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Verafin Inc., led by Jamie King, has introduced flexible 'no limit' vacation policies, letting employees decide how much time they need in any given year. (Paul Daly for The Globe and Mail)
Verafin Inc., led by Jamie King, has introduced flexible 'no limit' vacation policies, letting employees decide how much time they need in any given year. (Paul Daly for The Globe and Mail)

2016 Edition

Many of Canada’s Top 100 Employers have staying power Add to ...

It’s a significant achievement to make the list for Canada’s Top 100 Employers but dozens of Canadian organizations manage to be the best in their field year after year. So how do they do it?

The simple answer is that they’ve made their companies exceptional places to work, but that’s not enough to explain their staying power. Companies rise to the top by continuing to evolve so they get even better. Every year. That requires a dedicated commitment to making their workplace the best it can possibly be through a wide variety of progressive and innovative programs.

Repeat winners are always finding new ways to improve, such as Stryker Canada Inc. in Hamilton that recently showed its support for new moms and dads by increasing parental leave top-up payments to 100 per cent of salary for 26 weeks. Another consistent winner, Telus Corp. in Vancouver, just welcomed a chief wellness officer to support employee efforts to make healthy choices.

Still others introduced new and brave ground-breaking measures. Examples include Vancouver City Savings Credit Union that became a Living Wage Employer, a program that recognizes the social and economic benefits of paying a real living wage for all its employees and service providers, and Verafin Inc. in St. John’s that joined a growing group of small- and medium-sized employers that are introducing flexible “no limit” vacation policies, letting employees decide how much time they need in any given year.

Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply to the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition, regardless of size, whether private or public sector. With the number of new organizations making the list ranging between 20 and 25 per cent in any given year over the past decade, the challenge is clear.

Methodology

While a few new questions may be added each year, the underlying criteria of the selection process used to choose the winners of Canada’s Top 100 Employers remains remarkably stable.

“What does change are the answers,” says Richard Yerema, managing editor for Canada’s Top 100 Employers. “This is the important part from our perspective, since more employers answering ever more questions ultimately translates into what we document as evolving benefit programs for employees.”

The criteria that the editors of Mediacorp Canada use for judging the best workplaces has stayed the same since the project began in 1999. Competition focuses on eight key areas:

1) Physical workplace.

2) Work atmosphere and social.

3) Health, financial and family benefits.

4) Vacation and time off.

5) Employee communications focused on how employers capture employee feedback.

6) Performance management.

7) Training and skills development.

8) Community involvement.

Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2016 Edition

3M Canada Co., London, Ont. Technology manufacturing; 1,818 employees. Features a fully-equipped fitness facility at head office with free memberships for employees.

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc./APTN, Winnipeg. Television broadcasting; 146 employees. Encourages employees to actively volunteer and support aboriginal initiatives in the community

Accenture Inc.,Toronto. Management consulting; 3,476 employees. Offers a generous in vitro fertilization (IVF) subsidy to employees requiring in-vitro fertilization treatments.

Agriculture Financial Services Corp./AFSC, Lacombe, Alta. Credit intermediation; 598 employees. Manages a unique “Farmin’ 101” training program for all employees without an agricultural background.

Agrium Inc., Calgary. Nitrogenous fertilizer manufacturing; 3,560 employees. Invests in employee education with generous tuition subsidies, up to $5,000 each year.

Air Canada, Saint-Laurent, Que. Airline; 23,142 employees. Maintains a pension and benefits committee which monitors pension developments and advocates for pension protection and reform.

Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Boyle, Alta. Pulp mills; 435 employees. Offers new employees an interest-free home loan up to $25,000 when moving to the region.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc., Hamilton. Iron and steel mills; 10,200 employees. Ensures that employees and retirees, including family members, have free access to the F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre.

Bank of Canada, Ottawa. Banking; 1,511 employees. Offers unique opportunities for work exchanges with other central banks and finance organizations around the world.

BASF Canada Inc., Mississauga. Chemical manufacturing; 683 employees. Offers maternity and parental leave top-up for new moms and dads, including adoptive parents.

Bayer Inc., Mississauga. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,639 employees. Offers new employees three weeks of starting vacation, increasing to four after four years on the job.

BC Public Service, Victoria. Provincial government; 24,989 employees. Offers employees the stability of a defined benefit pension plan and a health plan that extends through their retirement years.

BDC/Business Development Bank of Canada, Montreal. Financing; 1,978 employees. Supports new parents with assistance in finding convenient daycare when they’re ready to return to work.

