By Diane Jermyn* – November 2022
Nearly three years ago, most people travelled to their workplaces as a matter of course. Then the pandemic hit and suddenly everyone went to work at their kitchen tables. They got more comfortable with remote technology and the cat’s ever-increasing ego on Zoom. Productivity continued to improve, along with work-life balance. It’s no wonder so many workers don’t want to return to stressful commuting – at least not full time.
For the winners of this year’s competition, selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc., flexibility is the answer as they continue to set the standard for doing business in Canada with best practices. In many cases, that may mean simply going with whatever works best for the worker. For instance, Hatch asked employees to share feedback on their professional goals, personal wellness, and where, when and how they would like to work, in order to develop individual plans to suit each employee’s needs.
Likewise, after conducting an employee survey on the return to the office, Digital Extremes is offering full-time remote, full-time in office and hybrid work options. The company is also enticing people back with a head office that features massage chairs, healthy snacks, arcade and video game stations and an onsite fitness facility with subsidized memberships.
As another example, BASF recently moved offices to better adapt to increased levels of hybrid work. The new location boasts open concept designs plus collaboration and innovation spaces for connecting – and also incorporates a number of green features, including a living wall, electric vehicle charging stations and external green spaces.
But while flexible work arrangements have become more important than ever, job seekers should also look at what else Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2023 have to offer. There are opportunities for career development, continuous learning, community involvement, financial incentives and generous health benefits, including increased mental health services. After all, the last three years have not been without stress – and helping employees manage that is a high priority for many of this year’s Top 100.
While the selection process to choose the winners of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp 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 by Mediacorp 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 & social; (3) Health, financial & family benefits; (4) Vacation & time off; (5) Employee communications; (6) Performance management; (7) Training & skills development; and (8) Community involvement.
Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp 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.
3M Canada Company, London, Ont. Technology manufacturing; 1,842 employees. Supports ongoing employee development through a wide range of formal in-house training initiatives as well as generous tuition subsidies.
ABB Canada, Saint-Laurent, Que. Engineering and technology services; 2,971 employees. Encourages physical health by providing free access to virtual fitness classes and participating in an annual global health challenge.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN, Winnipeg. Television broadcasting; 152 employees. Offers northern living allowances and housing allowances for its Iqaluit-based employees.
Accenture Inc., Toronto. Professional services; 5,682 employees. Manages a dedicated mental health group to help educate and empower employees as well as a Mental Health Ally program.
Adobe Systems Canada Inc., Ottawa. Software publishers; 342 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm with generous new employee referral bonuses, up to $2,000 depending on the position.
Agriculture Financial Services Corp. / AFSC, Lacombe, Alta. Insurance and lending for agricultural producers; 491 employees. Helps employees take responsibility for their health through a health spending account as part of their health benefits plan.
ArcelorMittal Dofasco G.P., Hamilton. Iron and steel mills; 4,765 employees. Offers academic scholarships for children of employees who wish to pursue post-secondary education, up to $2,500 per child.
Assembly of First Nations, Ottawa. Indigenous government; 147 employees. Provides maternity and parental leave top-up of up to 93 per cent of salary for up to 50 weeks for mothers and 93 per cent of salary for up to 35 weeks for fathers.
Bank of Canada, Ottawa. Central bank; 2,035 employees. Supports hybrid work arrangements, including the option to work from home as well as other flexible options.
BASF Canada Inc., Mississauga. Chemical manufacturing; 1,089 employees. Moved to a new location designed to better adapt to increased levels of hybrid work, with open concept designs and collaboration and innovation spaces for connecting.
BC Public Service, Victoria. Provincial government; 33,041 employees. Prioritizes the professional development of its employees, launching a new centralized learning hub for corporate learning in the past year.
BDO Canada LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 4,478 employees. Conducted two firm-wide mental health surveys to gauge employee well-being and maintains an internal My Wellness resource centre.
Bell Canada, Verdun, Que. Communications; 36,983 employees. Introduced the “Bell Workways” initiative to help employees develop hybrid work models that offer greater flexibility, collaboration and support in how and where employees work.
Best Buy Canada Ltd., Vancouver. Retail; 5,214 employees. Encourages employees to support charitable initiatives by offering $15 for every hour spent volunteering and doubles it to $30 per hour during National Volunteer Week in April.
BIOVECTRA, Charlottetown. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 570 employees. Introduced maternity leave top-up for new mothers as well as parental leave top-up for fathers and adoptive parents.
Boston Consulting Group Canada ULC, The, Toronto. Management consulting; 475 employees. Organized a mix of in-person and virtual events over the past year including in-person end of summer bashes, virtual cocktail-making classes and virtual scavenger hunts.
British Columbia Investment Management Corp. / BCI, Victoria. Portfolio management; 608 employees. Offers a buddy program to parents returning from maternal and parental leave, matching participants with employees who returned from leave in the past year.
