Montreal

Walmart rolls back plan to withdraw from program for people with intellectual disabilities

A week after the retail giant drew sharp criticism for abruptly ending its ties with an on-the-job training program for adults with intellectual disabilities, Walmart now says it will welcome back anyone had been participating in the program.

19 people across Quebec participate in the job training program

In all, 26 Walmart stores in Quebec have participated in the program. (Canadian Press)

A week after the retail giant drew sharp criticism for ending its ties with an on-the-job training program for adults with intellectual disabilities, Walmart now says it will welcome back anyone who previously participated in the program in Quebec.

Vice-president of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada Robert Nicol said the company is still working on the next steps, but it will not completely cut ties with the program as initially announced. 

"We want to ensure that all program participants who want to return under the same conditions that were previously available can do so," he said in an email to Radio-Canada. 

Last week, Walmart said it was phasing out the program, which gives 19 people job experience at stores across Quebec. 

A representative from the CIUSSS de la Capitale-nationale said most of the participants live on social security and in some cases get a small amount of money for their work, but not a salary.

Walmart apologized on the weekend for the confusion caused by the announcement and said it was trying to find other ways of helping people enrolled in the program.

"Our goal was to find other ways to help people in these programs, including direct employment," Nicol stated via email.

Walmart Canada did not specify why it chose to end the program, saying only that it came to "the difficult decision" after conducting a periodic review of its programs and practices.

Twenty-six Walmart stores across Quebec have participated in the program

With files from Radio-Canada