Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, was in the Nanaimo area Saturday, and stopped by COCO Café in Cedar to chat with workers and have lunch. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Governor General of Canada hopes businesses follow lead of Vancouver Island café

Governor General Julie Payette hopes businesses become inclusive like COCO Café, near Nanaimo

The Governor General of Canada hopes more businesses become as inclusive as a café on Vancouver Island.

Governor General Julie Payette, on a four-day tour of B.C., visited COCO Café at Cedar, near Nanaimo, Saturday. She had lunch and saw the workings of the business, which provides employment for people with developmental disabilities. Payette said one of the reasons she decided to stop by was to see the “social conscience that it has.”

Payette said there should be more inclusion and with talk of a labour shortage nationally, she spoke of ways to make it easier for people with barriers to find employment.

“By having the work experience because then afterwards they gain confidence,” said Payette when asked about helping people find work. “People (will) gain confidence also that this is something that will work and it’s good for their business, so it’s a synergy. If you don’t have the experience, then people don’t want to hire you and then it just rolls and rolls, so it has to be blossoming.”

Payette, a former astronaut, said people shouldn’t be afraid to follow COCO Café’s model.

“Dare to dream. Dare to make that move because sometimes the hardest is to make the move … it’s very similar to space travel, [but] once you get up there you’re fine. It’s a will and I think many people have it and it’s so heartwarming and also rewarding,” said Payette. “People don’t realize that it’s so rewarding to work with people and help them through their journey. Afterwards you really feel good.”

Payette will head to Victoria next, where she will spend the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday. Her tour concludes Monday in Comox.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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