September 19, 2017
1:30 pm to 3:00 pmAdd to Calendar (iCal) Add to Google Calendar
Thirty Years as a Consumer Survivor Business: Lessons Learned
About the Session:
Celebrating thirty years of innovation, A-Way Express pioneered a courier business located in downtown Toronto run entirely by and for consumer/survivors. Operating as both a health service and a business, A-Way follows a model where its clients are its staff and its staff are its clients. The presentation will describe the strengths, successes, and challenges of this model, and will present recent innovations that have been introduced to address some of these challenges. These include exploring integration and partnerships with other providers, technological change, and the provision of ancillary supports embedded in the workplace. The presentation will include a description of the experiences of an Employment Support Specialist whose role is to encourage and support transition into mainstream and competitive employment within the staff group.
Meredith Cochrane began her career in the UK following a Master’s degree in International Development. Her contributions have been guided by a belief that given the tools and the confidence, every individual can create change- in themselves, their communities and the world. Working in London and Oxford, Meredith developed youth and community programs focused on public education and campaigning on issues of global poverty. While at the Fairtrade Foundation, Meredith led the expansion of Fairtrade Towns campaigns from 120-350. She also hosted the first Fairtrade Towns conference, resulting in an expansion of the Fairtrade Towns concept that is now in 25 countries. Upon her return to Canada, Meredith became Executive Director of EcoSpark, an environmental education organization. Setting her sights on applying her experience to the social enterprise sector, she is currently the Executive Director of A-Way Express.
Scott McCauley is a graduate of George Brown College’s Career and Work Counselling Program where he was awarded the Dean’s medal. Since 2005 he has worked with youth with barriers, students with disabilities, clients in recovery, and currently consumer survivors at A-Way Express. Scott has a “Passion” for his work and is driven by his clients success, no matter how large or small.
Employment and Disability Benefits for People with Mental Illness
About the Session:
Securing employment remains a significant challenge among people with mental illness receiving disability benefits in Canada. The purpose of this research was to examine how income support policy shapes the employment pursuits of recipients with mental illness. Drawing on findings from qualitative interviews with employment and mental health service providers, policy staff, and recipients, we explore experiences on the front-lines as recipients seek information about options for employment and make decisions about employment while receiving income benefits.
Rebecca Gewurtz is an occupational therapist and assistant professor in the School or Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. Her research focuses on work disability policy and income security among people living with mental illness and other episodic disabilities. She is particularly interested in policy implementation on the front-lines, and the experiences of individuals as they move through complex workplace and policy structures.
Mental Health and Paid Work in the Social Economy
About the Session:
Paid work has taken on greater significance for people with mental illness. This trend has been driven by the recognition that employment is a key factor in mental health recovery. While employment can offer rewards, finding and keeping work in the mainstream economy remains difficult due to discrimination and a lack of workplace accommodation. In this research, we examine the potential of social enterprises to function as ‘alternative spaces’ of employment for people with mental illness. Using data from interviews with enterprise managers and workers, we examine the strategies they use to create sustainable employment and workers’ experiences of these spaces. Analysis suggests that enterprises create opportunities for meaningful activity in workplaces that are attuned to the needs and capacities of people with mental illness. However, workers often fail to achieve significant material gains, a fact that reflects the type of work created and broader benefits regimes.
Rob Wilton is a Professor of Geography at McMaster University. His research is concerned with understanding the processes shape and constrain disabled people’s social inclusion in areas of housing, employment, and public space. He is the co-editor of Towards Enabling Geographies (with Ed Hall and Vera Chouinard), and an editor of the journal Social and Cultural Geography.