Community Inclusions Ltd. provides employment, residential, recreational, and training services to adults with intellectual challenges in western PEI. Some clients work for local businesses supported through the organization’s Employment Unit, while others attend day services at the Maple House Centre or the Employment Drop-In Day program in O’Leary or the Tignish Training Centre.
They also operate the Maple House Bakery & Café in O’Leary. This unique operation provides skills training and employment for the organizations’ clients and offers healthy food choices (the majority made from scratch) to the community of O’Leary and surrounding area. It is also a vehicle to advocate for inclusion. Some dollars raised are reinvested into the organization’s various programs and services.
Community Inclusions operates residences in Tignish, Alberton, and O’Leary. They also coordinate various community-based residential placements throughout the region.
Kevin Porter has been with Community Inclusions for 20 years. He has seen a lot of growth and changes in this organization.
“At the beginning of the pandemic we had to totally shut down our day services and day program staff had to transition to helping with our residential programs, except for a few who worked from home.
“It was vital for staff to learn and depend on one another to maintain safe housing for our clients and a safe work area for the staff. Many guidelines had to be followed and often changed. For a period of time we had to totally shut down our food services at the Bakery & Café. We tried offering take-out but it didn’t take off well.
“As we operated the food service, we had to meet social distancing measures, so we reduced the number of tables by half. We were like a deer in the headlights trying to accommodate and meet the new requirements, but thankfully we had a direct line to the Chief Public Health Office (CPHO) which was a huge asset to the organization. This was due to Community Inclusions working with a very vulnerable population and was made possible with the assistance of the Department of Social Development and Housing. We installed plexiglass partitions and floor markers, and everyone had to wear masks. We found solutions and made them work.”
Kevin says they had an operational plan but they had to continue to make changes. “This experience has made us more equipped to deal with unforeseen events and it has strengthened our safety protocols.”
For more information, contact Kevin Porter at 902-726-3144.
Hiring practices – October 22, 2020
Community Inclusions Ltd. provides employment, residential, day and recreational services to adults with intellectual challenges in western PEI.
Kevin Porter, Executive Director, foresees continued growth. “With growth in any field or industry comes a demand for more positions and more hiring.”
The homes operated by Community Inclusions requires staff shifts up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Residential group home workers and community support workers are in demand,” says Kevin. “These positions are unionized and offer very competitive wages. Full-time employees also receive other benefits such as group medical insurance along with a pension plan.
“We as an industry have lobbied for a human services program to be offered in the western part of PEI, as we need this type of training to fill positions. The West Prince Campus of Holland College started a program in the fall of 2019, and many of their students filled our summer vacancies.” Kevin says he hopes Holland College sees the huge need for this program in western PEI and will continue to offer it.
“We also hire people from other programs of study such as RCW and Youth Care Worker programs, along with other related areas of education and work experience. Community Inclusions has 50 staff members from various fields of study.”
Wages and benefits
“Wages for unionized full-time positions for our front-line Community Support/Residential Group Home Workers range from $17.42 to $20.50 an hour, and will move to $17.94 to $21.11 in the new year,” says Kevin. “Our casual staff receive $16.41 an hour.
“Positions in our other departments, from the Maple House Bakery and Café to Employment Services, are not unionized. Although benefit packages are not offered, it is something we hope for the future,” says Kevin.
“Permanent staff in all departments start with three weeks vacation along with sick days and family sick days when required.”
Other hiring needs
“Just like others in the food service industry, sometimes we struggle with finding staff for Maple House Bakery and Café. We have a unique environment where staff work closely with our clients. Once someone tries it, they tend to love it.”
The Employment Services department has an Employment Counsellor and an Employment Coach, and is currently seeking to hire an Employment Assistant. “The demands are growing in that area and in the drop-in program.”
Kevin says he takes pride in a wonderful unique work environment and workforce.
“Open positions are posted on a regular basis and I always welcome interested people to drop off resumés for casual work to create a pool.”
Employment Services is funded by the Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture through the Canada-PEI Labour Market Agreements.