I’m Mark Wafer. I’m a Tim Hortons Franchisee in Scarborough Ontario.
We’ve been in business for 21 years and when we first started in business we opened a Tim Hortons location that was an existing location, very busy, and the person who applied was a man who has Down Syndrome and that individual became our best employee.
And so as our business grew we continued to hire people who have intellectual disabilities and I started to see a pattern.
People with disabilities were working in a more safe manner. They weren’t calling in sick. They required less supervision. They were more innovative and they stayed on the job much much longer, so my turn over rate was much lower.
And so over the last 21 years my wife and I have employed 135 people with disabilities, all in meaningful and competitively paid positions in every aspect of the business from production to logistics to entry level right up to management.
The benefits to being and inclusive employer are clear and they are huge.
I have a much higher safety rating. With 135 people with a disability hired over the last 21 years I’ve never filled out a single WSIB claim for a person with a disability, ever.
I have a much much lower turnover. In fact, my turnover rate for the last 10 years has averaged under 40% when the norm for the quick service sector is about 100 to 125%. If you put that into dollars and cents, it costs about $4,000 dollars to replace the person who served you your coffee this morning.
But my turnover rate for my nondisabled employees is 55%. That’s still half the norm because even people who don’t have a disability want to work in an inclusive environment.
It changes the moral and the culture of the workplace by being an inclusive employer.
My message to employers is don’t keep trying to get ready. There is no such thing as being ready. Just do it. You won’t regret it.