Sphere Quebec

Sphere Quebec

February 06, 2015 17:45 ET

Exciting Prospects for Targeted Labour Needs

QUÉBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Feb. 6, 2015) - SPHERE-Québec (Support for people with disabilities seeking employment), at a recognition evening honouring its program participants on February 6th, presented the social and economic benefits of an innovative integration and job retention training model for people living with limitations. The targeted sector: food retail, which desperately needs a stable workforce.

The project was custom designed according to the needs of eight supermarkets in the Québec City region under four large banners (Provigo, IGA, Metro and L'Intermarché). SPHERE-Québec's total investment is nearly $60,000 sourced from the Government of Canada's Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The fund's goal is to improve employment opportunities for Canadians with disabilities as part of continuous efforts to create a more productive workforce and a stronger economy. It permitted nine young people living with limitations to be trained, gain work experience and integrated into the labour market as grocery clerks. That's about $6,000 per integration, a relatively small amount when considering the economic and social benefits that the initiative will bring in the long-term to each participant and employer.

Lyne Vincent, Development Coordinator at SPHERE-Québec says that, "The key to the success of this type of project is to adapt all parameters, starting with recruitment, also training, internships and employment, not only according to the employer's needs, but also the limitations of each candidate." Thanks to the collaboration of local partners, such as the Centre de Formation de l'Alimentation et du Commerce du Québec (CFACQ), the Centre de réadaptation en déficience intellectuelle (CRDI) of Québec and also ÉquiTravail, the goals have been achieved.

With more than 1,100 institutions in the Québec City region, providing 20% of commercial jobs(1) in the area, the food retail sector has major challenges in terms of attraction and workforce retention. Turnover rates can approach 300% across the board for cashier jobs, packagers and clerks.(2) Valérie Robert, Assistant Coordinator, CFACQ, thinks that a change in hiring strategy is required. Projects like this one offer encouraging prospects for several markets facing labour shortages. "For the CFACQ, customizing training to recruit from available but often forgotten labour was, yes, at first, social responsibility, but with the current job market, it has become also a necessity."

According to Marie-Lou Gallichan, psychosocial worker at SPHERE-Québec who manages the project, "When we know that the manpower that is said far from the labour market, and that is living with various types of employment limitations, is constantly increasing, the connection occurs quickly. Just considering the dramatic increase in the number of individuals living with an ASD or autism spectrum disorder, which doubles every four years, makes us realize that we must change our ways of doing and seeing things in terms of employment integration."(3)

Due to its success and to the employers' demand, it's the second time that the project's carried out in the Québec City region. And employers have everything to gain. In fact, studies show that 90% of people with disabilities have an equal or higher average performance.(4) In addition, because they are valued on the job and trained specifically according to employers' criteria, candidates from customized trainings offer a better employment retention rate. François Ritchie, CEO of IGA des Sources of Cap-Rouge, adds that "It's very profitable, for an employer, to participate in this type of measure, because it offers productivity gains in terms of employee training and supervision."

Watch IGA des Sources of Cap-Rouge experience on YouTube/SPHERE-Québec.

About SPHERE-Québec

SPHERE-Québec (Support for people with disabilities seeking employment) is a non-profit organization created to foster labour market integration of people with any kind of limitation. SPHERE-Québec works with hundreds of partners to perform employment integration, implement adapted training with internships in the workplace, support self-employed workers and create projects and innovative tools for different integration models. www.sphere-qc.ca
Funded by the Government of Canada under the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

About the Centre de Formation de l'Alimentation et du Commerce du Québec

The Centre de Formation de l'Alimentation et du Commerce du Québec (CFACQ) is a specialized centre in continuous training. Its mission is to develop and deliver customized training programs for employed workers, people reintegrating employment, immigrants who represent a new workforce, people with disabilities, young people who want to work part-time during their studies, as well as all those who want to enter the retail food sector. www.cfacq.ca

About the Centre de réadaptation en déficience intellectuelle

The mission of Québec CRDI is to provide custom specialized services, rehabilitation and social integration to people who, because of a developmental disability or autism spectrum disorder, require services. Québec CRDI is a public network of health and social services institutions relying on the expertise of over 800 employees to serve 2,400 people in the region of Québec City Region, excluding the Charlevoix region. www.crdiq.qc.ca

About ÉquiTravail

The mission of ÉquiTravail is to promote integration, reintegration and retention in the labour market. Its services are intended for people who face barriers due to mental health problems, intellectual limitations or an autism spectrum disorder. www.equitravail.com

1 Comité sectoriel de main-d'œuvre du commerce de l'alimentation (CSMOCA). « Portrait de l'industrie, région de la Capitale-Nationale ». En ligne. http://bit.ly/1w5XBjN (French only)

2 Petit, Marie-Pier. Morissette, Lucie. Bourhis, Anne. Portrait du secteur des magasins d'alimentation au Québec. P. 12. 2014. Online. http://bit.ly/1xZWMx4 (French only)

3 For more information, Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport in Loiseux, Manon. Portrait épidémiologique des TED chez les enfants du Québec. Fédération québécoise de l'autisme. En ligne. http://bit.ly/1tTDNG7

4 Government of Canada, Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. "Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector". 2013. Online. http://bit.ly/1I3h2Cg

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