Each of the 100 winners of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2015) has a story to tell. It's about how these industry leaders have made their companies exceptional places to work with some of the best HR practices and most innovative initiatives, all valued by their employees. In fact, many initiatives come from the employees themselves, empowering them in the workplace. That translates into a more engaged work force and higher company morale, in addition to being a great tool for attracting and retaining this country's top talent.
Canada's Top 100 Employers is a national competition now entering its 16th year. Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply regardless of size, or whether private or public sector. While there are many reasons why these companies were judged to be the best in their field by Mediacorp Canada's selection team, we've published just one from each organization to illustrate the variety of benefits and ways that companies can make working conditions better.
Transparency about the reasons for selection means the competition shines a light on progressive employers while allowing other organizations to discover, and hopefully emulate, what they are doing.
As Mediacorp's editorial team has observed, there is often a ripple effect where employers appear to learn from one another, creating new norms over time and, in some cases, raising expectations, such as for parental leave top-ups and three-week vacation starts. There are always new ways to improve, whether through small or large changes, on how something can be done.
While the selection process to choose the winners of Canada's Top 100 Employers has evolved to include new questions in response to changes in the workplace – such as working from home and commuter workstations – the underlying methodology has not significantly changed since the project began in 2000. The competition remains a catalogue of best practices, which Richard Yerema, managing editor for Canada's Top 100 Employers, considers to be a great strength.
"A review of a particular employer in 2005 can easily be compared to a review in 2015," Mr. Yerema says. "It's because of this that we can see the evolution of the workplace in action and truly is one of the most engaging aspects of the project."
In choosing the finalists, Mediacorp's editors consider how each employer compared with others in its industry and region. The extensive evaluation process includes a detailed review of the employer's operations and human resource practices. Competition focuses on eight key areas: 1) physical workplace; 2) work and social atmosphere; 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; and 8) community involvement.
This year's list includes large and small employers from a range of industries, offering varying benefits and working conditions. A distinguished academic advisory board drawn from universities across Canada oversees the selection criteria. Each panel member has either written or edited a major human resources textbook in Canada.
Canada's Top 100 Employers 2015 Edition
3M Canada Company, London, Ont. Technology manufacturing; 1,831 employees. Manages an academic scholarship program for children of employees who are pursuing postsecondary education in Canada.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN, Winnipeg. Television broadcasting; 140 employees. Supports ongoing employee development through subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation, career planning, formal mentoring and in-house training programs.
Accenture Inc., Toronto. Management consulting; 3,623 employees. Manages an enlightened "Inventor Award Program" that offers financial awards to those who create patentable assets.
Agriculture Financial Services Corp. / AFSC, Lacombe, Alta. Credit intermediation; 503 employees. Actively seeks experienced adjusters for their knowledge, with the average age for adjusters being 53 years.
Agrium Inc., Calgary. Nitrogenous fertilizer manufacturing; 3,774 employees. Lets everyone share in the company's success with profit sharing available to all employees.
Air Canada, Montreal. Air transportation; 22,794 employees. Employees can be nominated by their peers for an annual Art of Excellence Award; winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a ceremony in a resort location.
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Edmonton. Pulp mills; 446 employees. Offers new employees up to four weeks of paid vacation, with the option to take the fourth week as time off or additional income.
ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc., Hamilton. Iron and steel mills; 10,100 employees. Directs community support through a Corporate Community Investment Fund as well as an Employee Donations Fund, investing nearly $35-million over the past decade.
Bank of Canada, Ottawa. Banking; 1,454 employees. Encourages employees to keep fit with free memberships to an onsite fitness facility.
BASF Canada Inc., Mississauga. Chemical manufacturing; 670 employees. Established a diversity and inclusion council and is currently introducing a company-wide diversity strategy and a diversity awareness program.
Bayer Canada, Toronto. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,348 employees. Head office features an outdoor multi-purpose court that can be configured for basketball, tennis and volleyball, a golf putting green and driving range.
BC Public Service, Victoria. Provincial government; 24,901 employees. New parents have the option to extend parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
BDC / Business Development Bank of Canada, Montreal. Financing; 1,920 employees. Supports employees' long-range goals with generous contributions to a defined-benefit pension plan.
Cameco Corp., Saskatoon. Uranium mining; 2,985 employees. Encourages employees' work-life balance with alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting and shortened and compressed work week options.
CAMH / Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto. Hospitals; 2,276 employees. Provides exceptional maternity and parental leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers with up to to 87 per cent of salary for 52 weeks.
Campbell Company of Canada, Toronto. Food preparation and packaging; 719 employees. Offers generous tuition subsidies for job-related courses, subsidies for professional accreditation and mentoring opportunities.
