It’s often said people are the biggest asset of any business. To many it’s just a slogan, but Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2019 live by those words.
These companies and organizations build exceptional workplaces with an array of progressive and innovative programs that make life better for their people. All the winners are leaders in their industry and able to attract and retain top talent, but that kind of success doesn’t just happen without committed effort. One key differentiator is that these employers invest in their employees’ personal growth by offering continuous learning and career development opportunities. That not only says individuals are valued, but translates directly into helping employees become more engaged and productive.
Typically, all of this year’s Top 100 offer a variety of possibilities, from leadership training and formal mentoring to experiential initiatives, such as Ceridian’s career exploration program which allows employees to participate in job rotation, job shadow a colleague or swap roles with another employee for a month.
A great many employers provide tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions, sometimes without a maximum amount or even when those courses aren’t directly related to the job. Most also take advantage of technology to broaden their reach to employees by offering inclusive in-house and online training to upgrade skills. For example, 3M Canada features interactive online training, live virtual instructor-led sessions, videos and panel discussions during a dedicated development month.
Canada’s Top 100 Employers are also breaking new ground when it comes to employee benefits. In keeping with the federal government’s recently extended maternity and parental leave policies to 18 months, both the City of Toronto and Vancouver City Savings Credit Union introduced combined maternity and parental leave top-ups for 78 weeks, as well as extending the parental leave portion for new dads and adoptive parents. This is just another example of how the best continue to set the bar higher.
While the selection process to choose the winners of Canada’s Top 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.
To select the winners, the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers at Toronto-based Mediacorp Canada Inc. compare each organization’s policies to others in their industry and region to see whether they’re a leader. Each employer’s application is judged by rigorous criteria in 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; 6) performance management; 7) training and skills development; and 8) community involvement.
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.
Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2019
3M Canada Co., London, Ont. Technology manufacturing; 1,902 employees. Encourages learning with a dedicated development month each year featuring interactive online training, live virtual instructor-led sessions, videos and panel discussions.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN, Winnipeg. Television broadcasting; 138 employees. Established a dedicated committee to focus on increasing long-term employee engagement.
Accenture Inc., Toronto. Management consulting; 4,864 employees. Launched the Skills to Succeed initiative in 2010, an international effort to help individuals develop the necessary skills for employment.
AccorHotels, Toronto. Hotels; 9,688 employees. Supports employee development with tuition subsidies for courses both related and not directly related to their current position.
ACL Services Ltd., Vancouver. Custom computer programming; 255 employees. Maintains a formal “bring your kids to work” policy to help parents manage child-care emergencies.
Adobe Systems Canada Inc., Ottawa. Software publishers; 305 employees. Incorporated employee feedback into an update of its physical work environment, which includes sit-stand workstations and collaborative spaces.
Agriculture Financial Services Corp. / AFSC, Lacombe, Alta. Financial services; 522 employees. Offers tailored retirement planning courses, phased-in retirement work options and generous contributions to a defined benefit pension.
Air Canada, Saint-Laurent, Que. Air transportation; 26,714 employees. Supports a number of charities and initiatives focused on the health and wellness of children through the Air Canada Foundation.
Alberta Health Services / AHS, Edmonton. Health care; 46,765 employees. Maintains a dedicated Health and Wellness Action Plan in support of healthy and resilient employees.
ArcelorMittal Dofasco G.P., Hamilton. Iron and steel mills; 10,430 employees. Offers a full suite of financial benefits including signing bonuses for some employees, profit-sharing and year-end bonuses for all.
Bank of Canada, Ottawa. Central bank; 1,717 employees. Hosted its third annual Employee Conference, which was attended by nearly 1,400 employees.
BASF Canada Inc., Mississauga. Chemical manufacturing; 799 employees. Manages a 24-month rotational professional development program for college students and recent graduates.
BC Public Service, Victoria. Provincial government; 28,452 employees. Recognizes outstanding employees through its longstanding Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Awards program.
Bell Canada, Verdun, Que. Communications; 38,613 employees. Expanded coverage for mental health services as part of its health benefits plan for employees.
Best Buy Canada Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Retail; 5,656 employees. Organizes social events throughout the year, including quarterly offsite celebrations and an annual achievers event in Hawaii to recognize top employees.
Canada Revenue Agency / CRA, Ottawa. Federal government; 41,665 employees. Offers a number of in-house training opportunities including an annual Learning Expo and unique video-based mentoring.
