September is Disability Employment Awareness Month in BC and posAbilities Employment Service (PES) is thrilled to have honoured three local businesses through our Believe, Engage and Inspire Awards of Business Excellence for their leadership in employing people with developmental disabilities.

On the evening of Monday, September 21st, we invited employers, employees and family members to posAbilities’ Inclusive Employment Celebration to celebrate how inclusive hiring and diversifying one’s workforce benefits everyone involved.

The evening began with our guest reception, where guests had a chance to mingle, eat and have a drink before the award presentations began.  Each presentation included introductory videos created by Jake Anthony, in persona as Spotlight Jake and AKA the man behind “The Jake Report.” Anthony is a Burnaby actor, advocate and youth living with autism.  You can check out his YouTube channel here.

The first award of the evening was presented to Acme Café – a hip, bustling eatery located in the historic Paris Block of Vancouver’s Gastown. They received the Believe Award which goes to a business that believes in ability and shows a passion for people and community. Acme Café currently employs two team members whom it connected with through PES, Damien and Greg. Damien was in attendance to present the award to Allan and Peggy Hoffman (Proprietors, Acme Café). Click here to check out their video.


Damien and Allan Hoffman.

Next up was the Engage Award, which recognizes employers who assist employees in developing their skills and speaking to their own experience of diversifying their workplace. This was presented to Casalinga Foods who has been serving the greater Vancouver area for over 20 years with an assortment of delicious and complete ready-made meals. Casalinga employs two team members, Bridget and Ted, and Bridget was in attendance to accept the award on Patricia Bell’s (Owner, Casalinga Foods) behalf. Click here to check out their video.


Tammy McEvoy (PES) and Bridget accepting the award on Patricia’s behalf.

Last but not least, Vancity was awarded the Inspire Award which represents a commitment to creating and promoting an inclusive workplace through forward thinking and inclusive hiring practises. Vancity is a national champion of inclusive hiring, with 10.5% of its workforce disclosing a disability. Paddy is an Administrator in People Solutions at Vancity and presented the award to John Horn, Manager of Learning and Leadership. Paddy delivered a beautiful acceptance speech and was very honoured to present the award to John.


Paddy and John Horn.

Leading us through the evening were our emcees, Frank and Peter, who are also members of the Artists of Articulation Toastmasters Club (hosted by PES). The dynamic duo kept the event running smoothly and kept up the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd throughout. We also had the pleasure of hearing from Faith Bodnar, Executive Director of Inclusion BC on the Ready, Willing and Able employment initiative.


Our celebration had a great turnout with around 130 guests. It was wonderful to hear stories about the lived experiences and journeys of employees and to celebrate our three champions of diversity at work! Visit our Facebook page to check out more photos.

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