Canadian National Railway Company / CN, Montreal. Railroads; 16,582 employees. Head office amenities include a quiet room for meditation or religious observance, fitness facility and a cafeteria featuring healthy and special diet menus.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Ottawa. National security; 3,299 employees. Established the Intergenerational Working Group on the attraction and retention of employees to better understand expectations and needs across all generations in the workplace.
Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd., Toronto. Hardware stores; 85,000 employees. Created "HotiDEAS," a forum for IT employees to share best practices.
Cape Breton District Health Authority / CBDHA, Sydney, N.S. Hospitals; 2,357 employees. Offers young talent opportunities to gain on-the-job experience through paid internships, co-op programs and summer student positions.
Carswell, a division of Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., Toronto. Book publishers: 897 employees. Offers compassionate leave top-up payments to employees who are called upon to care for a loved one, up to 95 per cent of salary for eight weeks.
Ceridian HCM, Winnipeg. Payroll services; 1,507 employees. Established "Ceridian Cares," a newly registered charity to assist individuals and families in communities where it operates across Canada.
Children's Aid Society of Toronto, The, Toronto. Child and youth services; 758 employees. Employees can take advantage of up to 11 paid personal days off with the option to carry forward up to four days year-over-year.
CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 35,122 employees. Manages a collaborative mentoring program to facilitate six-month mentoring relations between diverse employees at the bank.
College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, Vancouver. Professional organizations; 105 employees. Recently extended parental leave top-up payments to new fathers, up to 75 per cent for 52 weeks.
Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto. Multimedia production and broadcasting; 1,595 employees. Head office features a daylight harvesting lighting system, green rooftop sections, an interior five-storey bio-wall of plant life, a rainwater harvesting system and a three-storey gravity-powered slide for fun and quick exits at the end of the day.
Dalhousie University, Halifax. Universities; 3,622 employees. Retired employees can stay active through the Association of Dalhousie Retirees and Pensioners, which organizes social events and represents retiree interests on the university's pension and benefits committees.
Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, Richmond, B.C. Motorcycle dealers; 143 employees. Helps employees save for the future with matching RRSP contributions ranging from 5 per cent to 15 per cent of salary, depending on the position.
Deloitte LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 8,563 employees. Employees can apply for extended work terms at Deloitte offices worldwide or shorter work-exchange opportunities at offices in Australia, New Zealand, India and South America.
Department of Finance Canada, Ottawa. Federal government; 791 employees. Offers a pre-retirement transition leave option for employees within two years of retirement.
Desjardins Group / Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, Montreal. Credit unions; 37,994 employees. Hosts an annual "Women on the Move" awards to celebrate International Women's Day and recognize its leading female employees.
DIALOG, Edmonton. Architectural services; 573 employees. Celebrates long-serving employees every five years with uniquely tailored gifts made from materials featured in their past projects.
Digital Extremes Ltd., London, Ont. Software publishers; 178 employees. Head office features a full-sized commercial kitchen and dining room, with two full-time chefs who prepare healthy (and free) meals daily for employees.
EllisDon Corp., Mississauga. Building construction; 1,505 employees. Provides a range of financial benefits, including profit sharing and a share purchase plan available to all employees.
Enbridge Inc., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 5,770 employees. Established an Aboriginal Employment Committee to help attract and retain aboriginal employees.
Enerflex Ltd., Calgary. Industrial machinery and equipment merchant wholesalers; 1,300 employees. Recognizes top performers and those completing special projects with tickets to NHL hockey games at the Saddledome.
Ericsson Canada Inc., Montreal. Telecommunications equipment manufacturing; 3,126 employees. New parents can take advantage of an onsite daycare facility when they return to work.
ERM Consultants Canada Ltd., Vancouver. Environmental consulting services; 195 employees. Operates an employee-led Green Ideas Committee and supports numerous events, including "Bike-to-Work Week" and "Commuter Challenge."
General Electric Canada / GE, Mississauga. Motor and generator manufacturing; 7,447 employees. Offers paid time off for employees to volunteer in their communities.
General Motors of Canada Ltd., Oshawa, Ont. Motor vehicle manufacturing; 9,632 employees. Lets employees take home company vehicles for a period of time, giving employees a chance to enjoy the products they build.
George Brown College, Toronto. Colleges; 1,341 employees. Most employees start with four weeks of paid vacation, moving to a maximum of six weeks for long-serving employees.
Great Little Box Company Ltd. The, Richmond, B.C. Box manufacturing; 199 employees. Privately-held employer opens its books to employees each month and offers a profit-sharing option.
Great-West Life Assurance Company, The, Winnipeg. Insurance carriers; 10,012 employees. Manages rotational programs for students completing their actuarial or accounting designation.