Canadian Heritage, Gatineau. Federal government; 1,938 employees. Helps students and new graduates gain career-level experience with summer jobs and internships at museums and related heritage and cultural organizations.
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd., Chalk River, Ont. Nuclear power technology and engineering; 3,307 employees. Maintains a unique Employee Morale Fund for senior personnel to reward employees with meals or gifts or to plan celebrations.
Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., Toronto. Retail; 65,000 employees. Offers referral bonuses for employees who recruit candidates from their personal networks.
Cargill Ltd., Winnipeg. Food and agricultural products; 7,768 employees. Offers employees subsidized access to an onsite fitness facility which includes massage services.
CBCL Ltd., Halifax. Engineering; 286 employees. Provides new mothers with the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
Ceridian HCM Inc., Toronto. Payroll; 1,633 employees. Offers a dedicated career exploration program to help employees learn about internal career options.
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Toronto. Child and youth services; 792 employees. Offers a health spending account as part of its health benefits plan, allowing employees to top up coverage according to their personal needs.
CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 36,203 employees. Is constructing a new global head office including a conference centre, an acre of green space, onsite fitness and market-style eateries.
Cisco Systems Canada Co., Toronto. Computer and equipment manufacturing; 1,741 employees. Expanded its family-friendly benefits, increasing maternity leave top-up payments and providing parental leave top-up for fathers and adoptive parents.
College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, The, Vancouver. Professional organizations; 127 employees. Offers flexible work arrangements to help employees balance work and their personal lives.
CWB National Leasing Inc., Winnipeg. Sales financing; 390 employees. Keeps employees informed and up-to-date on company news with “Pardon the Interruption” luncheons every two months.
Desjardins Group / Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, Lévis. Que. Credit union; 39,587 employees. Increased starting vacation allowance for all employees to four weeks.
Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 206 employees. Encourages fun with a summer family picnic on Toronto Island, a paid day off to ski and snowshoe and an annual in-house pie tasting competition.
Digital Extremes Ltd., London, Ont. Software publishers; 275 employees. Features a commercial kitchen and dining room at head office with five full-time kitchen staff who prepare healthy meals daily and special treats on Friday.
Emera Inc., Halifax. Electric power generation and distribution and gas distribution; 2,433 employees. Matches employee donations to charities through the Dollars for Doers initiative.
Export Development Canada, Ottawa. International trade financing and support; 1,560 employees. Hosts an annual employee conference with a keynote speaker and TED-style 15-minute presentations by employees.
Fidelity Canada, Toronto. Portfolio management; 995 employees. Manages a unique Voice of the Employee innovation program to encourage employee feedback.
Ford Motor Co. of Canada, Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 7,869 employees. Provides academic scholarships for employees with university and college-bound children.
Graham Group, Calgary. Construction; 1,118 employees. Encourages employees to keep their skills up-to-date through a variety of training initiatives, from apprenticeships and trades programs to leadership development.
Hatch Ltd., Mississauga. Engineering; 2,901 employees. Hosts a unique subsidized Hatch Kids Camp for employees’ children to help families manage their time during March break.
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,852 employees. Recognizes exceptional performance and achievements through a number of profession-specific awards, including the Daisy Award to recognize nurses.
House of Commons Administration, Ottawa. Legislative bodies; 1,845. Offers employees the advantage of onsite daycare when they are ready to return after parental leave.
Innovatia Inc., Saint John. Software developer; 290 employees. Encourages employees to recruit their friends through a new employee referral bonus program.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Ottawa. Federal government; 5,184 employees. Offers a short-term experience program to provide employees with opportunities to experience new and diverse work.
Intact Financial Corp., Toronto. Insurance; 11,750 employees. Matches employees’ charitable donations and provides paid time off to volunteer.
Irving Oil, Saint John. Petroleum refining, distribution and retail; 2,762 employees. Maintains a dedicated alumni association to encourage retirees to stay connected.
ISM Canada, Regina. Custom computer programming; 788 employees. Follows the “Think 40” concept developed by its parent company, IBM Canada, encouraging employees to complete 40 hours of professional development annually.
Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc., Montreal. Real estate investment and management; 1,039 employees. Offers company-arranged discounts on products and services ranging from car rentals to fitness memberships.
