As the Canadian workplace continues to evolve, Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2024 are reimagining work.
For the winners of this year’s competition, a deeper focus on continuous learning and in-house career mobility is proving transformative. With AI on the horizon, these progressive organizations are building the educated work force they need for the future – upskilling the talent they already have and looking beyond current skills for the potential in new hires.
The idea that an organization would upskill its employees isn’t new. But in an era gone by, learning and mentoring opportunities were often only offered to a select few “stars” fast tracked for promotion. Consider how Fred Flintstone was always overlooked in his job as “bronto crane operator” at Slate Rock and Gravel Co. in the television series The Flintstones – also from a bygone era. That’s no longer the case. Today’s learning revolution includes everyone.
The game changer is technology – access to a digital universe of educational platforms that employers can offer to all employees, enabling them to learn new skills on their own terms, anywhere and any time they want. For example, Manulife not only provides employees with an online learning platform, but gives them the dedicated time to learn something new or add to their skill set every second Friday afternoon year round. That can lead to new opportunities.
Where you start in a Top 100 company isn’t necessarily where you stay – unless that’s your choice. As your interests shift, you may be able to follow a new passion and grow your career in a completely different direction. That could mean taking a left turn into communications after starting out in accounts. Or turning your personal commitment to the environment into a job as a sustainability consultant – all with the support of your employer.
Many encourage exploration and provide opportunities to train for different paths within their organizations. What matters is acquiring the right skills needed for the job, even if it has nothing to do with an employee’s current work. For instance, technology company ABB Canada is committed to growing a learning culture and promoting the idea that growth and development are a normal part of an employee’s journey. The company actively encourages internal mobility for employees by making the application and interview process for job postings confidential, so candidates can check out opportunities privately. And if they need additional training at outside institutions, there’s a pathway for that too.
Likewise, the Business Development Bank of Canada offers generous tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their specific roles with the company. The bank also encourages ongoing development throughout employees’ careers, from formal mentoring and apprenticeships to in-house leadership development programs.
Engineering and professional services firm Hatch developed a formal “Manifesto Driven Leadership” program, which articulates what it means to be a great leader. The course orients employees to Hatch’s culture and teaches them what it means to lead with emotional intelligence and compassion.
All this focus on learning bodes well for the future of the Canadian work force, including for Gen Z, who will make up 30 per cent of workers by 2030. Born between the late 1990s and early 2000s, Gen Z are now flooding the workplace with their college and university degrees in hand.
According to the Work-Learn Institute at the University of Waterloo, this new generation wants to work in organizations that support their growth, as well as best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion, and individuality. After spending so much of their recent education online, as well as socially on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, learning and upskilling on digital platforms are a comfortable fit.
Overwhelmingly, investing in a culture of continuous learning is a win-win. Employees feel valued and engaged while employers enjoy a competitive edge, as well as greater attraction and retention of talent. After years lost to an isolating pandemic, it’s what people want and need now.
Always be learning.
While the selection process to choose the winners of Canada’s Top 100 Employers continually evolves to include new questions that reflect changes in the workplace, the underlying methodology has not significantly changed since the project began in 2000. The competition is and remains a catalogue of best practices.
The methodology used to determine Canada’s Top 100 Employers is based on a comparison with employers in similar industries, region and size. Each employer’s application is judged by rigorous criteria in eight key areas: (1) Workplace; (2) Work Atmosphere & Social; (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits; (4) Vacation & Time Off; (5) Employee Communications; (6) Performance Management; (7) Training & Skills Development; and (8) Community Involvement.
There is a noteworthy change to the first criteria, which historically was entitled Physical Workplace. This evolved to Workplace as a result of the pandemic and includes home office environments, flexible work options and hybrid work, workplace safety initiatives, and standard questions on the work environment, noting that not all industries had or have the option of working from home.
Canada’s Top 100 Employers is an annual national competition. Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply regardless of size, whether private or public sector.
The following organizations have been chosen as Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2024 (employee count refers to full-time staff):
ABB Canada, Saint-Laurent, Que. Engineering and technology services; 3,078 employees. Offers generous referral bonuses as an incentive for employees to recruit candidates from their network, ranging from $500 to $3,000.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN, Winnipeg. Television broadcasting; 145 employees. Helps employees manage their responsibilities outside of work with five paid personal days and flexible work hours.
Adobe Systems Canada Inc., Ottawa. Software publishers; 396 employees. Supports all pathways to parenthood with generous adoption subsidies, to $25,000 per child, and coverage for fertility drugs, to a lifetime max of $20,000.
