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The following article is about a Manitoba Employer who has benefited from hiring someone with a disability. It was originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press and collected through an initiative called “Perspectives in Change”.

Celebrating Progressive Employers and Capable Employees

Perimeter Aviation, Winnipeg

By Sylvia Jansen

Photo of Kevin MacTavish
Wendy Hatley and
Kevin MacTavish

Photo: Lisa Waldner

Kevin MacTavish works with a perpetual smile. That good humour means a lot to customers of the cargo department of Perimeter Aviation in Winnipeg. “He is always happy to be helping others,” says cargo manager Wendy Hatley. His positive outlook is an inspiration to other staff as well. The fact that he has an intellectual disability is a non-issue for his employer.

The cargo department handles all freight headed for Perimeter’s many destinations in Manitoba, from small personal items to large mechanical equipment. As a cargo greeter, MacTavish is outside both in cold January weather and hot July days, assisting customers in unloading their items, weighing products, labeling and preparing cargo for the ramp staff to take on board for flight. As a full-time employee, he enjoys full salary and benefits. He loves his work and appreciates his co-workers. “He is consistent, and he is a really hard worker,” says Jonathan Belanger, a lead receiver in the cargo department. “Everything and anything we expect from his position, he accomplishes.”

MacTavish’s position was created in November 2008 for an initial work trial term. For manager Hatley, when the term ended “we knew right away we needed to have him back!” With MacTavish in the full-time position, the entire department is more efficient, and his positive influence is well appreciated. “The employer just needs to have vision to see how things might be done,” says Hatley. “We just worked creatively with his [supported employment] agency to brainstorm a set of duties.” Hatley recommends the same process for other employers. “People just need to be enlightened.”

Connecting Employers and People

It’s good business.  Many employers discover, as with all good hires, a good fit with an employee with an intellectual disability means reduced turnover and increased success for everyone. Community agencies that provide supported employment services connect the right people with the right employer.  They help with training, and provide ongoing support to employee and employer—all without cost to the employer.

The agency that connected Kevin MacTavish with Perimeter Aviation is WASO (Work and Social Opportunities Inc.), 3 - 836 McLeod Avenue, Winnipeg,
R2G 3P3 (204) 669-6688

Sponsored by Perspectives in Change
Thank you Manitoba Marathon... succeeding in the long run.

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