Business Development Bank of Canada, Montreal. Secondary market financing; 2,556 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm with generous new employee referral bonuses, from $2,000 to $2,500 depending on the position.
CAE Inc., Saint-Laurent, Que. Aviation and defence systems; 4,456 employees. Moved to a global flexible vacation program, enabling employees to request time off as needed or wanted, without any fixed limits.
Canada Energy Regulator, Calgary. Federal government; 539 employees. Helps employees plan securely for the future with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance and health benefits that extend to retirees.
Canada Revenue Agency / CRA, Ottawa. Federal government; 55,588 employees. Offers a pre-retirement transition program, allowing employees to reduce their workweek by up to 40 per cent while maintaining regular benefits and pension contributions.
Canadian National Railway Co., Montreal. Railroad transportation; 16,402 employees. Developed a formal framework that lets employees design flexible work options in keeping with their roles.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., Calgary. Railroad transportation; 9,138 employees. Matches 100 per cent of all employee donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada or the American Heart Association as part of its charitable program.
Carleton University, Ottawa. Universities; 2,516 employees. Offers a minimum of four weeks starting vacation as part of its focus on employee well-being.
Cascades, Kingsey Falls, Que. Paper products; 7,233 employees. Offers free memberships and a range of instructor-led classes, both onsite and virtual, at its onsite fitness facility.
CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 40,048 employees. Opened its new global headquarters designed around a new workplace strategy that includes a blend of onsite and offsite work, with flexibility to work where employees are most productive.
Citi Canada, Toronto. Banking; 2,297 employees. Supports new parents and parents-to-be with fertility support payments to $24,000, as well as an adoption subsidy to $30,000.
Clio, Burnaby, B.C. Computer software; 708 employees. Helps employees manage unexpected challenges, offering compassionate leave top-up to care for a loved one, to 100 per cent of salary for up to 16 weeks.
CoLab Software Inc., St. John’s. Software; 67 employees. Maintains an unlimited vacation policy as well as a dedicated office closure over the winter holidays with full pay.
College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, The, Vancouver. Professional organizations; 165 employees. Implemented a permanent hybrid working model, with employees working up to three days a week from home.
Creative Options Regina Inc., Regina. Mental health support services; 216 employees. Launched a leadership development program to help prepare young leaders for career advancement.
Danone Canada, Boucherville, Que. Food manufacturing; 544 employees. Renovated the head office to create open, flexible and collaborative working spaces along with telecommuter workstations for offsite employees.
Dentons Canada LLP, Edmonton. Law firm; 1,357 employees. Offers exceptional and inclusive family-friendly benefits, including adoption assistance of up to $25,000 as well as $15,000 for fertility procedures.
Desjardins Group / Mouvement Desjardins, Lévis, Que. Financial institution; 48,129 employees. Updated its flexible work policies to offer three flexible work arrangement options, including 100-per-cent onsite, 100-per-cent offsite and combinations of both.
Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 268 employees. Is piloting a formal mentorship program, pairing senior team members with junior staff for professional development.
Digital Extremes Ltd., London, Ont. Software publishers; 349 employees. Surveyed employees on the return to the office and will offer full-time remote, full-time in office and hybrid work arrangements.
Emera Inc., Halifax. Electric power generation and distribution and gas distribution; 2,468 employees. Offers extensive in-house training programs, including paid internships and formal engineer-in-training programs for younger employees.
Employment and Social Development Canada, Gatineau, Que. Federal government; 37,334 employees. Offers subsidized onsite child care for employees working at the organization’s Gatineau head office.
Enbridge Inc., Calgary. Energy infrastructure; 7,384 employees. Offers a formal wellness program that encourages a variety of activities, from team step challenges, a month-long mindfulness challenge, health assessments and biometric screenings.
Export Development Canada, Ottawa. International trade financing and support; 2,019 employees. Launched a new benefits plan to provide employees with increased flexibility in determining appropriate coverage options.
Fidelity Canada, Toronto. Portfolio management; 1,407 employees. Offers secondment opportunities to let employees try out different roles and a job exchange program that lets employees trade roles for up to one year.
Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 6,570 employees. Supports ongoing employee development through generous tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current position.
Fowler Bauld & Mitchell Ltd., Halifax. Architecture; 43 employees. Lets everyone share in the company’s success with profit sharing and year-end bonuses.
FreshBooks, Toronto. Software publishers; 505 employees. Features a common area, kitchen, library, massage chairs and a wellness room at head office, as well as shower facilities, bike storage and repair facilities for cycle commuters.
GHD Canada Holdings Inc., Waterloo, Ont. Engineering; 1,694 employees. Helps employees plan for the future with retirement planning assistance and matching RSP contributions.
GSoft, Montreal. Computer software; 300 employees. Maintains an unlimited time-off policy and implemented a flexible work policy, enabling eligible employees to work almost anywhere, including outside of Canada, for up to 150 days.
