Gateway Association has historically been an incubator of ideas, implementing employment initiatives and enduring support to build inclusive employment in the community. Learn more about our projects such as The Legacy Project, Cash Mobs, Gateway to Digital Inclusion (GDTI) mobile app, AGM and Mayor’s Events. Stay tuned for our new initiatives in the coming year.


Alberta Legacy for Disability Rights

The history of the intellectual and developmental disability sector (from here on known as “disability sector”) is rich with stories of tragedy and success. Over the last 50 years, Alberta, and specifically Edmonton, has been host to several significant landmark decisions, cultural changes, legal challenges, and human rights contests around the rights of persons with disabilities in our society. This history continues to shape both the cultural and institutional frameworks that impact persons who live with disabilities daily. To learn more about the Alberta Legacy For Disabilities, visit our project below.


Celebrating Inclusive Employers

In February of 2014 Gateway Association kicked off Edmonton’s first cash mob campaign of its kind, celebrating inclusive employers – those who hire inclusively by employing people with disabilities in meaningful, paid roles. We have borrowed the cash mob idea from the Buy Local movement, and applied it to the We Belong movement – the pursuit and support in communities for meaningful, paid work opportunities for people with disabilities.

Throughout the campaign, we will periodically “cash mob” businesses that hire inclusively in and around Edmonton. The goal of the campaign is to reward forward-thinking businesses and to inspire others to consider hiring inclusively. Support continues to build in the community for our inclusive employment cash mobs. Stay tuned for our next cash mob location! Gateway Association does not profit from cash mobbing. All proceeds go directly to the business as a reward for hiring inclusively. On December 3rd, 2017 Gateway partnered with two other organizations across Canada to host the first ever “National Cash Mob”. To see our previous cash mob events, visit us on YouTube!


Gateway to Digital Inclusion

The Gateway to Digital Inclusion mobile app is designed specifically for job seekers, self-advocates, and families. There are free resources available on the app for individuals and families, such as the learning centre, spotlight channel, meeting rooms and more! Learn more about our app and visit our Digital Community page.


Annual General Meeting

Each year, Gateway Association recognizes its members and other community leaders for their strength in making a difference and promoting the values of the community living movement. Gateway’s Arbor Awards honour people in six categories. To nominate someone for any of our Arbor Awards please email us at [email protected]


The Frondosus Award recognizes the hard work and commitment of a volunteer working in the areas of community living and inclusion.

Inclusive Employment

The Opus Award recognizes a business that has had a direct role in the transformation of a person who lives with an intellectual disability through meaningful, inclusive employment.

Family Strength

The Confirmo Award recognizes a parent or family member who has experienced an exceptionally challenging year, but persevered with courage and strength, like the strength and stability of a tree’s trunk.

Youth Leadership

The Pomus Award recognizes a youth or young adult whose ambition and hard work in promoting community living, makes our community a more vibrant and better place. This person will demonstrate strength and commitment in advocating for inclusion and the rights of everyone.

Community Leadership

The Communitas Award recognizes the commitment and dedication of a community leader who works hard to make our neighbourhoods a better place for everyone. This person should demonstrate the values of inclusion in everything they do and be a true role model.

Service Sector

The Ramosus Award is an opportunity to recognize someone from the service sector who has helped you achieve your dreams by ‘branching’ outside their normal role or responsibilities. This person uses every opportunity available to demonstrate and educate about the values of inclusion and community living.


Arbor Awards Nominations

Every year, Gateway Association recognizes its members and other community leaders for their efforts to make a difference and promote community living, inclusion and strengthening its values. Gateway’s Arbor Awards honour people in six categories.


Mayor's Event

Implementing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in a work place specifically starts with leadership. The tone and example that leaders of communities and organizations set is essential. Remembering that disability is the largest minority group when thinking about EDI is also essential.


    The 11th Annual Mayors Luncheon; Equitable Employment Leadership Summit to explore how we can create fairer workplaces by focusing on intersectionality. This is your chance to learn from experts, share ideas, and meet others who are also committed to improving diversity and inclusion at work. We'll dive into practical ways to understand and address the unique challenges faced by diverse employees. Be part of the change and help build a work environment where everyone's differences are recognized and valued. Sponsor us now to make a difference.

    This 11th Annual Mayors Luncheon Summit is an esteemed event that is not just a gathering but a powerful platform to accelerate progress, forge meaningful connections, and cultivate leadership in the realm of inclusive employment. It serves as a unique opportunity for attendees to engage with and learn from other employers and leaders dedicated to inclusive hiring practices.


