The benefits of an open and inclusive workplace - Frontier Plumbing and Heating Supply

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This month we are pleased to feature Frontier Plumbing and Heating Supply, an independent, Canadian owned wholesale distributor who supply plumbing, heating, waterworks, pumping and industrial products. They have locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with their head office in Calgary.

As a volunteer for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Martin Lee, Frontier’s Warehouse Operations Manager had worked with an individual who found employment success with Champions. He recognized this as a possible solution for the high turnover rate they were experiencing in their warehouse. Together with colleague Bill Parker, Human Resources Manager and Health and Safety Coordinator, Mr Lee approached Champions to fill their first vacancy. 

“We’re looking for an alternate labour pool that will provide qualified candidates for us, with a better retention rate,” commented Mr Parker. 

Champions’ Employment Retention Specialist, Nicole Bourgeois sat down with them to discuss the positions available, starting with the practical considerations necessary for the warehouse environment. Nicole also took the time to tour Frontier’s facilities to better understand their most pressing concerns surrounding health and safety.

“Champions was very careful to listen to our needs, they asked good questions related to what the jobs entailed and what limitations were involved. It was clear that they wanted to find the right candidate for us,” said Mr Parker.

They were especially pleased with the way that Champions addressed the often uncomfortable subject of disclosure, especially for those who have invisible disabilities. The Alberta Government’s Learning Information Service states, “unless your invisible disability could put you or someone else at risk, telling an employer about it is a matter of personal choice. If safety is an issue, you’ll need to disclose your disability at an appropriate time.” 

In the case of a physical disability in a warehouse environment like Frontier, where the safe operation of heavy machinery, trucks and forklifts are present; disclosure is required.  Champions specializes in guiding job candidates to make an informed decision when it comes to disclosure and understands that this personal decision can be very difficult for many individuals with disabilities.

The new partnership between Frontier Plumbing and Heating Supply and Champions Career Centre is encouraging for the future of inclusion and diversity in the workplace. 

This past November, The Calgary Herald reported that "Alberta has the highest rate of unfilled jobs in Canada". There is a great opportunity for people with disabilities to fill these positions. Champions Career Centre can help employers to become more open about disabilities with their staff, as well as new hires and realize the incredible ability of people with disabilities. 


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