Finding an Inclusive Match

Holiday Inn Ottawa East

(Left to right)  Raymundo Patino General Manager Holiday Inn East, Dimitri Jean-Paul, Debbie Hunter Executive Housekeeper Holiday Inn East and Graziella Forbes PPRC Rehabilitation Consultant

Finding an Inclusive Match 

Dimitri Jean-Paul is a good natured, bright young man with ambition and a desire to work.  The only challenge is his hearing loss.  Finding employment is not easy when the world does not know how to communicate with you. Dimitri is not complacent, he knew what he wanted, and he set out to find a service provider that would assist him in finding employment. He selected Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care Inc. (PPRC) and began working with Rehabilitation Consultant Graziella Forbes.

Graziella worked with Dimitri and the PPRC Team of Job Developers and they found a willing employer in the Holiday Inn Ottawa East.  Graziella met with Debbie Baker the Human Resources Manager and she needed workers.  The service industry is fluid and needs good employees.  Debbie saw an opportunity and together they decided that the Holiday Inn would be a great match for Dimitri.  In February 2019, Dimitri started in the laundry and met his new work peers.  Everyone was very receptive and positive.  Dimitri’s direct supervisor, Executive Housekeeper Deborah Hunter, worked with Dimitri to find ways to communicate and ensure he was trained in the job tasks.  PPRC provided Job Coaches and hired interpreters from Sign Language Interpreting Associates Ottawa Inc. (SLIAO) to work with Dimitri and the Holiday Inn while he was training.  Seven months later, “Dimitri is a model employee, he works hard, he is dependable and he goes above and beyond to learn the job and excel” says, Deborah Hunter his direct supervisor.  

Debbie Baker concurs, “Dimitri is always positive and as a result of working with him we have hired a second person with a hearing loss.  He has taught us to be more open in looking for talent.”  

“The support from PPRC and the Disability Awareness and Etiquette Training that the staff received was instrumental” continues Debbie, “it created an environment where everyone was able to understand and work as a team.”

Dimitri for his part is very happy at his work, he is working full time hours which allows him to have more independence and be able to buy things he wants.  He loves the people and working in a team.  “The team is very open to me; we work well together. I like the physical work and getting to go out to the floors. People here have learned some basic sign language which is fun and tells me I am included.” 

But Dimitri stresses that not all deaf people get this outcome. Finding work was hard, “through the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) I found PPRC, they worked with me, I was part of the team. PPRC provided great service and support.”

When I spoke to the Holiday Inn General Manager, Raymundo Patino, he explained that at first the idea was scary and they were not sure how working with a person who was deaf would turnout.  He says it has proven wonderful.  “As an employer you worry, how will we communicate, how will the staff react, can this really work?” That is where PPRC came in, “PPRC provided us with the tools we needed to work with Dimitri, the supports they provided were great. Best of all it translates into how we work with potential clients who may have a disability, having the training makes a difference.”

“One thing I have learned is that we need to explore more, expect the best and be open to new ideas.” Says Raymundo, “This has been a positive experience for us.”

“The key to being successful for a Rehabilitation Consultant is preparing your client for job search and then finding a good match for their interests,” says Graziella.  “You need an employer who is open to inclusion and diversity. You need someone who is willing to grow with the client and work together to provide a successful work environment not only for the client but also for the existing employees.  With Dimitri we found that employer in the Holiday Inn Ottawa East.  A successful match is always rewarding.”

PPRC is a trusted partner providing employment services to persons with disabilities and at no cost to employers, we help you hire suitable candidates.  We navigate the world of inclusivity and accommodation with you. Looking to hire? Contact us at or call 1-800-427-6214 for more information.