A B.C. business is taking a different approach to its employment model.
CleanStart BC is a junk and pest removal company that aims to hire people with barriers to employment, such as mental health disorders, addictions or time restrictions.
It’s a model that business development manager Luke Coad said brings a social measure to the business.
“In the long term we realized there is a need for this kind of employment,” Coad said. “Having the security that employment brings makes a difference in people’s lives.”
CleanStart BC began in the downtown east side of Vancouver in 2009, where a high population of homeless people was met with a high need for clean-up at low-income or subsidized housing units.
Hiring from within the area’s population aimed to target two problems at once, unemployment and waste control.
“Some of the jobs we do are places other junk removal companies wouldn’t do,” Coad said. “Because we’re hiring from within the community there’s a better understanding of what to expect and more compassion about the situation.”
Since its inception the company has expanded to Nanaimo and Victoria, where it’s been operating for a year.
Now CleanStart BC is hoping to expand its Victoria staff, which currently has two full-time workers and two part-time workers.
The overlap between full-time and part-time staff is intended to help buffer out any holes that could happen if someone doesn’t make it to work.
“We staff up, and employ about 15 per cent more than we need on the assumption that that will happen time to time,” Coad said. “We’re pretty flexible. If a person doesn’t show up on Monday in many cases that could result in a dismissal. In our situation we know that’s the circumstance of our staff.”
Staff are paid above minimum wage and receive health benefits from CleanStart BC. The company also pays for training and certification for any pest control education interested staff would like to pursue.
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