After announcing the dismissal of its employees living with a mental disability, Walmart Canada on Saturday apologized for “creating confusion and disappointment.”
The retail giant is committed to working with all participants in its vocational training program, their families and social service agencies to find “new arrangements” as they continue to dismantle it. in the next few weeks.
In an email from several media outlets, including The Canadian Press, Wal-Mart Canada’s vice-president of corporate affairs, Robert, does not rule out re-employment option.
He argues that Walmart Canada’s goal was always to “find other ways to help people in these programs, including direct employment.”
Questioned about the nature of this assistance, he said that the goal of the multinational is to rehire many of the workers living with intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder.
The senior executive of the company acknowledges that the file was poorly managed in terms of communications.
“Obviously, the way we have handled this change has created confusion and disappointment, and we apologize for it very sincerely,” he wrote.
The multinational also did not confirm the number of branches where this program was in force, nor the total number of workers pushed to the exit.
Some of them had worked for the retailer for almost twenty years.
The day before, Walmart Canada spokeswoman Anika Malik was playing on semantics, denying that the channel had “fired” employees with mental disabilities – but who were still unemployed.
“These people participated in a voluntary program coordinated by local agencies who partnered with our stores to provide an environment in which they could get involved,” she explained.
The company simply ended its partnership in the program, which offered “an experience of integration and community engagement in a work environment,” she defended.
The news raised a wave of indignation this week by the workers themselves, as well as many organizations involved in the social reintegration of people with disabilities.
Some replies, however, praised the fact that Walmart had participated in this program for many years and instead pointed to companies that have never deigned to provide their share of reintegration.
Quebec’s Minister of Health and Social Services, Gaétan Barrette, was among those who had scoured Walmart.
Saturday, he was quick to express his disbelief at the rebound of the day.
“I only have one message for Walmart management: I do not believe you,” he wrote on Twitter.
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