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Line workers assemble a Lexus SUV at the Toyota plant in Cambridge, Ont.

Aaron Lynett/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Meet the all-stars for 2018. Like winning athletes, these organizations have to be great all-rounders to make the list of Canada's Top 100 Employers. The criteria is tough, asking that employers excel in multiple categories, from providing opportunities for training and career advancement to family-friendly benefits, such as flexible working options that are redefining how people want to live and work today.

Each year, a number of new organizations join the ranks while many others repeat as the best in their industry. There are 16 new names for 2018, as small as Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Canada with 265 employees, and as big as Alberta Health Services with 45,975.

Richard Yerema, managing editor of Canada's Top 100 Employers, Mediacorp Canada Inc., says making room for new entrants from a list of exceptional employers is one of the biggest challenges they face when deciding the winners.

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"Each application year, we observe employers making small incremental changes that ultimately help elevate them into the category of a top employer," explains Mr. Yerema. "Truly, these are the employers that continue to develop and adopt policies that define best practices for our current time, employers who understand that HR best practices evolve with the expectations of new generations. Those that do return have very much evolved and kept pace with the changes we have documented."

The result for 2018 is an outstanding list of organizations able to attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive environment. Well played!

Methodology

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 for 2018 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 if 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;
  • 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 2018

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3M Canada Company, London, Ont. Technology manufacturing; 1,944 employees. Features a fully-equipped fitness facility at head office with free memberships.

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN, Winnipeg. Television broadcasting; 127 employees. Incorporated employee feedback in its workplace design, such as the boardroom table designed to reflect the traditional medicine wheel.

Accenture Inc., Toronto. Management consulting; 3,576 employees. Offers new parents the opportunity to reduce their travel and work locally for one year following their return to work after their leave.

ACL Services Ltd., Vancouver. Custom computer programming; 238 employees. Supports ongoing professional development with subsidies for tuition for courses related and not directly related to their current position.

Adobe Systems Canada Inc., Ottawa. Software publishers; 277 employees. Offers a subsidy of up to $5,000 to parents who are looking to adopt.

Agriculture Financial Services Corp. / AFSC, Lacombe, Alta. Financial services; 522 employees. Actively seeks experienced adjusters for their knowledge.

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Air Canada, Saint-Laurent, Que. Air transportation; 24,755 employees. Sought employee feedback on its ongoing head office renovations for everything from storage space design to the final decor.

Alberta Health Services / AHS, Edmonton. Health-care services; 43,975 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco G.P., Hamilton. Iron and steel mills; 11,312 employees. Hosts an impressive and longstanding Christmas party for more than 8,000 employees, retirees and guests, including more than 3,000 children.

Bank of Canada, Ottawa. Central bank; 1,674 employees. Pursues transparent and continuous communication with its work force through employee town halls, an internal speaker series and an annual employee conference.

BASF Canada Inc., Mississauga. Chemical manufacturing; 735 employees. Revised its tuition reimbursement program to offer $25,000 annually for graduate programs and $15,000 annually for undergraduate programs.

Bayer, Mississauga. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,396 employees. Offers health benefits that extend to retirees, with no age limit.

BC Public Service, Victoria. Provincial government; 27,785 employees. Allows employees to arrange direct payroll deductions for donations to registered charities of their choosing, raising more than $1.5-million in the past year.

BDC / Business Development Bank of Canada, Montreal. Secondary market financing; 2,244 employees. Offers the option to purchase up to five additional vacation days through their flexible health plan.

Bell Canada, Montreal. Communications; 37,137 employees. Created the national "Let's Talk" initiative to support mental health awareness initiatives across Canada.

Best Buy Canada Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Retail; 5,500 employees. Renovated its corporate office to introduce more couches, casual seating and collaborative work spaces.

BioWare ULC, Edmonton. Software developer; 317 employees. Leads in its industry by providing support to employees through a subsidy for in vitro fertilization treatments, up to $10,000.

Canada Revenue Agency / CRA, Ottawa. Federal government; 40,207 employees. Offers phased-in work options for those nearing retirement.

