Social Enterprises and the Ontario Disability Support Program Case Study: Out of This World Café (Toronto)

The Canadian CED Network, The Ontario Trillium Foundation

Year: 2006

The mission of Out of this World Café is to assist the community by employing current in-patients and out-patients of the psychiatric community, increasing their communal integration by providing real-world experience to those faced with mental illness. At the same time Out of This World Café provides the surrounding community with great food at great prices.

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).