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The Ebco Story

by Angela Tindyebwa

"The reality in Canada today is that we do have a multicultural society. So why not recognize the diversity and celebrate the rich heritage that comes from it?"

At first glance it might seem easy to live with people of other cultures, but given past and present conflicts‹ wars, mistrust, isolation‹it's not always so easy. However, Ebco, a multicultural company in Vancouver facing this same challenge, has proved that we are indeed members of one big human family in spite of some fundamental differences.

Ebco was founded 32 years ago by brothers, Helmut and Hugo Eppich. Having undergone war conditions first in Yugoslavia, then in Germany, the brothers moved to Canada in search of a bet-ter life, where they finally started Ebco.

To explore the personal commitment on which the company was founded, a code of corporate ethics was developed. This code contains three principal values: the value of perfection, the value of prosperity, and the value of the person. The value of perfection was created because Ebco realized that simply creating growth by acquiring or forming companies meant nothing unless each were committed to and adhered to this value. Then they can reap its rewards and experience the value of prosperity.

Flags of Ebco employees
Flags represent the 54 countries of the Ebco employees

The real cornerstone of their corporate culture is the value of the person. Every individual enjoys the right of being listened to and respected. A person's religion is highly valued. At one point, the corporate communications manager, Joe Da Silva, talked with all major religious employers in Vancouver to find out how Ebco could greet its employees of different faiths during religious festivities and celebrations. Amongst those contacted was Molanna Shamin who explained the fundamentals and beauty of Islam. He had two requests: to allow the Muslim brethren to go to the mosque every Friday and to serve Halal meat at their company celebrations. As a result, today all Muslim employees enjoy the right to observe and attend Jumma and other prayers during working hours. In addition, the company has enjoyed a multicultural Christmas brunch with ethnic foods from twelve nations which drew a capacity crowd. This event captured the spirit of Ebco and the spirit of the season.

Ebco also believes that people who work together can enjoy more than a 9 to 5 work rela-tionship. One of the social activities they enjoy is to get together at the Sheridan Lake campsite, where a wide range of events are organized annually by their social clubs.

As a result, Ebco is a good example of how cultural differences can be put aside so people can work together. By respecting people and their backgrounds, Ebco has proven that multicultural policies pay off, not only for the individual, but also for business and the country. They have shown that companies that are prepared and able to tap into today's growing and diverse work force can become more productive and profitable.

Angela Tindyebwa is a graduate of Lester Pearson College and has moved on to Simon Fraser University this fall. Angela volunteered with VIRCS this summer.

The B.C. Government Visible Minority Employees'Association

The B.C. Government Visible Minority Employees' Association works towards a more effective and representative public service through increased recruitment and advancement of visible minorities at all levels of the B.C. Public Service. The Association has created a network for persons of visible minority background who are concerned with issues such as valuing diversity in the workplace, community outreach, creating positive attitudes towards employment equity, creating partnerships with relevant stakeholders and other equity groups and improved recruitment, retention and promotion.

Jeet Rana, 952 0964/
Bhagwant Sandhu, 387 5998

Aboriginal Employees Association

We are a group of excluded and non-excluded Aboriginal employees of the B.C. Provincial Government ministries and crown agencies who meet on a monthly basis, share information on cultural and political events, network on a professional and personal level, hold pot-lucks and a monthly talking circle.

Freda Cox at 356-5187,
Susan Kelly at 356-0544,
Kim Lawson at 356-8083

The History of Racialisation Group (HORG)

HORG meets monthly in members' homes to discuss readings on scholarly work in the field of racialisation. The group also views and discusses films, hosts public lectures by senior faculty members and organises meetings with visiting scholars. An important conference, "Making History, Constructing Race: Situating `Race' in Time, Space and Theory" is scheduled for Victoria on October 23-25, 1998.

Mrinalini Greedharry at 360-2382, or

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