A-Way is no ordinary courier company. It was founded in 1987 by people with lived experience of mental health issues specifically to provide meaningful work for all survivors. As well as employment, structure and income it provides community and support, replacing isolation.
A-Way is at times referred to as the ‘first social enterprise’, having been established long before the term existed. Since then, both A-Way and the social enterprise sector have come a long way.
1985 - Users of community support services from Progress Place and Houselink Community Homes initiated discussions with agency staff about the possibilities of developing innovative work opportunities.
1986 - A discussion group had formed which put forward the notion of replacing work projects and handouts with empowering workplaces in which employees could be supported to become more independent. This group met weekly for the next year to develop the concept. Following a feasibility study, start-up and initial operating costs totalling $89,000 were secured from several sources.
1987 - A-Way Express opened its doors on June 1, with ten couriers, one manager and four office staff, and thirty customers.
1992 - A-Way expanded to 45 couriers, seven office staff with a manager and Executive Director to serve their 700 customers.
1995 - A-Way had over 45 couriers, 17 part-time office staff and over 1000 customers.
1998 - A-Way grows out of their office space on Broadview Avenue and moves to 2168 Danforth Avenue.
1999 - Laura Sky produces video Working Like Crazy about A-Way Express.
2002 - Laurie Hall former Executive Director invited to speak at Psychiatry Conference in Yokohama Japan.
2006 - A-Way becomes the lead CSI of Toronto Central LHIN.
2008 - Co-operators produces video A Messenger Service For Peace of Mind.
2012 - A-Way celebrates 25th Anniversary with dinner cruise on Lake Ontario.
2012 - A-Way completes its Strategic Plan for 2012-2017.
2013 - A-Way secures funding for a consultant to conduct a business analysis and development strategy.
2013 - Meredith Cochrane hired as Executive Director.
2014 - A-Way launches its Employment Support program to assist staff who want to move into other employment.
2014 - A-Way launches its new brand.
2015 - A-Way receives a Community Innovator Award from 8-80 Cities.
2015 - A-Way launches its new website.