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Whistler Blackcomb participates in a provincial program to help at-risk youth and young adults between the ages of 15 and 30 develop employment skills.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

What makes a Top Employer for Young People? Simply put, they provide opportunities that can make a real difference in a young person's career.

The 90 winners of this year's competition represent diverse organizations from across Canada, each with its own unique initiatives, but they all share a formal commitment to helping new talent make a transition into the working world.

Those initiatives need not be costly to have impact. Many are focused on the needs of students and recent college and university graduates, such as work-study and co-op programs, paid internships and summer jobs that provide relevant experience to those just starting out. Mentoring, social and networking events, training and professional development for new employees are also key to the culture of these winning organizations that clearly understand how attractive these programs are for recruiting and retaining talent. The best employers have a presence online, reaching out through social media and on their websites – even using live chat so that job seekers can interact directly with current employees.

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"Breaking into today's job market is tough, especially for young people who may have less experience or are confronted by unflattering stereotypes – such as lazy or entitled – of their generation," says Kristina Leung, senior editor of Canada's Top 100 Employers.

"Despite these stereotypes, I think young people value many of the same things that experienced individuals do, such as opportunities for long-term career development, professional support and a work environment where they can cultivate their skills and make a meaningful contribution."

For Canadians beginning their career paths, Canada's Top Employers for Young People is a valuable resource. For these forward thinking organizations, it's a smart strategy for the future.

The list:

Accenture Inc., Toronto. Management consulting; 3,623 employees. Established the Accenture Future Technology Leaders Program to support undergraduate interest in science, technology, engineering and math careers.

Agrium Inc., Calgary. Nitrogenous fertilizer manufacturing; 3,774 employees. Offers a four-year rotational engineer-in-training program to help new graduates combine their knowledge from university or college with on-the-job training.

Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Boyle, Alta. Pulp mills; 446 employees. Manages paid and unpaid co-op programs in partnership with Portage College, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and the University of Alberta.

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Aldo Group Inc., Saint-Laurent, Que. Retailer; 2,619 employees. Organizes tours of the company's head office and distribution centre for recent graduates.

AltaGas Ltd., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 945 employees. Formed a partnership with SAIT Polytechnic to provide blended training for employees who are pursuing a power engineering steam ticket.

Arcurve Inc., Calgary. Computer software development; 65 employees. Organizes monthly lunch-and-learn sessions to encourage employees to share knowledge on a broad number of topics.

ATB Financial, Edmonton. Financial institution; 4,551 employees. Participates in Bow Valley College's co-op program, which aims to train students as personal banking specialists.

Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto. Banking; 32,002 employees. Created a Young Professionals Association to provide younger employees with opportunities to connect, learn and grow professionally.

Bayer Canada, Toronto. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,348 employees. Offers employees the opportunity to explore different career options and gain experience in various positions through Bayer's Career Flexx program.

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BC Hydro, Vancouver. Hydroelectric power; 4,986 employees. Manages the Youth Hires Program, which provides students with summer employment in trades and technical occupations.

Bennett Jones LLP, Calgary. Law firm; 859 employees. Its What We Wish We Had Known guide provides additional support to law students.

Big Viking Games Inc., London, Ont. Software publishers; 49 employees. Provides opportunities for internal and external mentoring, including reverse mentoring for younger employees.

British Columbia Automobile Association, Burnaby, B.C. Professional organizations; 845 employees. Created Grow Your Own, a 10-week apprenticeship program that provides career opportunities to high-potential candidates with no experience or background in the insurance industry.

Bruce Power LP, Tiverton, Ont. Nuclear power; 4,081 employees. Invests more than $100-million in training and development each year.

Cactus Restaurants Ltd., Vancouver. Restaurants; 984 employees. Houses one of Canada's largest in-house apprenticeship programs for employees pursuing a Red Seal chef certification.

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Cameco Corp., Saskatoon. Uranium mining; 2,985 employees. Sends two to five employees to the annual World Nuclear University Summer Institute program every year.

Canada Revenue Agency, Ottawa. Administration of general economic programs; 40,026 employees. Created an aboriginal tax officer apprenticeship program to recruit qualified aboriginal college and university graduates.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Toronto. Banking; 35,122 employees. Created GenNext@CIBC, a program to cultivate leadership development by providing community engagement opportunities for younger employees.

Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., Toronto. Hardware stores; 85,000 employees. Established an HR rotational experience program for individuals interested in a career in human resources.

Candu Energy Inc., Mississauga. Nuclear technology; 1,164 employees. Maintains a joint training, career and professional development committee that meets on a quarterly basis.

Cargill Ltd., Winnipeg. Agricultural products; 8,076 employees. Manages a summer student contest requiring participants to create a short presentation on A Day in the Life of a Cargill Summer Student.

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Co-operators Life Insurance Co., Regina. Insurance; 654 employees. Provides scholarships of up to $2,000 for students in information technology and actuarial disciplines.

Coca-Cola Canada, Toronto. Soft drink manufacturing; 5,360 employees. Manages supply chain and field sales university talent programs to recruit new grads as summer interns or for full-time roles.

Connect Hearing, Victoria. Audiologists; 301 employees. Created paid internships for Hearing Instrument Practitioner students from George Brown College, Grant MacEwan University and Conestoga College.

ConocoPhillips Canada, Calgary. Natural gas extraction; 2,488 employees. Created Accelerate, a comprehensive five-year program that supports the development of new grads in petro-technical disciplines.

Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto. Broadcasting and entertainment; 1,595 employees. Formed a partnership with Marblemedia and Ryerson University to create the Innovative Storytellers Award, a $20,000 five-year educational initiative awarded to a full-time graduate student in the master of arts in media production program.

DeltaWare Systems Inc., Charlottetown. Computer programming; 111 employees. Manages a development seminar program including technical and non-technical courses.

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Department of Finance Canada, Ottawa. Federal government; 791 employees. Manages the Job Shadowing Sweepstakes event to provide employees with opportunity to share a day with a senior official.

Desjardins Group/Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, Montreal. Credit unions; 37,994 employees. Maintains the Desjardins Young Executives Network for managers under the age of 35.

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office PLC, Toronto. Insurance; 68 employees. Manages a three-year rotational intern program for recent university graduates interested in pursuing the Chartered Insurance Professional designation.

Edmonton, City of, Edmonton. Government; 9,153 employees. Established a task force in 2005 to conduct public consultations with young community members and maintains the NextGen Committee, responsible for implementing its recommendations.

EF Educational Tours, Toronto. Tour operator; 177 employees. Created a global finance program, an 18-month internship including three six-month placements at EF offices in different finance roles.

Enmax Corp., Calgary. Electric power distribution; 1,835 employees. Maintains a number of apprenticeship programs for power linesmen, power system electricians and boom truck operators.

Epcor Utilities Inc., Edmonton. Electric power distribution; 2,254 employees. Established an engineer-in-training program to support the development of high-potential engineering graduates.

Fednav Ltd., Montreal. Marine shipping and transportation; 153 employees. Offers scholarships as an incentive for young people to consider a career in the marine industry.

Flatiron Construction Corp., Richmond, B.C. Construction; 844 employees. Plays host to approximately 25 paid work-term or co-op placements for civil engineering or business administration students each year.

Fluor Canada Ltd., Calgary. Engineering; 3,067 employees. Created a structured piping design accelerated development program to help new grad designers achieve Designer 1 status within the first three years of employment.

Fortinet Technologies (Canada) Inc., Burnaby, B.C. Computer systems design services; 735 employees. Provides paid and unpaid internships in the research and development and technical support departments.

Health Canada/Santé Canada, Ottawa. Administration of public health programs; 9,476 employees. Participates in the Federal Student Work Experience Program and Research Affiliate Program.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto. Hospitals; 545 employees. Manages a summer student research program for undergraduate students to conduct research alongside leading children's rehabilitation scientists.

Home Depot of Canada Inc., Toronto. Retailer; 12,345 employees. Held its first new grad hiring day at Home Depot's head office.

Hydro Ottawa Ltd., Ottawa. Electric power distribution; 666 employees. Joins with Algonquin College to provide training to students enrolled in the two-year powerline technician diploma program.

IKEA Canada LP, Burlington, Ont. Retailer; 1,634 employees. Offers employees opportunities to work and travel abroad through its Backpacker Program.

