Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran (centre) joins the annual “Inclusion Chain” outside Kelowna city hall.—Alistair Waters/Capital News

‘Diversabilities’ celebrated in Kelowna

Mayor joins ‘Inclusion Chain’ and proclaims October as Community Inclusion Month in the city.

The annual “Inclusion Chain” took place outside Kelowna city hall Tuesday, with Mayor Colin Basran joining in, and proclaiming October as Community Inclusion Month in the city.

The event, which celebrates people with “diversabilities” in the community, sees a line of people—including the mayor—join hands on Water Street outside city hall and sing the national anthem each year at the start of October.

The event is put on by Pathways, a local group that helps people with developmental challenges.

Prior to forming the human inclusion chain Tuesday, and reading the proclamation, Basran said it is important to show Kelowna is a city that values and accepts all people, something his council has strived for since being elected nearly three years ago.

One of the areas where Pathways helps people is through employment.

The organizations identifies employers who are looking for workers and helps tailor jobs to fit both the needs of the employer and the potential employee.

Bonnie Fraser, employment co-ordinator with Pathways, said several local business are now on board with the program and while she is always looking for more opportunities for her clients, she said she is impressed with the willingness of local companies to work with her.

She cited a few examples, such as medical software company QHR that created a job that sees a person with diversabilities work three days a week handling a number of tasks, such as internal mail delivery, and organizing food in the lunch room.

Other companies, like local Shell and Petro-Can gas stations, employ people with diversabilites to help maintain the pumps and the pump island areas at the stations, as well maintaining shelves inside the stations’ retail outlets.

“What we are trying to do is promote inclusion in hiring,” said Fraser.