VIDEO: A&W employers celebrated for inclusive hiring practices

Nick Nuraney and John Archibald receive provincial 2017 Widening Our World awards

Lisa is an onion ring aficionado.

With 23 years of service, she also happens to be the longest-serving employee at the A&W at 200 Street and Willowbrook Drive, and among the six per cent of workers with diverse abilities at the six A&W locations across the Langleys.

It’s because of their willingness to provide opportunities to Lisa and 10 others with diverse abilities, that a pair of Langley employers were recognized with a provincial award recently.

Nick Nuraney and John Archibald received 2017 Widening Our World (WOW) awards from Community Living BC (CLBC), which notes that “their courage, leadership, innovation and dedication in supporting their communities to more fully include people with diverse abilities,” makes them worthy recipients.

For the past two-plus decades, Nuraney and Archibald have been providing employment for workers with diverse abilities in the Langley area.

Nominator Raeleen Castle explained why she believed Nuraney and Archibald deserve the award: “Nick owns five-plus A&W franchises in the Langley area, and has hired one or more individuals through Partners In Employment to work at each location. Nick first hired Lisa 20-plus years ago to make onion rings fresh in-store. She is still there and is the longest employee at that store. John is the operations manager of the Langley stores and is hands-on in hiring each individual. When a new location is being built we are already in conversation about who will be hired upon opening.”

Nuraney owns all six A&W locations in the Langleys and as the operations manager, Archibald oversees each one of them.

Since “day one,” Nuraney said he has implemented inclusive hiring practices at the local A&Ws.

“When I first started working at A&W, that’s the way we’ve always done things,” Nuraney said.

Employees with diverse abilities are hard workers and loyal, Nuraney said, adding “it makes me feel good that I’m giving somebody a chance, who wouldn’t necessarily be given a chance somewhere else.”

Archibald said support workers from Partners In Employment have given the A&W managers the support needed to help with the transition.

“Given the chance they (employees with diverse abilities) work hard and really appreciate it, and they really try to do their best for us, so it works for us and we really appreciate it,” Nuraney noted.

This is the ninth year CLBC has held the WOW nomination process, which invites people to nominate a person or organization whose work is building communities where people of all abilities feel welcome, valued and respected.

In October and November 2017, people across the province submitted 47 nominations for consideration of a WOW award. All nominations recognized nominees for their efforts to build inclusion, create employment opportunities, and increase access to community and social networks for people with developmental disabilities.

Selection of the four award winners was completed in December 2017 by a committee of community members, CLBC community council members, CLBC staff and people served by CLBC.

“Congratulations to the winners and everyone who was nominated this year. It is inspiring to see the wealth of innovative ideas, activities and initiatives being spearheaded by community champions across the province,” said Shane Simpson, B.C.’s minister of social development and poverty reduction.

“These efforts not only raise awareness about inclusion but help everyone see that acceptance of diversity makes our communities and our lives richer.”

The other recipients are:

South Surrey — Alexander Magnussen, self-advocate, for building awareness and creating greater understanding at provincial and national levels to help schools and community better include people with diverse abilities;

Esquimalt — Peggy Nancarrow, community member, for providing the people CLBC serves with opportunities to build relationships and confidence through music; and

Nanaimo — Eve Reinarz, service provider, for developing services and grassroots community building initiatives that build independence and connect people to their community.

The awards will be handed out and celebrated in each winner’s home town in February and March.

Since 2009, CLBC has presented WOW awards to recognize British Columbians who are creating opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to lead full lives, have rich relationships, choices in how they live, and employment opportunities.

“I would like to congratulate all of the award winners and nominees for their commitment to helping make our communities inclusive and engaging for people of all abilities,” said Seonag Macrae, CEO, Community Living BC.

“It is because of your efforts that people with disabilities are able to continuously improve their quality of life through engaging community activities, employment, and recreation opportunities.”

Nominations of inclusion champions were submitted throughout Community Living Month this past October. Click here for a full list of the 47 nominees and the people who nominated them.

To learn more about Community Living BC, visit www.communitylivingbc.ca.

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