Bell Canada, Montreal. Telecommunications; 38,822 employees. Created the national “Let's Talk” initiative to support mental health awareness initiatives across Canada.

Cameco Corp., Saskatoon. Uranium mining; 3,030 employees. Encourages employee education and development through an impressive variety of in-house and online training programs.

Campbell Co. of Canada, Toronto. Food preparation and packaging; 750 employees. Offers subsidized employee memberships to a fully equipped fitness facility at their newly renovated head office.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Toronto. Banking; 35,438 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan.

Canadian National Railway Co./CN, Montreal. Railroads; 16,888 employees. Supports numerous local and national charitable initiatives across the country.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Ottawa. National security; 3,299 employees. Allows employees to apply for an unpaid leave of absence for unique reasons, including continuing education, military service, spousal relocation, political appointments or even to run for elected office.

Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., Toronto. Retail stores; 85,000 employees. Offers a number of communication and feedback tools to keep employees informed and capture their feedback.

Carswell, a division of Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., Toronto. Publishers: 912 employees. Encourages employees to support their favourite community organization directly with paid time off to volunteer.

CBCL Ltd., Halifax. Engineering services; 258 employees. Offers its new moms the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence.

Ceridian HCM, Winnipeg. Payroll services; 1,566 employees. Offers postsecondary scholarships for employees with college-aged children.

Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Toronto. Child and youth services; 749 employees. Considers previous work experience when setting vacation time for new employees.

Cisco Systems Canada Co., Toronto. Computer and equipment manufacturing; 1,633 employees. Ensures everyone shares in the company’s success through profit-sharing and year-end bonuses,

College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, Vancouver. Professional organizations; 113 employees. Helps employees balance their work and personal lives through a variety of alternative work arrangements.

Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto. Media production and broadcasting; 1,525 employees. Offers employees a unique chance to unwind through a free summer concert series at Sugar Beach.

Deloitte LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 8,960 employees. Provides a generous subsidy to help cover the costs of adoption, up to $20,000 a child.

Department of Finance Canada, Ottawa. Federal government; 748 employees. Provides opportunities to young people to gain on-the-job experience through paid internships, co-op programs and summer student positions.

Desjardins Group/Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, Lévis. Que. Credit unions; 38,873 employees. Offers a daily shuttle service that runs between the Lévis head office and its Montreal location.

Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 162 employees. Hosts regular massage therapy sessions in office plus lunch-and-learn sessions on everything from financial planning to mental health awareness.

Digital Extremes Ltd., London, Ont. Software publishers; 208 employees. Provides a holiday shutdown period as well as four weeks of paid vacation after four years on-the-job.

EllisDon Corp., Mississauga. Building construction; 1,505 employees. Features a full-service cafeteria, employee lounge and auditorium as well as a fully-equipped fitness facility at its new head office.

Enbridge Inc., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 6,014 employees. Established the energy4everyone Foundation to address energy poverty in developing countries.

Enerflex Ltd., Calgary. Industrial machinery and equipment merchant wholesalers; 1,422 employees. Offers generous new employee referral bonuses, up to $3,000.

Ericsson Canada Inc., Mont-Royal, Que. Telecommunications equipment manufacturing; 3,225 employees. Encourages ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies, up to $8,000 annually.

Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 7072 employees. Encourages employees to keep fit through subsidized access to an onsite fitness facility.

General Electric Canada/GE, Mississauga. Motor and generator manufacturing; 7,213 employees. Hosted a country-wide Day of Caring initiative last year to encourage employees to get involved in their local community.

Goldcorp Inc., Vancouver. Gold mining; 3151 employees. Manages a graduate development program which features rotational assignments across the company’s operations.

Graham Group, Calgary. Building construction; 995 employees. Lets everyone share in the company’s success through profit-sharing, year-end bonuses and a share purchase plan.

Great-West Life Assurance Co.,Winnipeg. Insurance; 10,224 employees. Offers a wellness account that can be used for mental, health and sporting activities or subsidized memberships to an onsite fitness facility at head office.

Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,467 employees. Offers pension and retirement planning sessions and recently launched a new online pension centre for a more convenient user experience.

HP Advanced Solutions Inc., Victoria. Computer systems design services; 451 employees. Provides maternity leave top-up payments for the full year.

Imax Corp., Mississauga. Motion picture theatres; 310 employees. Offers a subsidy for IVF when needed.

