Yarmouth businessman receives provincial award

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Brian Atwood, Mike Denomme and Mike Mercier of Canadian Tire, along with Karla LeBlanc of the West Nova Inclusive Employment Society, stand in front of the Yarmouth business along with the workers who have been involved in a renovation employment project.

Tina Comeau photo

Nine employers making life better for disabled persons in the province have received the Lieutenant Governor's Persons with Disabilities Employer Partnership Award, including a Yarmouth businessman who received the provincial award for overall outstanding achievement.

This award was presented to Mike Mercier, the owner-operator of the Yarmouth Canadian Tire. The awards were handed out on Dec. 3 at a ceremony in Halifax as part of an annual symposium on inclusive employment and education.

The West Nova Inclusive Employment Society nominated the Yarmouth Canadian Tire.

During recent renovations to the Canadian Tire on Starrs Road, and with the aid of funding through employment and Community Services programs, the business brought in 28 workers from the West Nova Inclusive Employment Society, which is a community-based organization that provides specialized employment services for persons with disabilities. These workers helped to carry out work during the renovations, with a few hired to remain on at the store after the project was completed. Others gained valuable work experience to include on their resumes when seeking other employment.

"Integrating persons with disabilities in our store has been a huge win for us," said Mercier. "We have been getting quality employees with great attitudes for our team."

The Lieutenant Governor's Persons with Disabilities Employer Partnership Award was established to acknowledge and honour employers who have instituted and promoted best practices towards the employment, independence, and service to persons with disabilities.

"I am delighted to help recognize individuals and businesses that work to ensure all citizens are afforded the opportunity to play a meaningful role in our workforce," said Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant.  "The largely untapped potential holds great promise for not only countless individuals, but also our province as a whole. The work of the Collaborative Partnership Network to help realize this potential is something all Nova Scotians can take pride in."

The network works to create and maintain lasting employment partnerships between persons with disabilities and employers.

The eight regional winners who were recognized on Dec. 3 included:

• Camp reachAbility, Antigonish

• Everything in a Jar, Amherst

• Holiday Inn Halifax Harbourview Hotel and Conference Centre, Dartmouth

• Johnson's Lawncare, Bridgewater

• Micco Companies, Halifax

• Pollett Drug Store, Sydney

• Valley Community Learning Association, Annapolis Valley

• Southwest Health - Digby General Hospital, Digby.

The awards coincided with the United Nations International Day for Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3.

There are 198,685 persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia. The Collaborative Partnership Network has worked with nearly 10,000 people who are either returning to work or entering the labour force and this number grows every year. Through the network people can gain access to the necessary training, job referrals and access to resources and supports necessary to join and remain in the workforce.

Organizations: Canadian Tire, Community Services, West Nova Inclusive Employment Society Collaborative Partnership Network Holiday Inn Halifax Harbourview Hotel Johnson's Micco Companies Digby General Hospital

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Halifax, Starrs Road Dartmouth Sydney Annapolis Valley Nova Scotia

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