Out of this world Café (OTW Café)

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In 2006 Algoma University, with funding provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation through the Canadian CED Network (CCEDNet), undertook a research initiative designed to identify areas for policy improvement related to social enterprises which employ persons in receipt of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). This is one of four case studies developed as an outcome of this initiative.

The Ontario Council for Alternative Businesses (OCAB) was developed in 1993, out of the growing need for employment opportunities requested by the psychiatric Consumer/Survivor community. The Council's formation was a result of the work being done at Fresh Start Cleaning and Maintenance, a Consumer/Survivor operated janitorial business within the City of Toronto. OCAB‟s mandate is to develop and support social enterprises that provide empowerment, employment, training and skills to Consumer/Survivors, and bring attention to the growing need for these opportunities. OCAB‟s mandate allows them to be a member of the Ontario Peer Development Initiative (OPDI), which supports and strengthens provincial Consumer/Survivor groups, and is also considered a Consumer Survivor Initiative (OPDI, 2006a).

The social enterprises belonging to OCAB employ approximately 80 part-time employees with annual revenues of $450,000 (Brown, 2007). Currently the Raging Spoon, Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises and Out of This World Café (OTW) are the social enterprises run by OCAB. Attention will focus on OTW as it has been identified as having the largest number of employees of the three businesses with annual revenues of approximately $220,000 (Brown, 2007).