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Employee rental programs at Yamaha Motor Canada allow employees and their families to enjoy its products on vacations and weekends.Provided

Jeff Barter has been playing with products from Yamaha Motor Canada Ltd. for as long as he can remember. The Victoria, B.C., native grew up around Yamaha marine products, ATVs and dirt bikes. When he landed a job in his early twenties at a family-run Yamaha dealership in Kamloops, B.C., he felt that he had found his dream job.

Today, Barter is district sales manager at Yamaha Motor Canada, covering a territory that includes all of British Columbia and the Yukon. “My connection to the Yamaha brand and the products has spanned motorcycles, ATVs, side-by-sides and marine products,” he says. “I’ve always loved them.”

In Japanese, there is a word that describes the simultaneous feeling of deep satisfaction and intense excitement that Barter feels when he connects with Yamaha’s products: “Kando.”

“Kando is part of our philosophy here at Yamaha Motor Canada,” says Ashley Wells, the company’s Toronto-based director of human resources, training and compliance. “We have days dedicated to it – days during the work week where you can try our ATVs and dirt bikes or take out a watercraft. If a new employee walks through our doors and is not familiar with our products, we quickly offer them opportunities to experience that joy.”

The Kando philosophy permeates everything that Yamaha Motor Canada does. The company, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, offers employee rental programs to allow staff and their families the opportunity to bond over Yamaha products during vacations and weekends. And for Toronto-area employees, a program in partnership with Skipperi gives those with a pleasure craft licence a chance to take out boats on Lake Ontario.

Wells says that Yamaha Motor Canada has plenty to offer employees, including an attractive health and dental benefits package and a hybrid work policy that allows flexible work hours and office locations. The company also prioritizes helping employees maintain a good work-life balance.

“We have a real ‘work smart, play hard’ mentality here,” she says. “After all, we are marrying fun with business. We are selling products that encourage families to get together out on the water or in the woods – to balance their work with fun. It’s important to help our employees find that same sense of balance.”

Yamaha Motor Canada has also invested heavily in Yamaha Motor Business Academy (YMBA), a multiyear education program targeted to all levels of the organization. YMBA provides employees with tailor-made study programs that focus on their career goals.

In addition to the products, there’s another, less obvious reason why Jeff Barter loves coming to work every day. “It’s the people,” he says. “Even though I work for a national company on an international stage, it feels a lot of the time that I’m working for a small, tight-knit business. It’s very personable and relationship-driven and I absolutely love it.”

That feeling was brought home to Barter a few weeks ago as Yamaha Motor Canada celebrated its half century. The Toronto venue was filled with people who had played a part in the company’s success over those five decades, including one employee who has been with Yamaha since the beginning.

“It was electric inside that room,” Barter says. “If I could describe the energy that was in the air when that meeting started it would encapsulate exactly what it feels to be a part of this company. Working for Yamaha Motor Canada is a lifestyle.”

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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.

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