Intact Financial Corp., Toronto. Insurance; 10,840 employees. Manages a two-year graduate leadership development program for MBA graduates.

ISM Canada, Regina. Computer programming; 881 employees. Offers a variety of alternative work options including telecommuting, flexible hours, shortened work weeks and a formal earned-days off program.

Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc., Montreal. Property management; 1,126 employees. Provides four electric car charging stations for employees to use in front of the building and more than 100 e-stations at properties across Canada.

Johnson & Johnson Inc., Markham, Ont. Consumer product manufacturing; 545 employees. Identifies health and lifestyle risks of its work force through a confidential employee questionnaire, and analyzes the results to plan future programs.

KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 6,165 employees. Offers a “Personal Care” program that provides employees with up to 50 hours of paid time-off annually to help with a range of personal matters.

L’Oréal Canada Inc., Montreal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,200 employees. Recognizes exceptional performance with VIP trips to company-sponsored events, such as Luminato in Toronto or tickets to the company’s box seats at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Labatt Breweries of Canada, Toronto. Breweries; 3,000 employees. Celebrates employee innovation from all levels across the company through a unique “Ideas Process Awards” program.

Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets; 28,580 employees. Operates the unique “grad@Loblaw“ program, a 15-month training program with full pay and benefits for new or recent graduates.

Lundbeck Canada Inc., Montreal. Research and development; 223 employees. Manages a focused charitable program that is built around its employees’ skills and expertise with a primary focus on mental health.

Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 6,031 employees. Encourages employees to get involved in activities outside of work through support of an employee-led social committee.

Mars Canada, Bolton, Ont. Food manufacturing; 480 employees. Supports employees with four-legged loved ones through a pets at work (PAWS) policy that includes a dedicated doggie courtyard.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,426 employees. Encourages employees to maintain fit and healthy lifestyles with generous fitness subsidies.

Medavie Blue Cross, Moncton, Insurance; 1,921 employees. Offers a variety of alternative work arrangements to help new parents transition to their new role.

Medtronic of Canada Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Electromedical apparatus manufacturing; 700 employees. Introduced a flexible health plan that lets employees tailor their coverage to suit their evolving needs.

Monsanto Canada Inc., Winnipeg. Research and development in life sciences; 388 employees. Maintains the “Monsanto Fund” (since 1964) to help fund basic education programs in farming communities around the world.

Mosaic Co., Regina. Fertilizer manufacturing; 2,324 employees. Offers a variety of in-house training and development courses as well as generous tuition subsidies for programs.

Mountain Equipment Co-op, Vancouver. Retail stores; 737 employees. Donates 1 per cent of its annual pretax revenue to Canadian environmental causes.

National Energy Board, Calgary. Federal government; 413 employees. Features an onsite fitness centre, rooftop patio, barbecue and comfortable seating plus a personal wellness room at their new head office.

Nature’s Path Foods Inc., Richmond, B.C. Food manufacturing; 171 employees. Encourages employees to enjoy healthy snacks and offers a fully-stocked store with products at significantly reduced costs.

Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., Mississauga. Pharmaceutical preparation manufacturing; 285 employees. Offers a dedicated “Women in Novo Nordisk” program to further advance women’s career development.

Nuance Communications Canada Inc., Montreal. Software publishers; 741 employees. Provides a wellness account of $150 annually as well as an annual health spending account for additional coverages, up to $500.

Ontario Public Service/OPS, Toronto. Provincial government; 61,698 employees. Offers new parents priority placement for their children at the Queen’s Park Child Care Centre along with a variety of alternative working options.

OpenText Corp., Waterloo, Ont. Computer programming; 1,440 employees. Provides a fully equipped employee lounge, complete with foosball and video games, as well as an outdoor patio connecting directly to a walking path.

Ottawa, City of, Ottawa. Municipal government; 12,220 employees. Maintains an environmental working group that is responsible for co-ordinating environmental initiatives across the city.

PCL Construction, Edmonton. Building construction; 2,856 employees. Develops its people through the in-house PCL College of Construction and the impressive Centennial Learning Centre training facility that’s LEED Gold certified.

PepsiCo Canada, Mississauga. Soft drink and food manufacturing; 9,163 employees. Cultivates an ownership culture with a share purchase plan, available to all employees.

Provincial Health Services Authority/PHSA, Vancouver. Hospitals; 10,028 employees. Offers subsidized access to an onsite fitness facility, including instructor-led classes in yoga and belly dancing, and an onsite daycare centre.