Canadian Heritage, Gatineau. Federal government; 1,701 employees. Offers generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments to new moms, dads and adoptive parents.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd., Chalk River, Ont. Nuclear power technology and engineering; 3,278 employees. Encourages employees to get involved in the community with paid volunteer time.

Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd., Toronto. Retail; 85,000 employees. Offers employees generous discounts on their store purchases as well as preferred credit card rates.

Cargill Ltd., Winnipeg. Food and agricultural products; 7,665 employees. Offers a variety of in-house and online training programs, including apprenticeships and paid internships for those entering the work force.

Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Toronto. Child and youth services; 510 employees. Offers employees a health spending account of up to $1,000 per year.

CBCL Ltd., Halifax. Engineering; 261 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for courses that are related to their position, with no maximum limit.

Ceridian HCM Inc., Winnipeg. Payroll; 1,633 employees. Created the Dave MacKay Memorial Scholarship, in memory of the company's late president, to reward excellence in education and community involvement.

CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 36,482 employees. Maintains a Retiree Advisory Committee which represents the views of the bank's retirees on issues affecting them.

Cisco Systems Canada Co., Toronto. Computer and equipment manufacturing; 1,727 employees. Offers employees up to five paid personal days each year, in addition to four weeks of starting vacation.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, The, Vancouver. Professional organizations; 128 employees. Supports an in-house "College Fundraising Committee" that focuses charitable support on local initiatives.

Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto. Media production and broadcasting; 3,008 employees. Encourages employees to volunteer their time to support organizations dedicated to feeding and supporting children and families.

Desjardins Group / Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, Lévis. Que. Credit union; 41,294 employees. Features one of the tallest interior living walls in the world at their head office.

Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 199 employees. Encourages employee giving through matching charitable contributions as well as paid time off to volunteer.

Digital Extremes Ltd., London, Ont. Software publishers; 240 employees. Lets everyone share in the company's success with year-end bonuses and profit-sharing.

EllisDon Corp., Mississauga. Construction; 1,793 employees. Cultivates an ownership mentality through a share purchase plan, available to all employees.

Enbridge Inc., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 7,650 employees. Offers an academic scholarship program available to employees' children who are pursuing postsecondary studies.

ESIT Advanced Solutions Inc., Victoria. Computer systems design; 479 employees. Participates in the United Way's annual fundraising campaign with employees spearheading a number of initiatives.

Export Development Canada, Ottawa. International trade financing and support; 1,482 employees. Head office 18-storey building was constructed to meet LEED Gold standard and designed with lots of employee feedback.

Fidelity Canada, Toronto. Portfolio management; 891 employees. Participates in the Partners for Mental Health's "Not Myself Today" awareness campaign.

Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 7,856 employees. Encourages employees to keep fit through subsidized access to an onsite fitness facility with state-of-the-art exercise equipment and instructor-led classes.

Graham Group, Calgary. Construction; 1,051 employees. Encourages employees to keep their skills up-to-date through a variety of training initiatives, from apprenticeships and trades programs to extensive leadership training.

Hatch Ltd., Mississauga. Engineering; 2,772 employees. Celebrates employee accomplishments through a range of specific recognition awards.

Hospital for Sick Children, The, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,677 employees. Offers pension and retirement sessions throughout the year plus an online pension centre to provide employees with a convenient user experience.

IMAX Corp., Mississauga. Movie theatre technology; 321 employees. Offers generous referral bonuses when employees successfully recruit a friend.

Intact Financial Corp., Toronto. Insurance; 11,750 employees. Helps employees plan for the future with defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans.

Irving Oil, Saint John. Petroleum refining, distribution and retail; 2,474 employees. Maintains the E3 Women's Forum and "eMERGe" employee group for millennials.

ISM Canada, Regina. Custom computer programming; 792 employees. Offers monthly "coffee-break massages" that employees can take advantage of for a nominal fee.

Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc., Montreal. Property management; 1,064 employees. Offers employees a range of alternative work arrangements and a dedicated onsite daycare centre for employee use.

