognized for a promotion inviting customers to trade in unwanted suits in exchange for a discount. The clothing was donated to clients of EmployAbilities who lacked professional apparel.

Victor Michaels Florists received the Small Business Award of Distinction. Co-owner Rebecca Morgan said the business has taken on EmployAbilities clients to help out in the shop for several years.

“We just basically want to help these young people out,” Morgan said. “They shouldn’t be deprived because some of their abilities are hidden.”

ATS Solutions Edmonton was recognized for creating a warm, nurturing environment where all employees are treated as part of a team.

Dominion Sport Service Corp., which operates food services at Rexall Place, won the EmployAbilities Employer of Youth Award for helping young people with disabilities learn job skills through mock interviews and classroom presentations and for restructuring job specifications so persons with disabilities can succeed.

bmah@edmontonjournal.com