Kelowna grocery store nationally recognized for hiring newcomers

A Kelowna grocery store has received national recognition for its efforts in hiring newcomers to Canada.

Peter’s Your Independent Grocer on Gordon Drive was presented one of three 2017 Employer Awards for Newcomer Employment from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen in Ottawa on Wednesday.

“I am both grateful for and impressed by the leadership role that Peter’s YIG has played to support the successful settlement and integration of newcomers to Canada,” Minister Ahmed said “Through its unique hiring and training practices, Peter’s YIG truly recognized and breaks down the barriers that many newcomers experience when trying to find jobs, which makes significant difference in the lives of newcomers to Canada”

Owner, Peter Boyd says they actively work with Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) to hire newcomers in the area looking for work.

“To be recognized, have my store recognized, and some of the wonderful things my team does was a huge honour” Boyd says, “I walked up Parliament Hill and I stood at the steps and thought to myself ‘Wow, one little grocery store’. If we had all the grocery stores going, we could change a whole generation for Canada”

About 200 people work the Peter’s Your Independent Grocer and 22 per cent of them are newcomers to Canada.

“We have people from all over the world,” Boyd says “I like to say that we’re the United Nations of Kelowna cause we truly have many, many, countries represented and we celebrate where they come from and try and understand what they left behind”

The grocery store began the partnership with KCR several years ago, and Boyd says the diversity has changed the work environment for the better.

“We’ve certainly become more inclusive, the staff have embraced it where they’re all great friends,” he says “they have fun, we enjoy work”

It’s also been an awarding experience for Boyd personally, who says it’s special to have a small part in helping newcomers assimilate in the community and workforce, and help them eventually look for jobs in their professional field.