K+S Potash Canada GP, Saskatoon. Fertilizer manufacturing; 462 employees. Experienced significant growth in the past year, opening the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years and adding more than 170 new employees.

Keurig Canada Inc., Montreal. Coffee distribution and brewing equipment; 1,398 employees. Supports ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions.

Keyera Corp., Calgary. Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction; 989 employees. Offers employees a health spending account equivalent to 4.5 per cent of their salary plus an additional $3,500 each year.

KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 6,620 employees. Offers a variety of flexible work options including a Personal Care program, which provides employees with up to 50 hours of paid time off annually.

L'Oréal Canada Inc., Montreal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,378 employees. Provides a variety of in-house and online training programs, tuition subsidies, and opportunities for international training in Paris and New York.

Labatt Brewing Company Ltd., Toronto. Breweries; 3,390 employees. Launched a new Better Together initiative to provide generous grants for individuals and families across Canada to help provide essentials for those living in need.

Loblaw Companies Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 28,208 employees. Provides a number of communication and feedback tools to keep employees informed and up to date.

Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 5,980 employees. Maintains an Employee Fund to provide financial assistance and support to employees in need.

Mars Inc., Bolton, Ont. Food manufacturing; 1,300 employees. Offers a unique "Pet-ernity" leave program, allowing employees to take up to eight hours off for a new cat or dog.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,272 employees. Encourages all employees to provide feedback through "idea+eXchange" sessions with the COO.

Medavie Blue Cross, Moncton. Insurance; 1,895 employees. Introduced a vacation purchase program to help employees find a little more time.

Mosaic Company, The, Regina. Fertilizer manufacturing; 2,261 employees. Provides opportunities for high-potential employees to participate in community, professional networking and recruitment events.

Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Canada, Toronto. Medical relief organization; 265 employees. Maintains in-house wellness programming and offers a generous health spending account.

National Energy Board, Calgary. Federal government; 477 employees. Offers three weeks starting vacation plus up to five additional paid family leave days which can be used for family-related responsibilities.

National Leasing Group Inc., Winnipeg. Sales financing; 354 employees. Maintains an employee Wellness Advisory Group to help raise awareness of wellness in the workplace.

Nature's Path Foods Inc., Richmond, B.C. Food manufacturing; 193 employees. Hosts an annual health and wellness week, featuring free massages, yoga classes, holistic nutritionists and biometric screenings.

NAV Canada, Ottawa. Air traffic control; 4,940 employees. Supports a number of local, national and international charitable organizations each year and sets aside $130,000 for donations based on employee requests.

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Montreal. Law firm; 1,589 employees. Hosts a National Fitness Challenge to encourage physical activity in the workplace and promote team building.

Nuance Communications Canada Inc., Montreal. Software publishers; 791 employees. Maintains a formal incentive performance program as well as various awards to recognize exceptional performance.

OpenText Corp., Waterloo, Ont. Custom computer programming; 1,626 employees. Offers employees the opportunity to become owners of the publicly traded company through a share purchase plan.

PCL Construction, Edmonton. Construction; 2,785 employees. Created a women's mentoring group at its Calgary location and will be hosting a Women's Leadership Summit.

Pembina Pipeline Corporation, Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 1,342 employees. Offers a health and wellness spending account of $1,000, allowing employees to flex levels of coverage to suit their personal needs.

PepsiCo Canada, Mississauga. Soft drink and food manufacturing; 9,433 employees. Manages the Pepsi Foundation to raise funds for underprivileged children and youth.

Procter & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,710 employees. Offers tuition subsidies up to $5,000 for employees and academic scholarships for children of employees, up to $2,000 per child.

R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Engineering; 139 employees. Is an employee-owned and managed firm that continues to grow, recently opening a new office in Calgary and increasing its full-time work force by about 20 per cent.

Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Telecommunications, cable, publishing and subscription programming; 22,304 employees. Is a designated Imagine Canada company and dedicates at least 1 per cent of its net earnings for philanthropic initiatives.

Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto. Banking; 52,519 employees. Manages an in-house wellness program called Living Well to encourage employees to adopt healthy lifestyles.

