Walmart ‘sincerely apologizes’ over confusion around program for people with intellectual disabilities


Walmart is apologizing two days after it said it would end involvement in a program that gives on-the-job training to people with intellectual disabilities in Quebec saying the announcement “created confusion.”

Vice-president of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada Robert Nicol issued the statement Saturday that Walmart would continue to support people in the program.

“Our goal was to find other ways to help people in these programs, including direct employment,” Nicol stated via email.

He did not specify how the retailer would continue to help.

He added that the way the initial announcement was handled confused and disappointed people and the company “sincerely apologizes for it.”

Walmart announced last week that it will no longer participate in a program that gives training to people with intellectual disabilities.

It announced at the time that it was “phasing this out over the next few weeks.”

“We wish all participants the very best and thank them for their time with us,” the company said in a statement.

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette tweeted that he doesn’t believe the company’s Saturday clarification.

“I only have one message for management at Walmart: I don’t believe you,” he posted.

A spokesperson for the CIUSSS de la Capitale-nationale, the regional health authority, said Friday that the people participating in the program weren’t paid employees, but were more like interns.

He said most of the participants live on social security and in some cases get a small amount of money for their work, but not a salary.

“They feel good being good being linked to a business,” CIUSSS’s Alan Burns told Radio-Canada Friday. “They feel useful.”

He said that even without Walmart, the CIUSSS has about 30 similar agreements with other businesses.


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