Mark Wafer

Mark not only meets all the criteria for the Champion’s League awards but meets the highest standards of business excellence when it comes to creating a truly inclusive workforce in his business.

Mark opened his first Tim Hortons location in the fall of 1995 and shortly thereafter hired his first employee who has an intellectual disability. Since then, Mark and his wife Valarie have employed and/or provided job placements for almost 50 people who have a disability. They currently employ 14 people who have a disability in various positions in their 7 stores and are always looking for opportunities to include people who have a disability in their business. And yes, 15 years later, that first employee is still with them.

Clearly Mark leads ‘by example’ in his actions and in his business.

In recent years Mark has demonstrated significant leadership with the Tim Hortons parent corporation TDL, urging them, as a corporation, to do more. In early 2009, Mark persuaded TDL to launch a franchise-wide educational program about the merits of including people who have a disability in the workforce. This included a multi-page educational piece that was launched on TDL’s internal franchise portal and repeated on several occasions showcasing the merits of including people who have a disability in Tim Horton’s locations, responding to FAQs and ‘how to get started’ information. In addition Mark has delivered personal presentations on including people who have a disability in the workplace at several of TDL’s regional owners meetings in Ontario.

Mark has also been the lead ‘Champion’ of the Rotary at Work initiative in Ontario. Mark dedicates countless volunteer hours to traveling around Ontario making public awareness presentations to Rotary Clubs and individual Rotarians, urging them to consider hiring people who have a disability and, in turn, to assist in Championing this cause. This effort has resulted in 88 people who have a disability being hired in the past two years with only 2 days per week of paid staff support.

Mark is also an active member of JOIN’s Business Leadership Network in Toronto.

Further Reading:

“Megleen o/a Tim Hortons: A Canadian model for inclusion” – (

“Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector” – Report from the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada)

Ontario Disability Employment Network Champions League member Mark Wafer nominated to national panel (

“This Tim Hortons franchisee hired 82 disabled workers” (

“Mark Wafer responds to ‘Finding Jobs for Disabled Canadians’ ” (

“Change Begins with Leadership” (Belleville Intelligencer)

“Hiring the Disabled is Good for Business Breakfast Topic” (Northwest EMC)

“People with disabilities ‘huge untapped pool of labour’” (Northumberland News)

“Mayor Mike Bradley Speaks out Against Associations” – mentions Mark Wafer: ( 


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