CELEBRATING INCLUSIVE EMPLOYERS                                Shoppers Drug Mart in Summerland received a certificate on Wednesday in recognition of the store’s efforts to hire a worker with a disability. From left are pharmacist and owner Austin Ojala, employee Quentin Timmer, front store manager Kelly Yakimchuk, YMCA of Okanagan WorkBC job retention specialist Gali Reardigan, YMCA of Okanagan WorkBC job developer Colleen Sanford and YMCA of Okanagan WorkBC customized employment coach Oriana Straccini.                                (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

CELEBRATING INCLUSIVE EMPLOYERS Shoppers Drug Mart in Summerland received a certificate on Wednesday in recognition of the store’s efforts to hire a worker with a disability. From left are pharmacist and owner Austin Ojala, employee Quentin Timmer, front store manager Kelly Yakimchuk, YMCA of Okanagan WorkBC job retention specialist Gali Reardigan, YMCA of Okanagan WorkBC job developer Colleen Sanford and YMCA of Okanagan WorkBC customized employment coach Oriana Straccini. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Store recognized for inclusive employment efforts

Shoppers Drug Mart in Summerland presented with certificate from WorkBC

When Austin Ojala, pharmacist and owner of Shoppers Drug Mart in Summerland, first met Quentin Timmer a year ago, he was impressed with Timmer’s cheerful disposition.

“I just noticed how full of joy he was and how happy he was,” Ojala said. “Getting to know him, I noticed that was consistent. I wanted that a part of our team.”

Ojala asked Timmer if he would be interested in working at the store. Timmer was hired in November, 2017.

Timmer is deaf and has cerebral palsy. The disability has presented some challenges and as a result, some of the tasks have had to be changed or adjusted.

September has been designated as Disability Employment Month in B.C. and in recognition of the efforts at Shoppers Drug Mart in Summerland, WorkBC presented a certificate to the store on Wednesday.

“We’re celebrating our inclusive employers,” said Gali Reardigan, job retention specialist with YMCA of Okanagan WorkBC Employment Services Centre, through the contributions of the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

September marks B.C.’s fifth Disability Employment Month. Search hashtags #AccessibleBC and #WorkBC to learn more about it.

To assist Shoppers Drug Mart, WorkBC arranged to have an occupational therapist visit the store and conduct an ergonomic assessment.

Timmer is pleased with the opportunity to work at the store.

“It has been fantastic. I enjoy my job and I enjoy the staff here. They’re so friendly and helpful,” he said. “It’s been a blessing for me.”

He said the efforts by the store “have helped me come a long way to overcome my barriers to employment.”

He added that the support at the store has been incredible.

“I can never ask for another employer like Kelly and Austin,” he said.

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