K+S Potash Canada GP, Saskatoon. Fertilizer manufacturing; 425 employees. Offers a unique PLUS+ time program, which provides employees with 40 hours annually to be used for family appointments, elder care or personal time.
Keurig Canada Inc., Montreal. Coffee distribution and brewing equipment; 1,401 employees. Offers flexible work hours, a telecommuting option and reduced summer hours, along with three weeks of starting vacation allowance.
Keyera Corp., Calgary. Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction; 991 employees. Encourages employees to engage in physical activity with employee-led sports teams and a wellness spending account.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 7,081 employees. Appointed its first chief mental health officer focused on supporting and embedding the firm’s mental health strategy and developing a national network of mental health champions.
L’Oréal Canada Inc., Montreal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,462 employees. Offers the benefit of onsite daycare after parental leave.
Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd., Toronto. Breweries; 3,461 employees. Keeps employees connected and up-to-date through monthly town-halls, quarterly pub gatherings and the annual National Commercial Conference.
Left, Maple Ridge, B.C. Software development; 36 employees. Offers a pet-friendly policy that lets employees bring their dogs to work (but just one a day).
Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 32,448 employees. Helps students and new graduates to gain relevant career-level experience with co-op placements and paid internships.
Mars Inc., Bolton, Ont. Food manufacturing; 1,454 employees. Maintains the Mars Ambassador Program to provide employees with opportunities to work on short-term assignments around the world at partner organizations.
Mattamy Homes Ltd., Toronto. Real estate; 1,336 employees. Manages a Finance Leadership Development program for recent graduates.
McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,400 employees. Organizes Employee Appreciation Week celebrations across all offices each year, which include a healthy breakfast served by partners in the firm.
Modern Niagara Group Inc., Kanata, Ont. Engineering; 2,149 employees. Offers a range of opportunities for skill development, from in-house apprenticeships and skilled trades programs to leadership symposiums.
Mountain Equipment Co-op, Vancouver. Retail; 1,043 employees. Offers a generous tuition subsidy program for courses related and not directly related to employees’ current positions.
Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Canada, Toronto. Medical relief organization; 265 employees. Offers opportunities for formal mentoring and subsidies for professional accreditation.
National Energy Board, Calgary. Federal government; 483 employees. Offers head-office employees access to an onsite fitness facility managed by the in-house “FIT Committee” and featuring instructor-led classes.
Nature’s Path Foods Inc., Richmond, B.C. Food manufacturing; 186 employees. Established a zero-waste target and maintains a employee-managed onsite organic garden.
NAV Canada, Ottawa. Air traffic control; 5,113 employees. Offers a health spending account as well as a separate wellness spending account as part of its health benefits plan.
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,620 employees. Reaches out to the next generation through summer employment and co-op opportunities.
OpenText Corp., Waterloo, Ont. Custom computer programming; 1,713 employees. Provides adjustable workstations as well as stationary bike and treadmill workstations at their head office to promote healthy working.
PCL Constructors Inc., Edmonton. Construction; 2,828 employees. Offers onsite fitness classes such as yoga and Zumba as well as a separate fitness credit.
Pembina Pipeline Corp., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 1,554 employees. Offers contributions to defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans as well as a matching RRSP program.
PepsiCo Canada, Mississauga. Soft drink and food manufacturing; 10,699 employees. Maintains an extensive national community strategy and organizes an annual volunteer campaign to encourage employees to donate their time to local charities.
Pfizer Canada Inc., Kirkland, Que. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,818 employees. Offers health benefits that extend to retirees, with 100 per cent premiums paid and no age limit.
Procter & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,657 employees. Offers initiatives to promote health and wellness including an annual health risk assessment and mental health awareness events.
R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Engineering; 192 employees. Offers a health spending account which can be used to top up existing levels of coverage.
Rio Tinto, Montreal. Diversified mining and metals manufacturing; 10,333 employees. Provides a variety of in-house and online training, including access to Rio Tinto College featuring more than 3,000 online training modules.
Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Telecommunications, cable, publishing and subscription programming; 21,631 employees. Features quiet zones, interactive spaces and access to the latest technology in its unique workspace design.
Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto. Banking; 52,575 employees. Offers a purchased vacation option that lets employees purchase up to 20 days of additional vacation time when needed.
Salesforce, Toronto. Customer relationship management (CRM) services; 1,335 employees. Has done away with a formal annual review and developed an in-house feedback app that encourages monthly two-way feedback between employees and managers.
Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., Mississauga. Communications equipment manufacturing; 572 employees. Embeds recognition into its corporate culture through the online “U r Awesome” platform, which allows employees to nominate, recognize and reward their peers.
SAP Canada Inc., Vancouver. Custom computer programming; 3,307 employees. Offers profit sharing and year-end bonus programs that are available to all employees.
SaskTel, Regina. Telecommunications; 3,000 employees. Features an onsite fitness facility managed by an in-house committee that’s open 24/7 and allows employees to bring in family members outside of the work hours.
Schneider Electric Canada Inc., Mississauga. Industrial automation and controls; 2,614 employees. Offers paid personal days which can be used at employees' discretion to help balance their day-to-day life.
Sekisui Diagnostics PEI Ltd., Charlottetown. Medical diagnostic products; 135 employees. Sought employee feedback in the redesign and renovation of its head office.
Shopify Inc., Ottawa. Software; 2,903 employees. Provides lunch for employees daily along with snacks such as fresh fruit, trail mix, yogurt, ramen, chips, chocolate and candy.
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Universities; 3,028 employees. Manages an onsite daycare which employees can take advantage of when they return from parental leave.
Stryker Canada Inc., Dundas, Ont. Medical equipment and supplies wholesalers; 368 employees. Supports parents-to-be with a subsidy for IVF if needed.
Suncor Energy Inc., Calgary. Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction; 11,590 employees. Offers volunteer awards for employees and retirees who are active in their local communities.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 7,450 employees. Offers phased-in work options to help employees make the transition to retirement.
TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 46,871 employees. Maintains partnerships with a number of Canada’s leading business schools.
Teck Resources Ltd., Vancouver. Mining; 7,914 employees. Supports a number of local, national and international community and charitable initiatives with funding through multi-year partnerships.
Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., Toronto. Publishers; 1,397 employees. Encourages employees to become owners through a share purchase plan, available to all employees.
Toronto, City of, Toronto. Municipal government; 22,009 employees. Introduced combined maternity and parental leave top-ups to 75 per cent of salary for 78 weeks, as well as extending the parental leave portion for new dads and adoptive parents to 75 per cent for 63 weeks.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc./ TMMC, Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,767 employees. Offers a variety of onsite amenities such as a fitness facility, employee lounge, quiet room, outdoor walking trails, sports facilities and a community garden.
Ubisoft Canadian Studios, Toronto. Software publishers; 4,482 employees. Offers current employees the opportunity to apply to go on temporary assignments to other Ubisoft studios worldwide for a designated period of time.
University of New Brunswick / UNB, Fredericton. Universities; 1,752 employees. Connects retirees through a dedicated Retired Employees Association which assists members with health benefits and provides a collective voice to the university.
University of Toronto, Toronto. Universities; 9,809 employees. Operates tri-campus shuttle bus services, carpooling and car-sharing programs, supports the “Bikechain” not-for-profit cycling organization and has a greening-the-fleet program.
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont. Universities; 5,355 employees. Launched a unique Volunteer Centre to help engage students and employees with causes that are of the greatest importance to them.
Université de Montréal, Montreal. Universities; 5,366 employees. Offers free access to on-campus conferences and a variety of in-house training programs as well as tuition waivers for employees.
Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Vancouver. Credit unions; 2,147 employees. Contributes to a defined benefit pension plan and a non-matching RRSP plan, with an option for employees to contribute.
Verafin Inc., St. John’s. Specialized financial software; 303 employees. Offers a unique no-limit vacation policy where time off is officially unlimited and determined on a case-by-case basis.
Vidéotron Ltée, Montreal. Communications, cable and subscription programming; 5,365 employees. Invests in ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions.
West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., Vancouver. Sawmills; 5,680 employees. Reaches out to the next generation through its “New and Young Worker” job-shadowing training program and ongoing partnership with the College of New Caledonia.
World Vision Canada, Mississauga. Charitable organizations; 488 employees. Offers employees the opportunity to travel and work at its field locations for up to two years.
Xerox Canada Ltd., Toronto. Computer equipment manufacturing; 2,511 employees. Manages the Xerox Employee Initiated Philanthropy program to provide financial assistance to non-profit organizations where employees regularly volunteer their time.
Yukon, Government of, Whitehorse. Territorial government; 4,361 employees. Provides a generous travel allowance subsidy annually to eligible employees.