Salesforce Canada Corp., Toronto. Customer relationship management (CRM) services; 1,219 employees. Features private shower facilities for cycling commuters, private meeting areas and a lounge area with treadmill desks at its head office.

Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., Mississauga. Communications equipment manufacturing; 555 employees. Features premium parking for hybrid and electric car commuters as well as charging stations for electric cars at its LEED-certified head office.

SAP Canada Inc., Vancouver. Custom computer programming; 2,903 employees. Invested $11-million to renovate its Vancouver office, reconfiguring approximately 20,000 square feet into collaborative spaces and dedicated "thinking" rooms.

Saskatchewan Research Council / SRC, Saskatoon. Research and development; 336 employees. Offers flexible hours and compressed and shortened work-week options to help employees balance work and their personal lives.

Schneider Electric Canada Inc., Mississauga. Industrial automation and controls; 2,663 employees. Encourages ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies for job-related courses, up to $13,000.

Sekisui Diagnostics PEI Ltd., Charlottetown. Medical diagnostic products; 125 employees. Offers numerous financial benefits including signing bonuses for some employees and referral bonuses of up to $1,500.

Shaw Communications Inc., Calgary. Communications, cable and subscription programming; 10,668 employees. Cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees.

Siemens Canada Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Engineering; 4,022 employees. Maintains the Caring Hands Employee Committee, which helps the organization plan its corporate social responsibility program and activities.

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Universities; 2,930 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options to help employees transition.

Stryker Canada Inc., Hamilton. Medical equipment and supplies wholesalers; 304 employees. Established a Council of Young Professionals to help create an inclusive community across all generations.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 6,362 employees. Maintains a formal staff recognition program to celebrate exceptional performance in a variety of fields.

TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 46,405 employees. Maintains a dedicated Retired Alumni website and provides financial support for seven alumni associations across Canada.

Teck Resources Ltd., Vancouver. Mining; 7,514 employees. Maintains an exceptional time-off policy, with most employees receiving three weeks of vacation to start, moving to four weeks after three years on the job.

Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., Toronto. Publishers; 1,180 employees. Launched an Early Careers Network in 2015 to help support early career professionals.

Toronto, City of, Toronto. Municipal government; 22,070 employees. Offers exceptional family-friendly benefits, including a full year of paid leave for new mothers, parental leave top-up for fathers and adoptive parents and onsite daycare.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc./ TMMC, Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,620 employees. Offers employees generous discounts for the lease or purchase of new vehicles and extends the program to their family members.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Ottawa. Federal government; 1,895 employees. Offers employees the option to extend their parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence.

Ubisoft Toronto Inc., Toronto. Software publishers; 4,043 employees. Created the Boomerang Program to provide high-performing employees opportunities to explore new career paths and positions within the company.

University of New Brunswick / UNB, Fredericton. Universities; 1,755 employees. Dedicated to improving environmental sustainability on campus and maintains an Institutional Sustainability Plan that outlines goals, targets and measurements.

University of Toronto, Toronto. Universities; 9,574 employees. Provides workshops, discussion groups and access to wide range of resources through the dedicated Family Care Office.

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont. Universities; 5,254 employees. Encourages ongoing employee development through its Organizational and Human Development Office, which offers a wide range of training programs.

Université de Montréal, Montreal. Universities; 5,568 employees. Offers the convenience of onsite daycare when employees who are new parents are ready to return to work.

Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Vancouver. Credit unions; 2,050 employees. Offers a unique live and work co-op training option for employees interested in living in Bologna, Italy.

Verafin Inc., St. John's. Custom computer programming; 248 employees. Encourages employees to lead active, healthy lives with a generous subsidy for gym memberships.

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., Vancouver. Sawmills; 5,643 employees. Features an open-concept office environment at its head office which showcases large cedar beams and wood details.

World Vision Canada, Mississauga. Charitable organizations; 482 employees. Created a new training program for high-potential employees that features academic, experiential and cross-functional learning opportunities.

Yukon, Government of, Whitehorse. Territorial government; 4,233 employees. Hosts formal ceremonies to celebrate long-serving employees and recognize outstanding contributions.

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