Joys of work in social enterprise topped off by real pay
Michelle Strutzenberger

Ask Troy what he likes best about working as an employee of Don’t Sweat It, a social enterprise delivering a range of services, and he doesn’t hesitate.

“I get paid,” says Troy.

His response underscores the importance of a key difference between social enterprises and the work experience options community living agencies often offer.

Day support worker Ursula Hansen; Don’t Sweat It team members Steve Alexander, Anthony Cardiff, Johnson Fong; and community member Carmen Rotella.

Gord Tulloch, a program director at posAbilities, the organization that launched Don’t Sweat It, highlights another key difference of social enterprises.

The nature of exchange between the agency and those they work with is no longer based on the fact that these are program participants receiving services but employees delivering a market-valued product or service.

The shifts in interaction have the potential to be dramatic, says Gord.

One example of a change is that rather than creating individual service or care plans for people who have a disability, service providers do performance evaluations.

Launched last spring with significant sponsorship, the goal for Don’t Sweat It is to reduce its dependence on the funder as it becomes more sustainable.

Don’t Sweat It is described as a business offering lawn and garden services, outdoor maintenance and recycling — for a social purpose.

Troy notes his particular assignments include recycling, landscaping and rubbish removal.

He also includes making friends among his regular on-the-job activities.

He especially enjoys the Wednesday recycling route, when there is metal pick-up.

Asked what he likes to tell his friends and family about his work, Troy says it’s this: “I have a good job.”

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