    The inception of the Mayor’s Luncheon traces back to a legacy project that followed the hosting of the 2012 Special Olympics Winter Games by St. Albert, marking the beginning of what would become a cornerstone event for advocacy and inclusion. Over the past seven years, the luncheon has seen remarkable growth, evolving into a must-attend event that now welcomes over 200 guests annually. Its success is a testament to the collective effort and commitment of communities across Alberta to embrace and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


    Mayors from across Alberta, and even some from beyond, make it a point to attend every year, underscoring the event's significance and reach. Notably, the Capital Region's mayors, especially Mayor Cathy Heron of St. Albert, have shown exceptional dedication to this cause. Their ongoing support and leadership have been instrumental in enhancing the luncheon year after year, ensuring it remains a vibrant, impactful, and enriching experience for all involved.


    This year, as we prepare to host another Mayor’s Luncheon, we are filled with anticipation and excitement for the opportunity to continue building on this legacy. We look forward to welcoming new and returning guests, sharing insights, celebrating achievements in inclusive employment, and setting the stage for future advancements. Together, we are making strides towards a more inclusive society, one where every individual, regardless of disability, has the opportunity to contribute, participate, and lead.

    Learn more about the history and impact of the event by watching this video


    Get Your 2024 Mayors Luncheon Tickets Here!

      The 10th Anniversary Mayor’s Luncheon is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Sectoral Initiatives Program, bringing together Municipal Government leaders from across Alberta, as well as Business and Employment Inclusion Service Providers to engage, learn and explore collaborative strategies to fast-track EDI and create inclusive workplace cultures that includes Albertans with disabilities.

      With workforce demographics shifting, and our workforce becoming more diverse, NOW is the time for workplaces to lean in and build their knowledge and capacity to create inclusive workplaces. At minimum 22% of the working-age population, disability is not an equity-deserving group that can be ignored. Workers with disabilities, and the publicly-funded service providers that support them, can have a profound impact on workplace EDI capacity and ‘coach’ more inclusive workplace cultures.

      Gateway's Mayor’s Luncheon will provide an impactful, dynamic event that connects workplace leaders with employment inclusion thought, leaders and diverse talent pools to ignite a paradigm shift in how we approach talent attraction, inclusive recruitment and workforce development.

      Futureproof your workplace - join us to build the knowledge, capacity and connections required to create inclusive workplace cultures and attract talent – while also improving employment outcomes for Albertans with disabilities.

      Program Itinerary:
      9:30 - 11:30am - Service Provider Learning Opportunities
      11:30 - 1:00pm - Lunch, Mayor's Luncheon Commemoration, Panel Discussion
      1:30 - 3:30pm - Leading Inclusion Session and Round-Table
      3:45pm - Cocktails/Networking

      Learn more about the history and impact of the event by watching this video


      Get Your 2023 Mayors Luncheon Tickets Here!

        The 2022 Mayors Luncheon event was funded in part by the Government of Canada's Sectoral Initiatives Program.

        On a national scale, there is more innovation coming out of Alberta than any other province when it comes to Inclusive Workplaces. This innovation coincides with the recent investment and development in diversified industries, including a soon to be flourishing tech sector. To make space for great innovation, comes the need to evaluate areas that have room for growth, and this starts with our leaders! Join other leaders and changemakers to strengthen our workplaces and communities through Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

        In line with our original mission, “transform community through the lens of disability”, and its evolving mission which includes a wider lens that takes into account all those who are from all marginalized communities, Gateway Association hosts the annual Mayor’s Luncheon to build momentum and leadership for a more inclusive business community. This is the platform in Alberta to build momentum, evolve leadership practices, and learn from fellow employers and leaders who advocate for and hire inclusively from all members of the marginalized population. Local politicians and forward-thinking business leaders from across the province come to connect with others who support inclusive hiring. Last year, Capital Region Mayor’s pledged their support to Workplace Inclusion through individual video pledges, as well as, a video supporting workplace inclusion: (less then 1.5 minutes) 2021 Mayor’s Event Video

        Workplace inclusion is the answer to meeting labour market needs, employee retention, diversification of products – all of these are necessary to a growing Alberta. Along with the opportunity to network, the yearly event is an opportunity to build momentum, leadership and to learn from other employers and leaders who advocate for and hire inclusively.


