By focusing on inclusive business practices, Good Foot Delivery works hard to reduce inequality by breaking down barriers those with developmental disabilities face in the workforce through a competitive, Toronto-based courier service.
York University- Schulich School of Business
Good Foot Delivery is a courier service that hires individuals with developmental disabilities. Good Foot provides a same-day delivery service within Toronto, on foot and via public transit. Customers have two options – express delivery, which is delivered within 2 hours and basic delivery, which is delivered by the end of day. Good Foot employees 40 couriers and is currently training 2 new hires. On any given day, Good Foot sees between 50 to 100 deliveries. The organization consistently sees increases in sale; from 2017 to 2018 there was a 60% increase in delivery revenue. With an astounding 17,000 deliveries, 2018 was Good Foot’s best year.
Good Foot embraces three values that aim to break down many barriers – fostering an inclusive workplace, managing environmental impact and redefining community involvement. As has been emphasized by the Operations Manager, "this is a challenging task, but every day is an opportunity to improve the lives of our couriers." Focused on inclusivity, Good Foot doesn't look for the "ideal" candidate, instead the organization accepts every individual and tries to find a place within the organization for them. Some couriers are only able to complete routine deliveries, meaning they complete the same delivery on the same day, every week. Other couriers are able to travel across Toronto, juggling multiple deliveries at a time. Stressing the importance of development, Good Foot tries to involve the couriers in the day to day business as much as it can. According to the Operations Manager, "those couriers that have grasped couriering take on training responsibilities, dedicating time to train new hires on the ins and outs of being a courier." Certain couriers also take on the role of dispatcher, dispatching orders on a particular day of the week. These added responsibilities provide transferable skills, like customer service and data entry, that can bolster future hireability. Good Foot is also able to leverage its many partnerships to provide skills training for couriers within the community.
Finally, because Good Foot prides itself on being more than a job, community involvement plays an important role in creating feelings of belongingness and strengthening ties within and outside of Good Foot. Good Foot is a safe space, so couriers come to the office to spend time with their fellow couriers and the management team. Good Foot’s location, within the Centre for Social Innovation, allows couriers to interact with open-minded individuals on a daily basis. Good Foot also plans numerous social events every month to get the team socializing amongst themselves and with others.
The idea came to fruition for Kirsten Gauthier when her brother Jon Gauthier shared his exhaustion with trying to find a job. To put it simply, he had been finding it quite difficult, if not impossible, to find a job even though he had the skills and drive to succeed. This, coupled with, the meagre stipend provided by the government, sparked the idea for Good Foot. Kirsten realised that if her brother was going through these struggles, others would be too. To be successful, this initiative had to be more than just employment for a particular segment of the population. The pair knew that they had to provide a reliable and competitive service to ensure that customers saw the value in doing business with Good Foot. The organization started with two couriers, slowly growing its customer base through marketing and the building of strong customer relationships to become what it is today.
For individuals with developmental disabilities unemployment rates are higher, even though they want to, and are able to, work. Stigmas surrounding the employability of individuals with developmental disabilities have exacerbated the presence of barriers to employment. Whether it is the prejudices of employers or the lack of public policy enforcing inclusive practices, these individuals face an endless struggle when trying to live an independent life. Good Foot’s role is to break down these barriers.
Good Foot Delivery has redefined how strangers perceive developmental disabilities. Whether it’s delivering important legal mail or pharmacy prescriptions, couriers are assigned, and successfully complete, deliveries that well-known companies and individuals have placed. Couriers project possibility as they complete their deliveries. These inclusive practices have allowed many couriers to flourish and live more independent lives. Mike, a courier on the autism spectrum, rarely left home and had few friends. After almost 8 years with Good Foot, Mike regularly travels across Toronto and provides recommendations for monthly social events. The Operations Manager emphasizes "we see growth amongst our couriers everyday." As more and more couriers join Good Foot, a greater portion of the underserved population finds engaging and meaningful employment. Community involvement raises brand awareness, breaks down preconceived notions and most importantly makes couriers feel comfortable when interacting with new people or trying new things. Social events and events through partners bring exposure to the couriers’ capabilities, and more broadly all individuals with developmental disabilities. Speaking engagements at numerous events in Toronto allow Good Foot to not only promote what it does but more importantly speak about the possibilities that come about when you give people a chance. Good Foot hopes to lead by example, encouraging other organizations to embrace inclusive hiring practices.
The impact believing in, and employing, individuals with developmental disabilities has is captured every day with the work Good Foot does. At the beginning, the organization was able to hire a few couriers, but now, 10 years after inception, the team is made up of about 40 couriers. The existence and growth of Good Foot has allowed more and more individuals to lead fulfilling and independent lives.
Giving these individuals a chance brought in couriers that are reliable and embrace the Good Foot vision in everything they do. Couriers’ pride and dedication sets Good Foot apart from its competitors. Couriers bring on new customers by bringing awareness to Good Foot through conversations and their day to day activities. Good Foot’s success is their success! This approach has allowed Good Foot to grow and thrive within the community. Since inception the organization has grown dramatically, in couriers, sales and partnerships. By focusing on providing a reliable service, Good Foot has ensured its presence in the community is professional. People don't just recommend Good Foot because of its social values, they recommend Good Foot because Good Foot couriers get the job done. Good Foot’s purpose, combined with the exemplar service provided, has allowed the organization to grow and prosper.
Good Foot is not just a courier service, it is an organization that provides staff a community that embraces every courier’s capabilities. Many are under the false assumption that individuals with developmental disabilities can’t work. This assumption is the driving force of higher unemployment rates among these individuals. Good Foot works hard to break down these barriers and provide a greater understanding about the employability of these individuals. Good Foot’s societal benefit is two-fold – an underserved population finds employment and stigmas are fought. These couriers often stayed home and were very reliant on government funding. Good Foot lessened this dependence and provided a space to grow at one’s own pace. Striving for yearly growth to ensure the hiring of more couriers, Good Foot works hard to provide a welcoming atmosphere for all those willing to learn.
To manage its environmental impact, Good Foot couriers complete their deliveries on foot or via public transit. Couriers are encouraged to take routes that involve more walking and less transit, especially if the impact on the time spent delivering is low. This approach lessens every couriers impact which in turn reduces the organization’s overall impact.
Devon Waldron, Operations Manager
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Toronto, ON, CA
Business Website: https://www.goodfootdelivery.com
Year Founded: 2009
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
Good Foot Delivery is a courier service that hires individuals with developmental disabilities and provides a same-day delivery service within Toronto, on foot and via public transit. Good Foot embraces three values that aim to break down many barriers – fostering an inclusive workplace, managing environmental impact and redefining community involvement. Its purpose, combined with the exemplar service provided, has allowed the organization to grow and prosper.