Employment and the Pandemic
By: Paige Ellis
My name is Paige and I’m an adult with a disability. I attend a day program and volunteer at several places in my community. I love doing these things, but what I really love is the independence that employment affords me. Working and earning my own money increases my ability to contribute to my daily necessities, while also helping me participate in activities I enjoy.
Before the Pandemic I was gainfully employed. During the pandemic I became unemployed, as many people did. Before Covid-19, I worked at Bay Shore Rehabilitation Centre, where I cleaned the physiotherapy rooms, the gym equipment, the kitchen and arranged rooms for therapy. I enjoyed this job, earned money and felt good about my contribution to my community.
Unfortunately, as more people became sick in 2020 and the worry around the disease heightened, the Centre shut down temporarily and I became unemployed.
When my job ended I was hopeful that my absence from work would be short term. Sadly this was not the case. Since this job was my only employment, I no longer earned a wage, contributed to my community or spent time with people who inspired me and treated me with equality. Being unemployed was challenging and I worried about future opportunities.
In September of 2020 I was fortunate enough to gain employment at Checker’s Premium Fudge in a warehouse environment. Regaining employment renewed my independence, my sense of purpose and continues to contribute to my material well-being. I am grateful for this opportunity and am happy to share that I just celebrated my second-year anniversary of working there!
I feel super successful at this job and enjoy working with everyone. At Checkers I am learning new skills and gaining valuable work experience. I have gained back my independence and feel very happy about it. I am excited to see what this job brings me in the future and to experience more employment opportunities moving forward.