HP Advanced Solutions Inc., Victoria. Computer systems design services; 445 employees. Employees can easily access more than 100 acres of walking and running trails, as well outdoor sports fields and a community garden.
Innovatia Inc., Saint John. Computer programming; 421 employees. Added more than 80 jobs in Canada last year.
ISM Canada, Regina. Computer programming; 873 employees. Employees can take advantage of monthly "coffee break massages" and receive a tension relieving massage at their desks.
Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc., Montreal. Property management; 1,301 employees. Offers ample underground bicycle parking, hosts an annual bike tune-up clinic and features four electric car charging stations.
Kiewit Energy Canada Corp., Calgary. Engineering services; 385 employees. Offers an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) subsidy to employees requiring treatments, to a maximum of $15,000.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 6,020 employees. Maintains a Working Parents Network to bring together parents with young children to share their ideas, experiences and resources.
L'Oréal Canada Inc., Montreal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,200 employees. Maintains a flexible health benefits plan that allows employees to customize levels of coverage to suit their personal needs.
Labatt Breweries of Canada, Toronto. Breweries; 3,000 employees. Head office amenities include The Pub, a 20,000-square-foot hall with a pool table, table hockey, dart boards, multiple televisions and fireplace.
Loblaw Companies Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets; 28,211 employees. Head office features "touch-down" work stations for visiting employees.
Lundbeck Canada Inc., Montreal. Research and development; 203 employees. Along with Bell Canada, Lundbeck sponsored Canadian Olympian, Clara Hughes, in her "Clara's Big Ride" campaign to raise awareness and encourage open dialogue about mental health issues.
Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 6,133 employees. Hosts monthly lunches with the CEO where employees in attendance are drawn randomly and encouraged to ask questions.
Mars Canada Inc., Bolton, Ont. Food manufacturing; 484 employees. Employees manage an in-house Environmental Sustainability Team that helps manage in-house recycling efforts, cafeteria composting and volunteer initiatives.
McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,450 employees. Designated May as its annual "Mentoring Month," with speed mentoring sessions for students, mentor meetings for new associates and an awards celebration.
Medtronic of Canada Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Electromedical apparatus manufacturing; 402 employees. Their new LEED certified head office features a non-toxic VOC-free interior, photo-cell daylight harvesting system and a reflective "white" roof to help reduce air-conditioning needs.
Merck Canada Inc., Kirkland, Que. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,316 employees. Offers signing bonuses for some employees, year-end bonuses and a share purchase plan available to all employees.
Monsanto Canada Inc., Winnipeg. Research and development, 399 employees. Offers more personal time off with three weeks of starting vacation, additional personal paid days off as well as paid time off during the holiday season.
Mosaic Company, The, Regina. Nitrogenous fertilizer manufacturing; 2,397 employees. Head office employees provided design feedback on their new head office that features a rooftop patio with views of the surrounding city and prairie landscape.
National Energy Board, Calgary. Federal government; 392 employees. Maintains the "iConnect" social media application on its corporate intranet to encourage employees to connect with each other and senior management.
Nature's Path Foods Inc., Richmond, B.C. Breakfast cereal manufacturing; 163 employees. Offers an employee-maintained onsite organic garden for a little therapeutic gardening to unwind during a busy day.
Nexen Energy ULC, Calgary. Oil and gas extraction; 2,129 employees. Created the EGG Exchange program, which offers engineers and geoscientists an opportunity to self-nominate for a role change or "swaps" among interested employees.
Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., Mississauga. Pharmaceutical preparation manufacturing; 280 employees. Manages a Global Graduate Program to provide MBA students with an opportunity to study and work at various global locations.
Nuance Communications Canada Inc., Montreal. Software publishers; 752 employees. Encourages employees to stay healthy with an annual wellness account, as well as a $500 health spending account for additional coverages.
Ontario Public Service/ OPS, Toronto. Provincial government; 61,672 employees. Manages a sponsored employee program: a unique volunteer opportunity for high potential employees to be seconded for a 15-week period to work for United Way (with regular pay).
OpenText Corp., Waterloo, Ont. Computer programming; 1,306 employees. Encourages employees to leave the car at home with sheltered bicycle parking and shower facilities.
Ottawa, City of, Ottawa. Municipal government; 12,130 employees. Launched a workplace wellness and productivity network to provide employees with access to resources on physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.
PCL Constructors Inc., Edmonton. Building construction; 2,976 employees. Helps cultivate high potential employees through formal mentoring and leadership training.
PepsiCo Canada, Mississauga. Soft drink manufacturing; 4,255 employees. Manages a new graduate program and emerging leaders development program to help students and new grads transition to the workplace.
PNI Digital Media Inc., Vancouver. Digital printing; 135 employees. Activities include a summer barbecue, monthly socials on the last Friday of every month, movie nights, poker contests and onsite massage visits once a year.