Infusion, Toronto. Computer programming; 180 employees. Established Tour Infusion Passport, a program allowing employees to work internationally for a year at its offices in New York, London and Dubai.

Innovatia Inc., St. John, N.B. Computer programming; 421 employees. Works with Eastern College and the New Brunswick Community College to assist with curriculum development.

Jazz Aviation LP, Dartmouth, N.S. Passenger air transportation; 4,531 employees. Manages the Jazz Award program in partnership with the Collegiate Aviation Canada Group of Colleges.

Kinaxis Inc., Kanata, Ont. Software publishers; 181 employees. Established Hackathon Week to challenge employees to utilize their skills and creativity to improve an aspect of the organization's internal process or external product offerings.

KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 6,020 employees. Created Ace the Case, a two-day workshop for first-, second– and third-year commerce students interested in pursing an accounting designation.

L'Oréal Canada Inc., Montreal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,200 employees. Manages Brandstorm, a marketing competition that allows groups of students to present a case study analysis to L'Oréal judges.

Labatt Breweries of Canada, Toronto. Breweries; 3,000 employees. Manages a comprehensive internship program for university students.

Lafarge Canada Inc., Calgary. Construction materials; 3,003 employees. Created an 18-month leadership development program to help prepare high-potential employees for future leadership positions.

Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Retailer; 28,211 employees. Provides a variety of in-house and online training programs, including virtual learning games which allow employees to gain points, badges and personal recognition.

LoyaltyOne Inc., Toronto. Marketing consulting; 1,332 employees. Organized a case study competition which provided co-op students an opportunity to work with senior managers as well as other employees.

Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power; 6,133 employees. Offers co-op opportunities and paid internships in a variety of disciplines.

Manitoba, Government of, Winnipeg. Government; 14,432 employees. Established a Legislative Page Program, a one year part-time placement for grade 11 and 12 students with an interest in government affairs.

Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto. Insurance; 10,701 employees. Manages a leadership development program to put high-performing MBA grads on a fast track.

McGill University Health Centre, Montreal. Hospitals; 6,312 employees. Established the My First Years program to support the transition of new nursing hires.

Metrolinx, Toronto. Public transit; 2,705 employees. Created the Rob MacIsaac Innovation Fellowship, an annual program that provides students an opportunity to participate in research in a public sector environment.

North Cariboo Flying Service Ltd., Calgary. Passenger air transportation; 335 employees. Established a Young Pilot Program for employees who possess their commercial pilot licence and multi-IFR (instrument flying rating) endorsement.

Northwest Territories, Government of, Yellowknife. Government; 5,592 employees. Created a graduate internship program to recruit qualified postsecondary Northern graduates into positions related to their field of study.

Nuance Communications Canada Inc., Montreal. Software publishers; 752 employees. Manages a global internship program to provide students with unique development opportunities.

Ontario Public Service, Toronto. Government; 61,672 employees. Established the OPS Learn and Work initiative, a co-operative education program that provides employment opportunities for high-school students from selected priority communities.

Peel Regional Police, Brampton, Ont. Police; 2,814 employees. Created the Cadet Program in 2006 to help men and women aspiring to become police constables develop their skills and improve their knowledge of policing.

PepsiCo Canada, Mississauga. Soft drink manufacturing; 4,255 employees.

Established Emerging Leader Development, a national initiative to help students make a transition from academic life to the workplace.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Saskatoon. Nitrogenous fertilizer manufacturing; 2,780 employees. Sponsors the University of Saskatchewan's Edwards School of Business mentorship program, which pairs business professionals with third– or fourth-year commerce students.

Procter & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 2,120 employees. Created a program to provide summer interns an opportunity to work on multifunctional teams comprised of interns and managers.

Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver. Hospitals; 9,723 employees. Holds an open house for students in perinatal and neonatal nursing programs as part of its initiatives celebrating national nursing week.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PWC), Toronto. Accounting; 6,431 employees. Updated its student website and introduced live chats to provide students with the ability to interact with employees from different lines of service.

R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Engineering; 106 employees. Maintains a young professionals committee, which holds monthly breakfast or lunch meetings subsidized by the company.

Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd., Vancouver. Engineering; 384 employees. Created the Barrie Sarjeant Award competition, an annual event that encourages employees to use their creativity to develop a new idea or innovation.

Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Cable and subscription programming; 24,721 employees. Established the Rogers Youth Fund to provide financial support for educational programs delivered by community partners to youth between the ages of 12 and 19.

Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto. Banking; 51,423 employees. Created the Next Great Innovator Challenge, a competition that poses a challenge question to teams of postsecondary students.

SAP Canada Inc., Toronto. Computer programming; 2,311 employees. Working with the Vancouver School Board and British Columbia Institute of Technology to create an early college mini-school to help foster interest in technology.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance, Regina. Insurance carriers; 1,831 employees. Unites with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology in the delivery of its business insurance diploma.

SaskEnergy Inc., Regina. Natural gas distribution; 1,018 employees. Maintains a technical training centre that includes training labs and classrooms, in partnership with the Mechanical Contractors Association of Saskatchewan.

SaskPower, Regina. Hydroelectric power generation; 3,120 employees. Hires a number of paid interns each year through the Gradworks Intern Development Program.

SaskTel, Regina.Telecommunications; 3,196 employees. Created the SaskTel YouthNetwork program, long– and short-term strategies to improve current employment issues and to encourage young people to pursue postsecondary education.

Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary. Oil and gas extraction; 9,130 employees. Organizes the annual Shell Canada Intern Away Days to provide interns from across the country with an opportunity to meet and network in Calgary.

Sodexo Canada Ltd., Burlington, Ont. Food service contractors; 5,993 employees. Manages an international mobility mentorship program to provide recent grads with an opportunity to explore a career abroad.

Stryker Canada LP, Hamilton. Medical supplies wholesalers; 219 employees. Maintains a steady on-campus presence and participates in a number of events organized by postsecondary schools.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,270 employees. Holds an annual Young People Career Fair that teaches students about careers in a hospital environment.

Surrey, City of, Surrey, B.C. Government; 1,867 employees. Plays host to work-experience students from local high schools for job-shadowing opportunities.

Telus Corp., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 24,532 employees. Manages a rotational leadership development program for new university or college graduates.

Toronto International Film Festival Inc. (TIFF), Toronto. Motion picture promotions and distributions; 187 employees. Manages Wings, a bursary to help subsidize employee travel costs to film festivals around the world.

Trican Well Service Ltd., Calgary. Support for oil and gas operations; 2,395 employees. Participates in the registered apprenticeship program (RAP) which allows high-school students to begin apprenticeship training while continuing their high-school studies.

University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Schools; 11,294 employees. Established a postdoctoral fellows office that acts as a resource centre to help postdocs expand their professional skills.

Vision Critical Communications Inc., Vancouver. Computer programming; 422 employees. Created the Excel Internship, a year-long program for new university graduates seeking work experience.

Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler. Ski resort; 2,948 employees. Participates in the Government of British Columbia's Blade Runners program to help at-risk youth and young adults between the ages of 15 and 30 develop employment skills.

WorleyParsons Canada Services Ltd., Calgary. Engineering; 7,392 employees. Manages an international graduate exchange program to provide employees with opportunities to work abroad.

YMCA of Greater Toronto, Toronto. Individual and family services; 1,326 employees. Maintains a Youth Advisory Council comprised of young volunteers who provide advice to the organization's board of directors and senior staff.


Now in its 13th year, Canada's Top Employers for Young People is an editorial project that recognizes the country's leaders when it comes to attracting and retaining younger workers.

The editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers evaluate each employer based on the programs and initiatives it offers to attract and retain younger workers. These include tuition assistance, the availability of co-op or work-study programs, mentorship and training programs, including benefits such as bonuses paid when employees complete certain courses or professional designations. The editors also review each employer's career management program, looking for initiatives that can help younger workers advance faster in the organization. Lastly, the editors look at the average age of employees at each organization to better understand the composition and profile of the workforce.

Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may enter this competition through the Canada's Top 100 Employers application process. Organizations of any size may participate, whether private or public sector. Employers complete a single application for the national, regional and special-interest competitions, including Canada's Top Employers for Young People.

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