R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd., Burnaby, BC. Engineering services; 110 employees. Enables employees to participate in the selection of charities supported by the firm.

Raymond James Ltd., Vancouver. Investment banking; 862 employees. Manages a dedicated network for female advisers to help them expand their knowledge, expertise and business in a supportive, collaborative environment.

Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Communications, cable publishing and subscription programming; 23,325 employees. Helps employees plan for life after work with a defined benefit pension plan.

Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto. Banking; 52,026 employees. Manages an in-house wellness program and provides financial rewards for participation in various wellness activities and challenges throughout the year.

Salesforce Canada Corp., Toronto. Computer systems design services; 1,027 employees. Recognizes exceptional employee performance through a number of rewards programs including the “Kokua” bonus program for non-sales roles.

Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., Mississauga. Communications equipment manufacturing; 543 employees. Offers a global mobility program providing employees with an opportunity to work in South Korea for up to one year.

Sanofi Canada, Laval, Que. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 460 employees. Moved into a new LEED certified head office, which was built with significant employee feedback.

SAP Canada Inc., Toronto. Computer programming; 2,625 employees. Offers high-potential employees a chance to participate in the “SAP Social Sabbatical” program, where they work with an international team of employees to solve business challenges for promising startups.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance/SGI, Regina. Insurance carriers; 1,850 employees. Maintains an in-house “Community Action Team” of employees who review, investigate, and suggest where a percentage of corporate donations should be directed each year.

Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary. Oil and gas extraction; 9,194 employees. Helps employees find retirement residences and elder care services for employees who are caring for older parents.

Siemens Canada Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Engineering services; 4,967 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions plus provides a variety of in-house and online training programs.

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Universities; 2,834 employees. Manages an onsite daycare facility which new parents may take advantage of when they return to work.

Solvera Solutions, Regina. Computer programming; 170 employees. Offers fitness testing as part of its health plan and is located steps away from walking trails along the shores of Wascana Lake.

Stryker Canada Inc., Hamilton. Medical equipment and supplies wholesalers; 229 employees. Increased its support for new moms and dads with generous parental leave top-up payments, up to 100 per cent of salary for 26 weeks.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,721 employees. Offers a unique “Life Stages Program” that offers support to employees through all stages of life.

Telus Corp., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 24,241 employees. Welcomed a Chief Wellness Officer to support employee efforts to make healthy choices.

Toronto-Dominion Bank, Toronto. Banking; 45,399 employees. Provides a “collaborative cafe” where employees can meet and work in a comfortable and informal setting.Toronto International Film Festival/TIFF, Toronto. Motion pictures; 223 employees. Moved into the Bell Lightbox, a custom-built facility that reflects its uniqueness and status in the industry.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,476 employees. Encourages employees to drive what they build with generous discounts for the lease or purchase of new vehicles.

Ubisoft Toronto, Toronto. Software publishers; 3,344 employees. Organizes “UbiGallery,” a bi-annual competition for art students in their final year at Toronto-based postsecondary schools.

Union Gas Ltd., Chatham, Ont. Natural gas distribution; 2,197 employees. Organized several aboriginal recruitment workshops, in partnership with various local community agencies.

University of New Brunswick/UNB, Fredericton. Universities; 1,786 employees. Offers a variety of onsite amenities including a cafeteria with healthy and special diet menus and a quiet room for meditation and reflection.

University of Toronto, Toronto. Universities; 9,167 employees. Maintains dedicated family-friendly spaces for breastfeeding or pumping and baby change stations on campus.

University of Western Ontario, London, Ont. Universities; 4,665 employees. Offers new parents the convenience of an onsite daycare and a preschool program for when they return to work.

Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Vancouver. Credit Unions; 2,076 employees. Became a “Living Wage Employer,” joining a program that recognizes the social and economic benefits of paying a real living wage for all its employees and service providers.

Verafin Inc., St. John’s. Computer programming; 189 employees. Introduced flexible “no limit” vacation policies, letting employees decide how much time they need in any given year.

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., Vancouver. Sawmills; 5,393 employees. Partners with the College of New Caledonia to provide apprenticeship programs for millwrights, electricians, heavy duty mechanics and saw filers.

World Vision Canada, Mississauga. Social advocacy; 455 employees. Launched a new training program for high-potential employees featuring academic, experiential and cross functional learning opportunities.

Yukon, Government of, Whitehorse. Territorial government; 3,954 employees. Offers a community allowance to those employees living and working in remote communities.

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