Loblaw Companies Limited has partnered with Giant Steps Montreal to launch an employment initiative for individuals with autism who could be employed in Loblaw stores or other similar industry environments.
The Polaris Enterprise” the initiative will increase the employment preparedness and success of adults with autism or intellectual disabilities via a multi-faceted project with key partnerships between Giant Steps Montreal, Loblaw Companies Limited, Wagar Adult Education Centre, the Transforming Autism Care Consortium and the Public Agency of Canada.
Fully bilingual employment readiness and vocational programs will prepare individuals with autism for general employment as well as for job-specific employment within the grocery industry at Loblaw Companies Limited (Maxi and Provigo in Quebec), or a similar industry-setting. A network of autistic mentors has been set up to inspire and share their personal life and employment experiences with the participants.
The goal of a successful pilot project is to launch an autism-inclusive employment initiative at Loblaw, leading to the paid employment of autistic adults in mission-critical positions at their Quebec distribution centres and retail environments. The model will be scalable nationwide and replicable across industry settings.
Richard Dufresne, president and CFO of George Weston Limited, says the company is proud to support the “forward-thinking project.
“We have been on a culture journey over the past several years, deepening our CORE values and ensuring a collaborative and inclusive workplace. We know and have worked with Giant Steps in the past and appreciate their innovative and inclusive work focused on responding to the lifelong needs of people on the autism spectrum.”
Loblaw subsidiary Max is also involved in the project.
“At Maxi, our social mission is to Feed Everyone, and this partnership with Giant Steps is a perfect match,” says Patrick Blanchette, vice president, core operations. “We want to help these young people and adults gain experience and be job-ready so they can find work and provide for their own needs. After recreating a mini Maxi market at Giant Steps, we look forward to welcoming the first cohort to our stores, whom we will train and mentor to make this experience a success.”