Agriculture Financial Services Corporation / AFSC, Lacombe, Alta. Insurance and lending for agriculture producers; 483 employees. Helps employees plan for life after work with retirement planning courses tailored to employees over and under 45 years of age.
ArcelorMittal Dofasco G.P., Hamilton. Iron and steel mills; 4,709 employees. Supports personal and professional development through generous tuition subsidies, to a $24,000 lifetime maximum.
AstraZeneca Canada Inc., Mississauga. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,208 employees. Encourages employees to rest and reset with a generous time-off policy of four weeks starting vacation allowance.
Bank of Canada, Ottawa. Central bank; 2,237 employees. Supports employees who are called upon to care for a loved one with compassionate leave top-up, to 93 per cent of salary for up to 28 weeks.
BASF Canada Inc., Mississauga. Chemical manufacturing; 1,106 employees. Offers home internet subsidies of $30 per month and a furniture subsidy of $500 for employees with hybrid work schedules.
Bayer Inc., Mississauga. Pharmaceuticals and agricultural products; 1,134 employees. Manages a four-week paid leave program for health care professionals wanting to contribute to a front-line response or deployment.
BC Public Service, Victoria. Provincial government; 34,366 employees. Offers a full year of paid leave for new mothers as well as parental top-up for fathers and adoptive parents, 75 per cent of salary for up to 35 weeks.
BDO Canada LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 5,508 employees. Manages the “Do What You Love” program to provide taxable reimbursements for personal initiatives such as travel, concerts or sporting events, and cooking classes, to name a few.
Bell Canada, Verdun, Que. Communications; 36,561 employees. Provides unlimited coverage for mental health services, inclusive of employees and their families.
Boston Consulting Group of Canada Limited, Toronto. Management consulting; 542 employees. Head office supports employee needs and features wellness rooms, flexible lounge spaces, “touchdown” spaces and cafes, a quiet library, and a fitness facility.
British Columbia Investment Management Corp. / BCI, Victoria. Portfolio management; 689 employees. Helps employees maintain a healthy balance between work and personal time with four weeks of starting vacation allowance.
Business Development Bank of Canada, Montréal. Secondary market financing; 2,868 employees. Helps employees plan securely for the future with a defined benefit pension plan and health benefits that extend to retirees, with 100 per cent premium coverage and no age limit.
CAE Inc., Saint-Laurent, Que. Aviation and defence systems; 4,801 employees. Enables employees to pursue personal interests or fulfill needs outside of work through an unpaid sabbatical leave of up to 26 weeks.
Canada Energy Regulator, Calgary. Federal government; 559 employees. Supports employees’ career ambitions with formal mentoring and leadership development programs.
Canadian National Railway Company, Montréal. Railroad transportation; 17,782 employees. Manages the Stronger Communities Fund, donating over $15-million to hundreds of community partners in the past year.
Canadian Pacific Kansas City / CPKC, Calgary. Railroad transportation; 10,067 employees. Encourages employees to adopt an ownership mentality through a share purchase plan, available to all employees.
Carleton University, Ottawa. Post secondary schools, universities; 2,738 employees. Helps employees take better care of themselves with 20 paid sick days and unlimited coverage for psychologist, massage and physiotherapy services.
Cascades Canada Inc., Kingsey Falls, Que. Paper products; 7,534 employees. Invests in the education of current and future generations with tuition subsidies for employees and academic scholarships for children of employees, to $1,000 per child per year.
CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 42,951 employees. Offers employees interest-free “purpose loans” for personal use, up to $5,000 and repayable in 48 months.
Citi Canada, Mississauga. Banking; 2,747 employees. Offers inclusive family-friendly benefits such as generous adoption subsidies of up to $30,000 and coverage for fertility treatments, to a lifetime max of $24,000.
Clio, Burnaby, B.C. Computer software; 811 employees. Maintains a “distributed by design” work force model, providing employees with the flexibility to choose between in-office, remote and hybrid work.
College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, The, Vancouver. Professional organizations; 185 employees. Prioritizes the long-term welfare of its employees with a defined benefit pension plan and health benefits that extend to retirees.
Covenant House Vancouver, Vancouver. Social services and temporary housing; 178 employees. Hosts an annual Renewal day off-site to engage employees in health and wellness and provides free subscriptions to meditation apps to help employees stay grounded.
Creative Options Regina, Inc., Regina. Mental health support services; 239 employees. Supports ongoing employee development with subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation.
