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Headshot of Tamara Vrooman, (Co-Chair, Presidents Group) President & CEO, Vancity
Tamara Vrooman
(Co-Chair, Presidents Group) President & CEO

Leadership Profile

WHO WE ARE

Vancity is a credit union whose vision is to redefine wealth in a way that furthers the financial, social and environmental well-being of our members and their communities.

WHY WE ’RE INVOLVED

Beyond it being the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. We have experienced the positive effects on our business by hiring individuals with disabilities.

DISTINCTION AND AWARDS

  • 2016: Canada’s Top 100 Employers
  • 2016: UnTapped Large Business Champion
  • 2015: Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

2,500

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES WHO SELF-IDENTIFY AS HAVING A DISABILITY

265

ACCESSIBILITY INITIATIVES

  • Dedicated positions in People Solutions: Diversity & Inclusion Consultant – specializing in Disability & Inclusive Employment, Disability & Wellness Consultant -specializing in disability leave management, Diversity and Well-being Advisor and Well-being Consultant-specializing in employee well-being and mental health.
  • Partnership with the Vancouver School board to provide work experience to high school students with disabilities.
  • Hired eight employees for a one year contract from Focus Professional Services (FPS), an IT service company where most employees have autism.
  • Our Workplace Inclusion (WIN) pilot project ran at 22 branches and was focused on job carving, a process to carve existing responsibilities from other positions to create a new one.
  • Established a partnership with Partners for Mental Health and their “Not Myself Today” campaign addressing mental health in the workplace.
  • Implemented the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
  • Coach and support managers on employees’ disability accommodations.
  • Web based disability resource centre for employees.
  • Developed a braille booklet for the AGM including the agenda and CEO and Board remarks.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • We have shifted the internal culture to encourage disclosure and focus on ability.
  • A fresh look at our recruitment and hiring practices to encourage innovation.
  • High retention from WIN – 21/22 employees secured permanent employment with us.
  • Partnering with SFU on a study of the WIN pilot to learn more from the experience.
  • Developed partnerships with disability organizations that we can continue to build on.
  • Partnership with Vancouver School Board will enter its second year in the Fall 2017.
  • FPS Contract for eight employees has proven successful and contract has been extended.
DOWNLOAD PROFILE: PDF (515.46 KB)

Co-op Programs & Internships

Internship for High-School Students With Disabilities Meets Short-Term Business Needs

Vancity

Photo of Vancity employee helping a member from behind her desk.

Vancity implemented a High School Student Internship Program for students with disabilities to obtain work experience while meeting Vancity’s business needs.

Hiring

Workplace Inclusion Pilot Fulfills Branch Needs with Nuero-Diverse Employees

Vancity

Photo of a woman in a power wheelchair talking to a man with a cane in the lobby of Vancity Head Office.

Vancity wanted to focus their branch staff on customer care. To support this, they hired neuro-diverse individuals, many of them on the autism spectrum, to be responsible for providing administrative relief. Vancity has experienced the positive effects on their business by hiring individuals with disabilities.

Hiring

An Alternative to Behavioural-Based Interviews

Vancity

Photo of Vancity Employee at a desk, smiling at a Vancity client who appears to have vision loss.

Vancity has piloted working interviews as an alternative to behavioural-based interviews to better assess a candidate’s suitability for the job.

Co-op Programs & Internships

Creating a High School Internship Program

Vancity

Picture of the top of the Vancity Head Office in Vancouver.

Vancity partnered with the Vancouver School Board on a project focused on creating inclusive opportunities for high school students with diverse-abilities.

Hiring

How Job Carving Can Support Your Business Needs

Vancity

Patrick Gallagher and Maridel Deguzman sitting at their desks talking and laughing.

Vancity implemented a project at 22 Vancity branches that involved job carving, a process that “carves out” existing responsibilities from other positions to create a new one.

Developing a Welcoming and Diverse Workplace