        You’ll leave this event with:

        • New connections and networks
        • Numerous inclusion resources, tools, and next steps
        • New and innovative insights and ideas


        Gateway Association is a family and employment resource centre based in Edmonton has acted to support the capital region over the last 47 years. Gateway has taken a lead in influencing policy, creating programs, and building capacity in the Edmonton capital region for individuals and their families living with disability-based and/or mental health-based challenges. This impact has only grown with the opening of our Calgary office and the introduction of our Alberta-Wide new initiative: Gateway to Equity Diversity and Inclusivity initiative- GEDI-Hub.


        9th Annual Mayor’s Luncheon

        Future Proof Your Business Through Equity, Diversity, And Inclusion-Ideas To Action

        May 17, 11:30-1pm

        J.W. Marriott-Edmonton Ice District

        Online attendance available

        Get Your Tickets!

        This year’s program includes:

        • Networking opportunities
        • Mayoral Welcome- Mayor Heron, Mayor of St. Albert
        • Keynote speech -Inclusion Champion-Chantelle Painter, HR Recruitment & Engagement Manager, The Brick
        • Chantelle will share The Brick’s commitment to Diversity & Inclusion and their inclusive recruitment and workplace culture strategies they use.
        • Panel discussion with Capital Region Mayors “Business
        • Resiliency through Community and Inclusion”. Moderated by MacEwan University.
        • This Panel of Mayors will discuss their thoughts on how to continue to support more inclusive communities and workplaces and they will share some of the ways this is being done in their own communities including any new initiatives they implementing or planning.
        • Closing remarks and Mayor’s video messages.


        Event Partners & Sponsors:

        For more information please do not hesitate to contact Renate Burwash, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Gateway Association: [email protected]

        This year's program includes:

        • Hear from our Keynote Speaker:

        Mark Wafer is a disability rights activist. Until recently he was the owner of six highly successful Tim Hortons locations in Toronto. During his 25 years in the business Mark employed over 200 workers with disabilities in all areas of the operation including senior management.  At any given time approximately 17% of his workforce identified as having a disability.

        Mark is an internationally recognized expert on the economics of inclusion. He is an advisor to governments around the world and is responsible for Canada’s national disability employment strategy.

        Mark has received many awards and recognition for his work most notably from her majesty,  Queen Elizabeth II.  He was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in 2014

        Mark is also a Motorsports enthusiast, former race car driver and 2008 Canadian historic sports car champion.


        Tentative Agenda: (finalized by March 1st)

        • Welcoming
        • Address from Mayor Heron
        • Lunch
        • Keynote Speaker
        • Presentation from Gateway & Partnerships

        Lunch Includes 1 Workshop Ticket (workshops to be updated) Limited seating.

        Our Mayors Luncheon has grown into a must-attend event for politicians and business leaders from across the province who see the value in building diversity into strong hiring strategies.

        The theme for #MayorsLunch2018 is Leaders of Diversity and Inclusion.

        This year we are excited to welcome keynote speaker Neil Hunter, a Director at Deloitte LLP, which is one of Canada’s leading professional services firms.

        Last year we welcomed over 200 mayors and business leaders from across the province: Edmonton’s Deputy Mayor Michael Walters; St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse; Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke; Spruce Grove Mayor Stuart Houston; MLA Ronald Orr; MLA David Shepherd; MLA Erin Babcock; MLA Jon Carson; MLA Thomas Dang; MLA Dr. Bob Turner; and many more.

        Gateway Association works with job seekers who live with developmental disabilities and employers that value diversity to build and support meaningful, paid employment relationships.

        Gateway’s Mayors Luncheon, in its sixth year, has grown into a must-attend event for politicians and business leaders across the province who see the value in building diversity into strong hiring strategies.

        Gateway Association is proud to host #MayorsLunch2017 in partnership with Prospect. Gateway works with job seekers who live with disabilities and employers that value diversity to build and support meaningful, paid employment relationships. Prospect helps people who face barriers to employment overcome those obstacles by supporting individual skill development and creating workplace capacity. We’re excited to work together as like-minded social service organizations to keep building capacity in community toward belonging for all people.

        The topic at #MayorsLunch2017 will be: Navigating Complex Relationships in Business – How to work together to build successful diversity strategies.

        This year we’re excited to welcome keynote speaker Maureen HalldorsonRBC’s Regional Vice President, Financial Planning, who will talk about RBC’s values and innovation around inclusion and diversity and how to build diversity into a strong business model.

        We’re also pleased to celebrate the City of Edmonton’s leadership in this area with its pioneering Abilities@Work program, presented by Mark Farr, the City’s Diversity Recruitment Consultant, along with a union representative, to talk about how municipalities and unions can work together to achieve success with diversity and hiring.