Danone Canada, Boucherville, Que. Food manufacturing; 543 employees. Provides subsidized access to an on-site fitness facility that features classes hosted by kinesiologists, naturopaths, and yoga instructors.
Dash Hudson Inc., Halifax. Software; 186 employees. Offers a quarterly wellness benefit of $450 to enable employees to top up benefits or to make purchases that improve their day-to-day lives.
Dentons Canada LLP, Calgary. Law firms; 1,415 employees. Offers exceptional maternity and parental leave top-up for new parents, to 100 per cent of salary for up to 26 weeks.
Desjardins Group / Mouvement Desjardins, Lévis, Que. Financial institutions; 52,952 employees. Offers in-house financial advice for significant life decisions such as the purchase of a home or car and provides a number of helpful financial benefits including discounts on home and auto insurance and discounted credit card fees.
Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 279 employees. Takes a thoughtful approach when employees are called upon to care for a loved one, offering compassionate leave top-up for up to 17 weeks (at 80 per cent of salary).
Digital Extremes Ltd., London, Ont. Software publishers; 383 employees. Offers a number of perks for employees working on-site, including transit subsidies for commuters, a commercial kitchen and free meals daily, gaming consoles and an arcade machine.
Employment and Social Development Canada, Gatineau. Federal government; 41,639 employees. Offers pre-retirement transition leave for long-serving employees who wish to gradually reduce their workweek as they near retirement.
Enbridge Inc., Calgary. Energy infrastructure; 7,634 employees. Offers financial incentives for employees to participate in wellness activities, up to $350 per year.
Export Development Canada, Ottawa. International trade financing and support services; 2,128 employees. Maintains an extensive catalogue of online, live and on-demand courses for employees who wish to upgrade their skills.
EY, Toronto. Accounting; 8,392 employees. Maintains a dedicated network to foster community among working parents and provides a child care subsidy, covering 100 hours of in-home or centre-based backup care.
Fidelity Canada, Toronto. Portfolio management; 1,710 employees. Maintains a dedicated learning portal with access to over 14,000 career-enhancing resources including videos, online courses, articles, books, and magazines.
Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 7,244 employees. Provides generous discounts on vehicle purchases through the Ford Auto purchase program, enabling employees and eligible family members to purchase up to four new vehicles per year.
Fowler Bauld & Mitchell Ltd. / FBM, Halifax. Architectural services; 47 employees. Offers compassionate leave top-up for those called upon to care for a loved one, to 100 per cent of salary for up to eight weeks.
FreshBooks, Toronto. Software publishers; 488 employees. Provides three weeks of starting vacation allowance as well as additional paid time off during the winter holidays.
GHD Canada Holdings Inc., Waterloo, Ont. Engineering services; 1,780 employees. Supports employees in planning their families through fertility treatment coverage, adoption assistance as well as maternity and parental leave top-up payments.
Graham Construction, Calgary. Industrial, commercial and institutional building construction; 2,044 employees. Offers an online health and wellness hub with a variety of helpful resources from nutrition and sleep management to mental health support.
HarperCollins Canada Ltd. and Harlequin Enterprises ULC, Toronto. Book publishers; 284 employees. Helps employees plan ahead through a defined contribution pension plan along with the option for employees to make additional matching contributions.
Hatch Ltd., Mississauga. Engineering services; 3,941 employees. A long-standing social committee hosts a variety of events throughout the year and sponsors a number of sports teams and activities.
Hospital for Sick Children, The, Toronto. Hospitals; 6,401 employees. Encourages healthy lifestyles through its 2,400 square-foot Wellness Centre that offers everything from instructor-led fitness classes to healthy cooking workshops.
IGM Financial Inc., Winnipeg. Financial services; 4,018 employees. Supports professional development throughout an employee’s career, from in-house rotational programs for new grads to leadership development programs.
Imperial Oil Limited, Calgary. Oil and gas production and distribution; 5,300 employees. Encourages employees to volunteer though the formal “ImpACT” initiative, offering employees $25 for every volunteer hour to $500 annually.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Ottawa. Federal government; 6,899 employees. Supports employees with young families through generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments up to 93 per cent of salary.
Inter Pipeline Ltd., Calgary. Petroleum transportation, storage and natural gas liquids processing; 1,120 employees. Offers a generous benefit for mental health practitioners as part of the health plan, up to $10,000 annually.
