The latest best practices from the winners of Canada's Top Employers for 2017 are worth a second look. While these industry leaders already excel in making their organizations a place where people love to come to work through a wide variety of innovative initiatives, many have gone further in transforming their physical space to further engage workers.
In many cases, employee feedback was key in planning the design of their newest spaces, such as at Samsung Canada. As a result, the company's LEED certified head office features plenty of flexible and open work space that invites employee collaboration, dedicated idea rooms and casual breakout areas, as well as a technology showroom featuring current and future technology.
Rogers also recently introduced a new workspace design strategy, which they call Sharespace, that offers greater flexibility with both quiet and interactive zones, including cafés where employees can meet over coffee or tea, while accessing the latest technology.
The new Telus corporate headquarters in Vancouver is another example, with features designed to better accommodate the changing nature of work for many employees, including telepresence rooms, reservable walkstation treadmill desks and onsite restaurants that offer their own online ordering system.
That all translates into a more engaged and collaborative work force with higher company morale, in addition to helping attract top talent while retaining their best.
Other companies should take note.
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 remains a catalogue of best practices.
To select the winners, the editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers 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 2017
3M Canada Co., London, Ont. Technology manufacturing; 1,740 employees. Encourages employees to get involved in their local communities with paid time off to volunteer.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN, Winnipeg. Television broadcasting; 138 employees. Supports ongoing career development through in-house and online training.
Accenture Inc., Toronto. Management consulting; 3,425 employees. Manages the LiveWell 365 initiative to support employee efforts to maintain or improve their health.
Agrium Inc., Calgary. Agriculture products and fertilizer manufacturing; 3,440 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options for employees approaching retirement.
Air Canada, Saint-Laurent, Que. Air transportation; 23,783 employees. Offers unique financial perks including air travel discounts that also apply to the employee's family members.
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Boyle, Alta. Pulp and paper mills; 408 employees. Provides maternity leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers, up to 100 per cent of salary for up to 18 weeks.
ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc., Hamilton. Iron and steel mills; 9,765 employees. Offers generous tuition subsidies of up to $24,000 for courses both related and unrelated to an employee's current position.
Bank of Canada, Ottawa. Central bank; 1,550 employees. Offers "flex dollars" equal to 3.5 per cent of employees' salaries as part of its health benefits plan.
BASF Canada Inc., Mississauga. Chemical manufacturing; 693 employees. Offers an in-house eTV employee television network for employees to connect with colleagues from across North America.
Bayer Inc., Mississauga. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,522 employees. Cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees.
BC Public Service, Victoria. Provincial government; 26,309 employees. Established Accessibility 2024, a 10-year action plan to make the province more accessible and inclusive for persons with disabilities.
BDC / Business Development Bank of Canada, Montreal. Secondary market financing; 2,076 employees. Offers signing bonuses for some, year-end bonuses for all and referral bonuses of up to $2,000.
Bell Canada, Montreal. Communications; 38,671 employees. Celebrates workplace success through a variety of recognition programs.
Cameco Corp., Saskatoon. Uranium mining; 3,040 employees. Offers 40 annual scholarships for children of employees who pursue postsecondary studies in Canada, the United States or Australia.
Canadian Heritage, Gatineau. Culture and heritage; 1,742 employees. Provides employees with access to a subsidized onsite daycare facility.
Canadian National Railway Co. / CN, Montreal. Railroad transportation; 15,074 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for courses related to an employee's current position as well as subsidies for professional accreditation.
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd., Chalk River, Ont. Nuclear power technology and engineering; 3,318 employees. Offers learning opportunities for students and new grads, including postdoctoral fellowships, apprenticeships, summer student and co-op opportunities.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Ottawa. National security; 3,299 employees. Introduced a four-day work week option, allowing employees to work four days each week for up to three months annually, with salary adjusted accordingly.
Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., Toronto. Retail; 85,000 employees. Offers contributions to a matching RSP plan and defined contribution pension plan to help employees save for the future.
