Accessibility committee visits Safeway

The Williams Lake Accessibility Committee invited Safeway manager Brad Kristian to its monthly meeting in April.

The Williams Lake Accessibility Committee invited Safeway manager Brad Kristian to its monthly meeting in April to share information about measures the store has taken to include people with diversities in the work force.

After the presentation, Kristian said “In the 18 years I’ve worked for Safeway, I’ve seen many examples of that.”

Safeway’s done a good job with its corporate responsibility programs, suggested Kristian, adding he’s worked in 14 different stores and every one of them has an employee or two that is disabled in some way.

“They find great success, they add value to the store, and these individuals boost the moral and make our customers happy. Personally they got a lot of independence,” he says.

Including people with disabilities makes communities better and communities that do are better off.

It’s also been standard for Safeway stores to make washrooms more accessible and ensure that at least one checkout aisle is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and give ample room to pay for purchases.

“We’ve got automatic doors and access ramps to every store in B.C. one way or another. In some cases there are elevators into the stores,” he says.

After hearing encouraging comments from the committee, Kristian says he’s inspired to continue with the efforts.

“They were rewarding comments to hear and hopefully we’ll continue to have that impression on the community that we serve here and across the province,” he says.

Julie Ams, human resources advisor for Safeway stores in the Interior of B.C., says Safeway has a diversity council that meets regularly.

“We talk about ways that we can incorporate people with diversities into our stores. We have two stores currently that have zero representation of that group and we’re working with those markets to make sure we have those people represented in our stores,” Ams says.

The council also includes members with diversities, Ams added.