Irving Oil, Saint John. Petroleum refining, distribution and retail; 2,874 employees. Manages an academic scholarship program for children of employees pursuing postsecondary studies to $2,000 annually.
Kellanova Canada Inc., Mississauga. Breakfast cereal manufacturing; 369 employees. Introduced the formal “Locate for Your Day” hybrid work program and welcomed employees back to on-site work with over a month of fun activities.
Keurig Dr Pepper Canada, Montréal. Coffee distribution and brewing equipment; 1,395 employees. Offers maternity leave top-up payments for all new mothers and lets new parents extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
Keyera Corp., Calgary. Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction; 1,094 employees. Encourages employees to get involved in building their communities with two paid volunteer days off each year.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 11,114 employees. As an incentive during special recruitment campaigns, the firm offers generous new employee referral bonuses from $4,000 to $16,000, depending on the position.
Labatt Breweries of Canada, Toronto. Breweries; 3,547 employees. Encourages employees to keep fit with free memberships to an on-site fitness facility that offers a variety of instructor-led classes.
League Inc., Toronto. Computer software developers; 302 employees. After five years of employment, employees receive a unique “health pause” benefit that includes up to six weeks off along with a $10,000 payment to invest in themselves.
Loblaw Companies Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 32,441 employees. Encourages employees to support initiatives in their communities with a volunteer grant program, which donates up to $500 to organizations where employees volunteer over 40 hours per year.
Loopio Inc., Toronto. Software developers; 274 employees. Offers a blanket paid time-off program that provides all employees with six weeks annually and can be used as each employee determines.
L’Oréal Canada Inc., Montréal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,509 employees. Formal “WORKsmart” flexible work program includes the option to schedule two off-site days each week.
Manulife, Toronto. Direct life insurance carriers; 12,237 employees. Offers employees a defined contribution pension plan, along with the option to stay enrolled in the health benefits plan through their retirement (with no age limit).
Mars Canada, Bolton, Ont. Food manufacturing; 1,538 employees. Unique rural head office location features an outdoor courtyard, indoor and outdoor doggie play areas, a community garden, outdoor volleyball, hockey and basketball courts.
Mawer Investment Management Ltd., Calgary. Financial planning and investment management; 226 employees. Encourages employee volunteerism with paid volunteer time, donating $100 for every one volunteer hour given.
McElhanney Ltd., Vancouver. Engineering, surveying and mapping services; 1,228 employees. Encourages employees to save for the future with matching RSP contributions and lets everyone share in the company’s successes through profit-sharing and year-end bonus programs.
McMillan LLP, Toronto. Law firms; 696 employees. Offers employees generous coverage for mental health practitioners as part of their health benefits plan, up to $7,000 annually.
Medavie Inc., Moncton. Medical insurance and health services; 7,301 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the company with generous new employee referral bonuses, from $500 to $2,000 depending on the position.
Medtronic Canada ULC, Brampton, Ont. Electromedical apparatus manufacturing; 658 employees. Encourages employees and their family members to keep fit with free access to a fully equipped on-site fitness facility.
Mistplay Inc., Montréal. Video game developers; 141 employees. Supports hybrid work and entices employees to remain part of the on-site work culture with Tuesday lunches, a fully stocked kitchen and coffee area with state-of-the-art coffee machines.
Mondelez Canada Inc., Toronto. Food manufacturing; 2,437 employees. Encourages ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies for courses at outside academic institutions, up to $8,000 annually.
Nutrien Inc., Saskatoon. Phosphate, nitrogen and potash fertilizer manufacturing; 6,001 employees. Encourages employees to volunteer in their communities with up to three paid volunteer days annually.
OpenText Corporation, Waterloo, Ont. Software publishers; 2,790 employees. Head office features an employee lounge complete with video games, board games and foosball, as well as a cafeteria with healthy menu items and an outdoor patio.
PCL Construction, Edmonton. Industrial, commercial and institutional building construction; 2,953 employees. Head office employees are encouraged to keep fit with free memberships to a fully equipped on-site fitness centre that’s open to family member and retirees.
Pomerleau Inc., Montréal. Construction services; 3,322 employees. Starts the majority of new employees with four weeks of paid vacation and all employees can carry forward up to one week of unused vacation annually.
Procter & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,796 employees. Manages the formal Workways flexible work program to help design hybrid work options that balance employees’ needs as well as the needs of their teams and the overall business.
Provincial Credit Union Ltd., Charlottetown. Credit unions; 178 employees. Offers 30 paid personal hours each year for employees to attend to personal matters that cannot be taken care of outside an employee’s regular work hours.