        Last year we welcomed 200 mayors and business leaders from across the province: Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson; St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse, the mayor who started our yearly Mayors Luncheon with us in 2012; Strathcona County Mayor Roxanne Carr; Mayor Mike Bradley from Sarnia, Ont.; Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given; Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke; Stony Plain Mayor William Choy; Devon Mayor Stephen Lindop; Wetaskiwin Mayor Bill Elliot; and Westlock Mayor Ralph Leriger.

        We hope to see new and familiar faces at #MayorsLunch2017!

        Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for helping make this happen: Prospect; City of Edmonton; City of St. Albert; Home Depot; and Ready, Willing & Able!

        Our theme this year is: “Achieving Diversity Through Great Partnerships.”

        Keynote speaker Mike Bradley, Mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, challenged the mayors of all the municipalities across the province of Ontario to get every person who lives with a disability working in their communities. He will share the ins and outs of how building and leaning on good partnerships is the key to success with diversity in business, and how mayors can play a key role in that process. “We don’t hire, but we create the culture,” he says.

        We are excited to welcome Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse, and Strathcona County Mayor Roxanne Carr.

        Guest speaker Michael Liber, owner of Baseline Dairy Queen in Sherwood Park, is a huge champion of diversity who believes wholeheartedly in inclusive hiring and trains managers at Dairy Queens across Canada on how to do it well.

        Guest speaker Corbin Bourree, managing director of Spud.ca’s Edmonton shop, is proud of the organic online grocer’s diverse workplace culture, one the company has spent much time and energy nurturing, of which inclusive hiring is an important part.

        Join Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson & St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse at the Gateway Mayor’s Luncheon & Workshop celebrating inclusive hiring

        Tuesday, May 19, 2015

        At … the Ramada Edmonton Hotel & Conference Centre, 11834 Kingsway Avenue

        Featuring … Canadian business leader Mark Wafer as keynote speaker and local business leader Jay Quintal, founder of X-Calibur, as master of ceremonies.

        Luncheon: The Business Case for Inclusion

        11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

        Discover how your business can tap into a $26-billion market that is often overlooked. Keynote speaker Mark Wafer, a national disability advocate, will share how he boosted his bottom line by championing inclusive hiring. Wafer owns six Tim Hortons locations in Toronto. Over the past 20 years, he has hired 107 people with disabilities.

        Tickets: $40, or $300/table of eight.

        Workshop: The Approach to Business That Works

         1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

        The workshop offers strategies and best practices to employers interested in inclusive hiring. Facilitator Mark Wafer is on the federal government’s Panel on Labour Market Opportunities; is cofounder of national organization Canadian Business SenseAbility; and was recently inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame.

        Tickets: $40 each.

        Are you a business that wants to be a leader in inclusive hiring?  Come to learn more at our annual St. Albert Mayor’s Luncheon, with special guest, Mayor Nolan Crouse.

        • Hear from local businesses and organization who already hire inclusively and learn about their experiences
        • Debunk common myths and preconceptions about intellectual disabilities and hiring inclusively
        • Find out where employers can go for support in inclusive hiring and hear about a different approach that focuses on empowering both the job-seeker and employer to work together


        **Great for Human Resources employees and Management teams looking to diversify their labour force **

        For alternative payment arrangements, or to notify us of any special dietary requirements, please call Gateway Association at 780-454-0701.

        Since 2012 Gateway Association has hosted a yearly luncheon in partnership with local politicians and forward-thinking business leaders. The Mayors Luncheon serves as a networking opportunity and a connecting place for those in the business community who support inclusion in hiring.

        For the first time the Mayors Luncheon is going to become the Mayors Mixer! This afternoon event will encourage learning, development, networking, and much more. Stay tuned for the official release of tickets!

        Our goal is to keep working with partners to nurture diverse and inclusive communities across the province. We provide ongoing support to municipalities and employers who see the cultural and financial benefits of creating a sense of belonging for all people.

        The Mayors Luncheon began in 2012 with the support of former St. Alberta Mayor, Nolan Crouse. The Luncheon continues with major contributions from current St. Alberta Mayor, Cathy Heron.

        Funded in part by the Government of Canada's Sectoral Initiatives Program

        Financé en partie par le Gouvernement du Canada par programme d'appui aux initiatives sectorielles


        Join Gateway Association’s mission to build more inclusive communities.

        Contact Us

        201- 10941 120 Street NW
        Edmonton, AB  T5H 3R3
        Tel: 780-454-0701


        1206 20 Ave SE
        Calgary, AB  T2G 1M8
        Tel:  587-779-7888



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