IKEA Canada and ACCES Employment Rally to Help Refugees During COVID Crisis 

May 12, 2020 

During the COVID-19 crisis in Canada, we have heard many stories of Canadians rallying to help the most vulnerable in our society get through these difficult times. Canada’s refugee population is facing particular challenges during this pandemic. Refugees are fleeing their home countries because of war, trauma, political instability, and any number of difficult circumstances and looking for a better life in Canada. Many of them are dealing with housing, food, and financial crises and finding employment can be difficult, especially now. 

IKEA Canada and ACCES Employment have teamed up to bring joy into the lives of Canada’s refugee families. As the depth of the COVID-19 pandemic grew, IKEA Canada committed over $2M to support local vulnerable communities including the homeless, newcomers, children, and refugees. Along with this generous commitment, IKEA reached out to ACCES Employment for ideas to further support our refugee jobseekers. In the end, IKEA provided ACCES with 50 relief and care packages to deliver to these families. 

IKEA created generous packages that were delivered on April 28 and 29, 2020 to bring much needed help and some happiness and joy during the pandemic. The packages included quality wares such as oven pans; cooking and kitchen utensils; towel sets; bedding, pillow and duvet sets; arts and crafts sets for children; and a warm message of hope from IKEA for the refugee community. “We’re so honoured to have been able to build on our partnership with ACCES Employment and provide support to these families during this difficult time,” said Melissa Barbosa, Sustainability Manager at IKEA Canada. “At IKEA, our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. These care packages are a simple way for us to help ensure that our most vulnerable communities feel safe and comfortable in their homes when they need it most.” 

Allison Pond, President and CEO of ACCES Employment, shares that IKEA and ACCES have been partnering to help refugees to secure employment since early 2018. Most recently, when IKEA launched a coast-to-coast refugee employment program in 2019, ACCES joined as a key local-agency partner in Ontario as part of the three-year initiative.  “When IKEA contacted us about doing something to help our refugee network during the COVID-19 crisis, I knew how much the contribution would mean to our refugee jobseekers. These generous gifts from IKEA could not have come at a better time.” 

For Gladys Maradza and her family, the gifts raised their spirits during these difficult times. “Your gifts are lovely and have left a great aura of happiness and joy in our hearts. My girls are over the moon and my family and I sincerely appreciate it.” The Maradza family are refugee claimants from Zimbabwe. Gladys is enrolled in the START program for women at ACCES and is hoping to find employment in the customer service sector when she completes the program.