A Valuable Resource for Local Industries
Tasks most workers would find tedious, QPAC employees enjoy and that has been a boon to some 50 different companies in Dufferin County and the GTA. “Many of the jobs we have done for the fifty companies are one-off,” said Denyse Small, “but we regularly work for seventeen manufacturers from Dufferin, Wellington, Toronto and Mississauga.” Denyse is General Manager of Quality Packaging and Assembly (QPAC) and Manager of Employment Services for Community Living Dufferin (CLD).
The assembly jobs QPAC takes on can be very simple – attaching plastic clips to rollers for dishwasher trays, or washers on spouts for jerry cans. Generally there’s a quota to reach. “The energy in the room can be electric,” said Denyse, “and sometimes we have to set up tables in the next room to make sure everything gets out on time.”
Custom Automotive Assembly and Packaging
Jobs can also be quite complex, as well. For a local automotive supplier QPAC employees regularly assemble components used in brake line and gas line harnesses with a number of different parts. It’s just a matter of breaking the job down into small steps and setting up an assembly line, said Denyse. “There’s a learning curve. It can take a couple of weeks before things start moving quickly but our customers allow for that.” The packaging jobs are generally short term, such as filling envelopes and assembling hardware kits.
There was a time when few realized the capability that developmentally challenged adults have. So they were kept out of sight. But now through the efforts of CLD and QPAC (and similar organizations across the country), they get to feel the pride of accomplishment for a job well done and the pleasure of a paycheck. “At first there was a lot of resistance,” said Denyse. “QPAC employees didn’t think they could do it and didn’t want to try, but now they’re eager to take on a new job, especially when it involves new tools.” One plum job is assembling mufflers for central vacuum cleaners because it requires electric drills to secure end caps on tubes.
What’s also impressive is the quality of the work. QPAC employees focus on each step and take pride in, for instance, placing the spring clip exactly in the middle of the yellow paint mark on the end of a rubber tube.
Flexible Manufacturing Workforce
QPAC has a flexible workforce. Forty people can be called in to work as needed. Whether the quota is 700 units a day or 50,000 a month, QPAC workers are up for the challenge and local manufacturers benefit because the costs are lower, QPAC takes on the hiring and training of the people involved, and everyone, including the QPAC employees themselves, gains a better understanding of the abilities and importance of people who were once shuffled out of sight.