Cosmos Industries to Lose Recycling Contract

This just out of Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada this morning. Saskatoon has long been home to one of the largest sheltered workshops in our Nation. Cosmo Industries first recieved national coverage for it’s discriminatory practice of paying participants with developmental disabilities less than minimum wage, and more over, less then their non-disabled co-workers for doing the same recycling job on the “line” in their workshop which is a day program for over 400 citizens with disabilities. Those of you who are regular readers of Inclusive Humanity’s web page may remember two posts written about Cosmo Industries. The first before I visited them, the second after being invited to spend an entire day at their institution. (see links to previous articles). Today the Star Phoenix announced that Cosmopolitan Industries tender for curb side recycling is not being considered by the city, in favour of Loraas Recycling.

Cosmos’s Manger of Community Relations Ken Gryschuk had plenty to say on the subject, calling it a “reversal of over 3 decades of progress for adults with developmental disabilities”. He is also quoted as saying this decision will “effectively marginalize them”. It seems to me that Mr. Gryschuk needs a re-fresher course in what marginalization means.

Oh sure, there will be the usual outcry from the pity pedlars who will bemoan the loss of a “work-like, special place, for THOSE people to go to during the day”. But before the hysteria ensues, lets consider the other activities Cosmo Industries could and should be facilitating. They could invest in training their staff members to support participants to become connected in meaningful and authentic ways to their home communities, through real work for real pay (I know lots of people don’t believe that EVERYONE CAN WORK-although countless academic studies and practical models of accommodation and inclusion will prove you wrong), or through volunteer opportunities, faith based communities, leisure and career development.

As with the last two posts I wrote about Cosmo industries there stands an open invitation from Inclusive Humanity to provide whatever support, facilitation, or training this organization might need in order to make this transition-we sure don’t have all the answers but we do so love working through the questions.

The world is changing…segregation, objectification, exploitation, (even under the auspices of charity or benevolence) are the harbingers of isolation, loneliness and the disintegration of justice. Lets build something wonderful on the foundation of what was cutting edge and innovative 40 years ago.

Lets build something that helps people create real, human and fulfilling lives.

Call me!

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