Procter & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 2,120 employees. Head office offers "digital workspaces" without assigned desks and open concept collaborative workspaces with all the latest technology to ensure offsite employees remain in touch.
Provincial Health Services Authority / PHSA, Vancouver. Hospitals; 9,723 employees. Offers in-house apprenticeship opportunities, a variety of in-house and online training programs, and subsidies for professional accreditation.
RBC, Toronto. Banking; 51,423 employees. Created the "Get Fit @ Home" program, an online fitness and wellness program to help employees achieve their physical activity goals outside of the workplace.
Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Cable and subscription programming; 24,721 employees. Established the Rogers Youth Fund to help young Canadians overcome barriers to education.
SAP Canada Inc., Toronto. Computer programming; 2,311 employees. Created the 18-month Leadership Excellence Acceleration Program (LEAP) to support the professional advancement of female employees.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance/ SGI, Regina. Insurance carriers; 1,831 employees. Offers paid internship, co-op and summer student opportunities for students and new grads.
SaskTel, Regina.Telecommunications; 3,196 employees. Every spring employees from across the province get together for a friendly but competitive hockey tournament – and bragging rights for the year.
Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary. Oil and gas extraction; 9,130 employees. Offers a share purchase plan, year-end bonuses, discounted financial services through the Shell Credit Union and discounts on gasoline purchases at the pump.
Siemens Canada Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Engineering services; 4,582 employees. Operates an employee suggestion program that encourages employees to share their feedback.
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Universities; 2,774 employees. Engages students and staff as sustainability ambassadors, responsible for educating their peers and the broader campus community on sustainability issues and initiatives.
Solvera Solutions, Regina. Computer programming; 179 employees. Offers an annual health club subsidy up to $500, as well as coverage for health and fitness testing at accredited institutions.
Stryker Canada LP, Hamilton. Medical equipment and supplies wholesalers; 219 employees. Provides parental top-up to new fathers and adoptive parents, as well as the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
Suncor Energy Inc., Calgary. Oil and gas extraction; 13,323 employees. Encourages active community service through the SunCares Employee Program, which provides employees with opportunities to apply for grants on behalf of the organizations they are involved in.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,270 employees. Partnered with Career Edge to offer a one-year training program to provide work experience to new Canadian job-seekers.
TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 44,068 employees. Offers corporate membership rates with Kids & Company to help parents in need of emergency childcare services.
Technip Canada Ltd., St. John's. Engineering services; 172 employees. Offers employees a world of career possibilities in Canada's busy oil producing regions as well as being part of a company with operations in 49 countries.
Telus Corp., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 24,532 employees. Encourages employees to work from home through a formal Work Styles program, designed to help employees easily adopt flexible work arrangements where possible.
Toronto International Film Festival / TIFF, Toronto. Motion pictures; 187 employees. Works with Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital's "Youth@Work" program offering work/volunteer placements for teens living with disabilities.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,513 employees. Offers a flexible health benefits plan that extends into retirement years, with no age limit.
Trican Well Service Ltd., Calgary. Support for oil and gas operations; 2,395 employees. Rents offsite gyms and ice rinks on a weekly basis for employee use.
Union Gas Ltd., Chatham, Ont. Natural gas distribution; 2,148 employees. Developed a five-year business case to support growing work force diversity, outlining strategies and initiatives that include outreach, recruitment, training and employee resources.
University of Toronto, Toronto. Universities; 9,019 employees. Supports retiring academic personnel through an Academic Retiree Centre that helps retirees continue their research and professional activities.
Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Vancouver. Credit unions; 2,025 employees. Provides employees with a bonus week of paid vacation on their 10th anniversary, and in each increment of five years thereafter.
Vancouver, City of, Vancouver. Municipal government; 6,947 employees. Created a formal mentorship program for new Canadians, in partnership with the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia and local service provider agencies.
Verafin Inc., St. John's. Computer programming; 176 employees. Provides an open concept environment office featuring small fitness stations throughout, including yoga mats, weights, exercise balls, chin-up bars and skipping ropes.
Western University, London, Ont. Universities; 4,763 employees. Offers employees tuition support for courses at Western from $4,000 to unlimited per year, depending on their employee group.
World Vision Canada, Mississauga. Social advocacy; 464 employees. Manages an internal secondment policy allowing employees to try a new role within the organization for up to six months while holding their original position.
WorleyParsons Canada Services Ltd., Calgary. Engineering services; 7,392 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance, phased-in work options and matching RRSP contributions, to 9 per cent of salary.
Yukon, Government of, Whitehorse. Territorial government; 4,454 employees. Interested employees can plan for additional paid time away through a self-funded leave of absence program, up to one year in duration.