Cargill Ltd., Winnipeg. Food and agricultural products; 8,166 employees. Provides employees with a health spending account of up to $1,000 a year that can be used for additional wellness-related expenses.
Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Toronto. Child and youth services; 503 employees. Offers four weeks of vacation to start and up to 10 paid personal days off, which can be used throughout the year.
CBCL Ltd., Halifax. Engineering; 260 employees. Provides paid time off for employees to volunteer in their communities.
Ceridian, Winnipeg. Payroll; 1,597 employees. Established the "Ceridian Cares" registered charity to assist individuals and families in communities where the company operates across Canada.
CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 36,215 employees. Manages a formal CIBC@Work program to help employees design work schedules that suit their individual needs.
Cisco Systems Canada Co., Toronto. Computer and equipment manufacturing; 1,741 employees. Created the "Connected North" initiative to provide video collaboration technology to schools and hospitals in remote aboriginal communities across Canada.
College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., Vancouver. Professional organizations; 126 employees. Offers health benefits that extend to retirees, with no age limit.
Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto. Media production and broadcasting; 1,513 employees. Recognizes employee contribution through a variety of awards including the Creative Spark Award for in-house talent.
Desjardins Group / Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, Lévis. Que. Credit union; 40,944 employees. Provides maternity leave top-up payments for new mothers, and parental leave top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents.
Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 190 employees. Offers all employees additional time off with a summer holiday shutdown and closure between Christmas and the new year's holiday.
Digital Extremes Ltd., London, Ont. Software publishers; 232 employees. Features a commercial kitchen and dining room at head office, with two full-time chefs who prepare free, healthy meals daily for employees.
EllisDon Corp., Mississauga. Construction; 1,721 employees. Continues to build and expand across Canada, adding more than 200 positions in the past year.
Enbridge Inc., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 5,848 employees. Manages an in-house university which includes training in business and financial acumen, project management, leadership development and energy-related studies.
Export Development Canada, Ottawa. International trade financing and support; 1,287 employees. Offers academic scholarships for children of employees as well as for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career or furthering their studies in international business.
Fidelity Canada, Toronto. Portfolio management; 792 employees. Offers alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, a shortened work week option and reduced summer hours.
Ford Motor Co. of Canada, Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,140 employees. Offers discounts to unionized hourly employees on their purchases of up to four new Ford vehicles each year.
General Electric Canada / GE, Mississauga. Diversified technology and equipment manufacturing; 7,213 employees. Offers subsidized memberships to an onsite fitness facility at head office that features instructor-led classes and personal training.
Goldcorp Inc., Vancouver. Gold mining; 3,291 employees. Provided more than $27-million in community contributions last year.
Graham Group, Calgary. Construction; 1,036 employees. Helps employees save for the longer term through a defined contribution pension plan.
Great-West Life Assurance Co., Winnipeg. Insurance; 10,938 employees. Offers in-house training programs, including apprenticeship opportunities, as well as subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation.
Hatch Ltd., Mississauga. Engineering; 2,930 employees. Encourages employees to become owners through a share purchase plan.
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,487 employees. Offers a wellness program, including weekly massage therapy for clinical staff, walking and running clubs, lunch and learn seminars and subsidized access to their staff wellness centre.
HP Advanced Solutions Inc., Victoria. Computer systems design services; 463 employees. Hosts an annual golf tournament in support of Victoria General Hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
IMAX Corp., Mississauga. Motion picture theatres; 336 employees. Features its own IMAX theatre at head office as well as two barrier-free washrooms, shower facilities and an area for yoga and pilates classes.
Intact Financial Corp., Toronto. Insurance; 11,314 employees. Offers new parents the convenience of an onsite daycare centre through a third party daycare provider.
Irving Oil, Saint John. Petroleum refining, distribution and retail; 2,474 employees. Provides up to five paid days off for employees to volunteer in their community.
ISM Canada, Regina. Computer programming; 796 employees. Encourages employees to keep up-to-date through a no-limit tuition subsidies program.
Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc., Montreal. Property management; 1,188 employees. Hosts an annual bike tune-up clinic for its cycling commuters.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 6,385 employees. Offers summer internships for students as well as a unique Avenues program for recent graduates in the early stages of their career.
L'Oréal Canada Inc., Montreal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,200 employees. Published its first Worldwide Diversity Report on the company's progress between 2010 and 2015 in gender equality and inclusion of persons with disabilities and of people of diverse social and ethnic origins.
Labatt Breweries of Canada, Toronto. Breweries; 3,143 employees. Offers interested employees the Labatt Beer Mastercard that comes preloaded with two cases each month.
Loblaw Cos Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 28,481 employees. Features an onsite herb garden and test kitchen at head office where new food products are created.
Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 6,001 employees. Offers a variety of training programs in a 38,000 square-foot training centre featuring classrooms, mechanical shops plus indoor and outdoor training areas.
Mars Inc., Bolton, Ont. Food manufacturing; 1,068 employees. Hosts fundraisers in support of dog shelters and pet adoption services across the country.
McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,435 employees. Designates May as its annual Mentoring Month, which includes speed-mentoring for students, mentor meetings for new associates and awards.
Medavie Blue Cross, Moncton. Insurance; 1,896 employees. Commits more than 10 per cent of its annual net income to charitable and community giving through its Medavie Health Foundation.
Mosaic Co., The, Regina. Fertilizer manufacturing; 2,263 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance services for all employees.
National Energy Board, Calgary. Federal government; 460 employees. Offers employees the opportunity to apply for an educational leave of absence for up to one year in duration.
National Leasing Group Inc., Winnipeg. Sales financing; 350 employees. Provides employees with paid time off to volunteer in their community and matches employee donations.
Nature's Path Foods Inc., Richmond, B.C. Food manufacturing; 185 employees. Established a zero waste target and has an employee-maintained onsite organic garden.
NAV Canada, Ottawa. Air traffic control; 4,807 employees. Provides employees with a health spending account of up to $750 a year to cover a variety of additional wellness-related expenses.
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Calgary. Law firm; 1,417 employees. Offers employees an option to extend their maternity leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
Nuance Communications Canada Inc., Montreal. Software publishers; 740 employees. Brings in a professional yoga instructor for regular onsite yoga classes.
Ontario Public Service / OPS, Toronto. Provincial government; 62,080 employees. Manages a sponsored volunteer employee program for high-potential employees to be seconded for up to 15 weeks to work for United Way (with regular pay).
OpenText Corp., Waterloo, Ont. Computer programming; 1,442 employees. Offers in-house training programs and generous tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions.
PCL Construction, Edmonton. Construction; 2,865 employees. Offers a variety of socials throughout the year, from golf tournaments to ski trips to the long-standing in-house hockey tournament, the Schmauch Cup.
PepsiCo Canada, Mississauga. Soft drink and food manufacturing; 9,358 employees. Hosts an annual "Employee Volunteer Campaign" that encourages employees to donate time to a local charity.
Proctor & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,754 employees. Features digital workspaces at head office that offer open concept collaborative workspaces in place of assigned desks.
Provincial Health Services Authority / PHSA, Vancouver. Hospitals; 10,346 employees. Partners with TravelSmart to help reduce the number of single occupancy vehicle commutes to work.
R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd., Burnaby, BC. Engineering; 115 employees. Offers a dedicated Engineer-in-Training program to support the career advancement of its younger employees.
Raymond James Ltd., Vancouver. Investment banking; 840 employees. Offers an option to extend parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
RBC, Toronto. Banking; 52,488 employees. Offers a range of discounted banking services, from fees to mortgage rates.
Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Telecommunications, cable publishing and subscription programming; 23,177 employees. Introduced a new workspace design strategy offering greater flexibility with quiet zones, interactive zones (including cafés) and access to the latest technology.
Salesforce Canada Corp., Toronto. Computer programming; 1,184 employees. Provides access to emergency back-up child and eldercare services, up to seven days each year.
Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., Mississauga. Communications equipment manufacturing; 517 employees. Established the "Women@SECA" in 2013 to help women employees connect from across the company.
Sandoz Canada Inc., Boucherville, Que. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 883 employees. Offers a variety of alternative work arrangements, including flexible hours, shortened and compressed work weeks and telecommuting.
SAP Canada Inc., Toronto. Computer programming; 2,863 employees. Created the "Volunteer Ambassador" program to help manage employee volunteer and charitable efforts in the community.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance/ SGI, Regina. Insurance; 1,882 employees. Invests in employee development, spending more than $1,340 per employee on training last year.
Saskatchewan Research Council / SRC, Saskatoon. Research and development; 344 employees. Offers a variety of onsite amenities including a cafeteria with healthy and special diet menus, an employee lounge and shared access to an onsite fitness facility.
Shaw Communications Inc., Calgary. Communications, cable and subscription programming; 10,921 employees. Maintains a Community Action Network comprised of 10 employees from across the country to increase engagement with local communities.
Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary. Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction; 8,307 employees. Offers a dedicated women's career development program.
Siemens Canada Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Engineering; 4,904 employees. Maintains a formal program to encourage telecommuting as way to eliminate unnecessary driving.
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Universities; 2,903 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for employees and their immediate family members.
Stryker Canada Inc., Hamilton. Medical equipment and supplies wholesalers; 246 employees. Offers a variety of in-house training options as well as job-shadowing and leadership development programs.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,950 employees. Operates an onsite daycare facility.
TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 43,273 employees. Manages a unique online site that helps employees match their skills and interests with local charitable initiatives.
Telus Corp., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 23,328 employees. Received LEED Platinum certification for its new corporate headquarters for its many energy saving features.
Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., Toronto. Publishers; 1,196 employees. Supports employees through ongoing mental health awareness campaigns, articles and resources on mental health and participation in the "Not Myself Today" campaign.
Toronto International Film Festival / TIFF, Toronto. Motion picture promotion; 228 employees. Hosts unique film-related initiatives such as the TIFF Kids International Film Festival for families and school groups.
Toronto, City of, Toronto. Municipal government; 22,983 employees. Created the Partnership to Advance Youth Employment program, a joint initiative between the city and private-sector employers to connect youth from diverse neighbourhoods to jobs.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,575 employees. Offers numerous onsite amenities including free membership to a fitness facility, an employee lounge, a quiet room, outdoor walking trails, tennis courts and a community garden.
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Ottawa. Finance, spending and regulation; 1,922 employees. Participates in the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada's Aboriginal Leadership Development Initiative.
Ubisoft Toronto, Toronto. Software publishers; 3,494 employees. Subsidizes a social committee which organizes events and celebrations throughout the year, including a ski trip to Blue Mountain near Collingwood, Ont.
Union Gas Ltd., Chatham, Ont. Natural gas distribution; 2,245 employees. Offers a generous subsidy for in vitro fertilization when needed, to $15,000.
University of New Brunswick / UNB, Fredericton. Universities; 1,762 employees. Offers employees full tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current position.
University of Toronto, Toronto. Universities; 9,286 employees. Supports retiring academic personnel through an Academic Retiree Centre that helps retirees continue their research and professional activities.
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont. Universities; 4,990 employees. Offers three weeks of starting vacation allowance, moving to four weeks after four years on the job.
Verafin Inc., St. John's. Computer programming; 205 employees. Offers employees a unique open concept work environment featuring small fitness stations, employee-led yoga and aerobics classes and a Friday afternoon beer cart.
West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., Vancouver. Sawmills; 5,449 employees. Manages a New and Young Worker Program to provide extensive training to employees under 25.
World Vision Canada, Mississauga. Charitable organizations; 479 employees. Offers employees opportunities to travel and work at its field locations for up to two years.
Yukon, Government of, Whitehorse. Territorial government; 4,085 employees. Offers eligible employees an annual subsidy of $2,200 as travel allowance.