On May 25, 2015, John McLellan was presented with the 2014 City of Pickering Civic Access Award for Disability Issues by Mayor Dave Ryan and Councillor Ian Cumming. “It was fantastic. It made me very proud. My father was a quadriplegic and I grew up around accessibility issues,” says McLellan, owner of John McLellan Contracting Inc. His company was also nominated for Excellence Canada’s 2014 David C. Onley Ontario Accessibility Award.
Accessibility renovations affect the quality of life for individuals, and McLellan approaches every project with this in mind. Most of the time, funding agencies will grant accessibility renovation contracts to companies with the lowest bid. McLellan will visit projects that he didn’t win only to discover that the contractors just didn’t get it. As a result, McLellan was inspired to educate the construction industry.
McLellan partnered with Colin McCarthy, a disability awareness consultant at Accessibility Professionals of Ontario who performs audits on companies for accessibility, and the Canadian Association of Renovators and Home Services (CARAHS). “Together we created a training course for accessible construction,” says McLellan, “It is a level one introduction to accessible construction and goes over some of the basics that you need to know.”
John McLellan Contracting has grown steadily over 20 years and now has 49 employees with eight divisions. McLellan believes that the hiring of field specialists has played a huge part in the company’s success. “It’s all about taking good care of your clients so that they know who to call if they have any problems,” he says.
“John really understands families living with disabilities,” says Heather M. O’Connor, whose daughter Susan was the winner of the Extreme Home Accessibility Renovation Contest, in which McLellan and Durham Medical donated a $30,000 accessible home renovation to a family in need. “He made the way we live safe for our daughter and safe for us.
Some people are all business. John’s all heart.”