About us

Not 9 to 5 is a non-profit organization empowering hospitality, food and beverage service workers by mobilizing education and support for mental health and substance use. Not 9 to 5 promotes harm reduction practices and helps to connect the hospitality workforce to mental wellness resources. We love real talk but loathe judgement and stigma. 

 

We chose Not 9 to 5 as our name to reflect the untraditional hours of our industry and the all-consuming nature of mental health and substance use challenges. Neither are confined to the hours of “9 to 5.”  We are committed to speaking loud and proud about the struggles we all face working in this industry in order to normalize the conversation and suffocate the stigma. 

There are challenges that are unique and extreme to the hospitality service industry including:

  • People who live with mental health and addiction challenges are drawn to our line of work and our industry has epidemic levels of both

  • Many jobs in restaurants and overall food and beverage service perpetuate unconventional hours, low pay, high-stress pressure, reliance on tips and a lack of healthcare benefits

  • There is easy access to alcohol and we have high rates of illicit substance use 

  • The culture in our industry has traditionally been shaped around masochism where workers repress and suppress mental and emotional experiences

 

Not 9 to 5 was created and developed by the industry for the industry to shift the workplace culture and increase psychological safety in kitchens, bars, restaurants and beyond. Psychological safety simply means that people feel comfortable and safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other without any fear of negative consequences. For too long workers have been told to "check their emotions at the door" and this intolerance of vulnerability has created an environment of suppression. In addition, our industry has easy access to substances and normalizes high levels of consumption which are often adopted as coping mechanisms. 

Hassel Aviles 

With over 15 years of experience in marketing and leadership in the food and beverage industry, Hassel Aviles has grown a fiery passion for restaurants, events and entrepreneurship. From there, she created the Toronto Underground Market (TUM), a large-scale culinary festival designed as an incubator for food entrepreneurs, chefs and home cooks in 2011. Hassel successfully remained as founder and managing director for three years and led a committee and well as hundreds of volunteers. This movement elevated the local economy, tourism and Toronto's culinary industry.

These days, Hassel's passion for the industry is seen through her work as the co-founder of Not 9 to 5, a non-profit organization that empowers hospitality, food and beverage service workers by mobilizing support for mental health and substance use.

Ariel Coplan 

 

From a young age, Ariel Coplan has had a love affair with the food and beverage industry. Early in his career, Ariel worked around the world in renowned restaurants. He later brought his knowledge and experience back to Toronto and opened the now-closed, Thoroughbred Food & Drink. Opening his own restaurant taught him many valuable lessons. The most important, mental health. He was determined to create change and began to have thoughtful discussions focused around mental health with his old friend, Hassel Aviles. Together, they launched Not 9 to 5 in 2018.   

 

Through lived experience, Ariel went through a metamorphosis of questioning the status quo of, "oui chef" mentality and depression. But he empowered himself to change, make improvements and dismantle the destructive nature of the industry.

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