Questrade Financial Group, Toronto. Financial investment services; 1,561 employees. Offers flexible and hybrid work options as well as a unique program that lets employees work abroad for up to 90 days per year.
Rio Tinto, Montréal. Mining; 12,183 employees. Considers previous work experience when setting vacation entitlements for new hires.
Ross Video Ltd., Ottawa. Audio and video communications technology; 964 employees. Encourages employees to share in the successes of the firm through a formal share purchase plan.
Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto. Banking; 66,044 employees. Developed the RBC Blueprint for Well-being and Mental Health to promote employee mental health and well-being and offers a generous mental health benefit as part of their health plan.
Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., Mississauga. Communications equipment manufacturing; 727 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm with new employee referral bonuses, from $500 to $2,000 depending on the position.
SAP Canada Inc., Vancouver. Custom computer programming services; 3,110 employees. Supports families-to-be with coverage for IVF fertility treatments and prescription drugs as well as a generous adoption subsidy benefit to $20,000.
Saputo Inc., Saint-Léonard, Que. Cheese and dairy food product manufacturing; 5,460 employees. Helps employees save for the future through a defined contribution pension plan along with offering a share purchase plan.
SaskEnergy Incorporated, Regina. Natural gas distribution; 1,128 employees. Supports families with maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new mothers to 95 per cent for 35 weeks.
Schneider Electric Canada Inc., Mississauga. Industrial automation and controls; 1,980 employees. Starts new employees with 3.8 weeks of paid vacation, moving to 4.4 weeks after just five years on the job.
Shell Canada Limited, Calgary. Oil and gas production and distribution; 3,577 employees. Offers subsidized access to a fully equipped fitness facility at the head office and supports a formal Wellness Team that organizes a number of physical activities and mental health sessions.
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Post secondary schools, university; 3,570 employees. Extensive fitness facilities offer personal fitness consultations, women-only hours and instructor-led fitness classes, ranging from yoga to martial arts to dance.
Sobeys Inc., Mississauga. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 27,883 employees. Supports ongoing development throughout each employee’s career, from paid internships and apprenticeships to generous tuition subsidies for courses at outside academic institutions.
Stryker Canada ULC, Waterdown, Ont. Medical equipment and supplies wholesalers; 715 employees. Starts new employees with three weeks of paid vacation and considers previous work experience when setting starting vacation for more senior personnel.
TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 64,507 employees. Matches employee charitable donations and provides financial support to charities where employees volunteer, to $500 for every 40 volunteer hours.
Teck Resources Limited, Vancouver. Mining; 9,453 employees. Generously matches charitable donations made by employees, to a maximum of $3,000 annually.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. / TMMC, Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 9,214 employees. Helps employees raise a family with maternity and parental leave top-ups along with an academic scholarship program for older kids, to $5,000 per child.
United Way British Columbia, Burnaby, B.C. Charitable organizations; 183 employees. Starts new employees with 4.4 weeks of paid vacation as well as additional time off between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, up to five days.
Université de Montréal, Montréal. Post secondary schools, university; 5,809 employees. Offers a summer Fridays off program that lets employees work a little extra each day and earn a long weekend every weekend throughout the summer months.
University of New Brunswick / UNB, Fredericton. Post secondary schools, university; 1,841 employees. Offers subsidized memberships to extensive on-site fitness facilities including skating, swimming, indoor climbing wall, instructor-led fitness classes and much more.
Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Vancouver. Credit unions; 2,559 employees. Encourages ongoing development with online training programs and tuition subsidies, to $2,400 annually, for courses at outside academic institutions.
Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver. Hospitals; 14,289 employees. Supports long-term planning with retirement planning assistance services along with the stability of a defined benefit pension plan.
Verafin Inc., St. John’s. Specialized financial software; 897 employees. Provides a $2,000 annual payment that can be used for academic courses or a range of wellness activities in support of overall professional and personal development.
West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., Vancouver. Sawmills; 5,965 employees. Offers a formal new and young work training program along with summer opportunities, paid internships and apprenticeships for engineering, forestry and accounting students.
World Vision Canada, Mississauga. Charitable organizations; 399 employees. Offers maternity and parental leave top-up payments to 80 per cent of salary and the option to extend leaves into unpaid leaves of absence.
Yukon, Government of, Whitehorse. Territorial government; 5,500 employees. Provides a community allowance subsidy for employees working and living in remote communities as well as travel subsidies after two years of employment.
Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.