Inclusive workplaces good for business and community

Nov. 2 gala helps empower people who face barriers to make purposeful connections

By Louise Tremblay, Director of Development at UNITI

Alex has just recently moderated an all-candidate meeting intended to inform an inclusive audience of self-advocates and other community members about the federal election. Michaela nominated her employer last year for an Inclusive Employer Award, and he won allowing his organization to differentiate itself among its competitors. Manny has discovered his talent for painting and has become an accomplished artist who creates diverse and poignant pictures, sure to captivate buyers. Larry will be receiving his five-year service award in November for his dedicated service to his employer and his exceptional ability to expand its network. Asma decided to leave her current position to pursue her education at Simon Fraser University so she can mindfully contribute to society.

Thanks to UNITI and its person-centred services to people with cognitive disabilities and those who face various barriers, people like Asma, Larry, Manny, Michaela and Alex are only a few examples of people who make their own choices and live full and vibrant lives. They are part of the emerging leaders who inspire others, whether they face barriers or not.

In certain sectors of our economy, a labour shortage exists imposing devastating restrictions on business sustainability, let alone business growth. Many retailers are forced to open for shorter hours or close permanently. This situation does not only affect individual businesses, it affects the economy as a whole. People who have cognitive disabilities and those who face various barriers are part of the solution. All too often, they represent an untapped pool of talent. But smart employers know better.

More and more, employers are making the business case and seeing the value of hiring a person who faces barriers. By fostering inclusive workplaces, employers report that employees are more engaged, moral is high, and the bottom line prospers.

People with disabilities and those who face various barriers want to get jobs, live independently and make significant contributions to the community, and UNITI enables them to do that.

On Nov. 2, the Gala of Bollywood Dreams will raise money to do just that: empower people who face barriers to make purposeful connections so they can get jobs and access affordable housing, with the support they need in the way they choose.

Please support us! People who face barriers count on it.

For more information about the gala, please go to

For more information about connecting employees and employers, go to:

UNITI is the partnership of three non-profit societies that have existed for decades, delivering important services to our community. Semiahmoo House Society provides quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in Surrey and White Rock. Peninsula Estates Housing Society provides affordable and inclusive housing that reflects the diversity of our community. The Semiahmoo Foundation assures that UNITI has the recognition, relationships and resources to support an inclusive community.

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