Hatch Ltd., Mississauga. Engineering; 3,653 employees. Launched a Manifesto Driven Workplace Guideline to help employees find better work-life balance and develop individual plans to suit each employee’s needs.
Hershey Canada Inc., Mississauga. Food manufacturing; 851 employees. Manages the SMILE peer recognition program, enabling employees to award redeemable points to colleagues who demonstrate one of the company’s five global behaviours.
Hospital for Sick Children, The, Toronto. Hospitals; 6,129 employees. Offers extensive wellness programming to encourage employees to make healthy choices for their physical, social and mental well-being.
IGM Financial Inc., Winnipeg. Financial services; 3,818 employees. Hosts organization-wide and division-specific employee forums to help keep employees connected.
Imperial Oil Ltd., Calgary. Oil and gas production and distribution; 5,429 employees. Offers generous/full tuition subsidies up to $20K annually, and more than 10,000 in-house and online courses available in various learning styles.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Ottawa. Federal government; 6,160 employees. Helps cultivate the next generation of talent through paid internships, summer student roles and co-op opportunities.
Inter Pipeline Ltd., Calgary. Petroleum transportation, storage and natural gas liquids processing; 1,159 employees. Offers up to 12 paid flex days to help employees balance work and family commitments.
iQmetrix, Vancouver. Computer software; 368 employees. Encourages employees to put their health first with an unlimited paid sick day policy and coverage for mental health services as part of its benefits plan.
Irving Oil, Saint John. Petroleum refining, distribution and retail; 2,586 employees. developed a formal flexible work program that provides employees with the opportunity to develop a hybrid work schedule adapted to their role.
Kellogg Canada Inc., Mississauga. Breakfast cereal manufacturing; 345 employees. Encourages employees to provide their feedback and help select charitable initiatives for support as well as matching financial donations for hours volunteered.
Keurig Dr Pepper Canada, Montreal. Coffee distribution and brewing equipment; 1,445 employees. Lets employees extend maternity leave into an unpaid leave of absence and offers phased-in work options when they return to work.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 9,926 employees. Maintains a Working Parents Network and recently launched a Special Family and Friends Network to support parents of children with special physical, emotional or behavioural needs.
Labatt Brewing Company Ltd., Toronto. Breweries; 3,681 employees. Encourages employees to get involved with community and charitable initiatives with two paid volunteer days off annually as well as a generous matching donations program.
League Inc., Toronto. Computer software; 281 employees. Implemented paid Wellness Days for employees to take one paid day off each quarter to relax and recharge, an unlimited paid time off policy and unlimited coverage for mental health services.
Loblaw Companies Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 31,708 employees. Encourages ongoing employee development through role-specific learning paths, upskilling and re-skilling programs, and a newly launched enterprise-wide learning platform.
L’Oréal Canada Inc., Montreal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,421 employees. Starts most new employees with three weeks of paid vacation and recently increased vacation up to four weeks after just five years of employment.
Manulife, Toronto. Insurance; 11,925 employees. Supports hybrid and work-at-home options, and offers wellness consultant services for workstation set-up assistance, including for home office set-ups.
Mars Canada, Bolton, Ont. Food manufacturing; 1,530 employees. Offers coaching for new caregivers and parents as they return from maternity and parental leave to help them adjust to their new roles.
McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,576 employees. Taps into employee feedback and ideas through the idea+eXchange program, and has successfully implemented more than 110 ideas from employees since the program’s inception.
McElhanney Ltd., Vancouver. Engineering, surveying and mapping; 1,041 employees. Incorporates employee feedback when reviewing its benefits and offers a range of in-house programming to address well-being.
Medavie Inc., Moncton. Medical insurance and health services; 5,855 employees. Encourages a culture of continuous learning with tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current positions.
Medtronic Canada ULC, Brampton, Ont. Electromedical apparatus manufacturing; 701 employees. Provides a monthly internet subsidy of $50 for employees who work remotely or in a hybrid model as well as computer monitors, keyboards and ergonomic chairs.
Mondelēz International, Toronto. Food manufacturing; 2,210 employees. Increased maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents and recently doubled its adoption subsidy for adoptive parents.
Nutrien Inc., Saskatoon. Phosphate, nitrogen and potash fertilizer manufacturing; 5,666 employees. Features an onsite fitness centre, state-of-the-art tech, ergonomic furniture, a dedicated wellness space and a quiet reflection room at its LEED-certified head office.
OpenText Corp., Waterloo, Ont. Software publishers; 2,669 employees. Offers financial benefits ranging from matching RSP contributions, a share purchase plan available to all employees and corporate discounts for home computers and software.
PCL Construction, Edmonton. Commercial, institutional, industrial and civil construction; 2,697 employees. Helps employees plan for life after work with retirement planning assistance along with a defined contribution pension plan.
Penguin Random House Canada Ltd., Toronto. Book publishers; 270 employees. Adapted its wellness benefit during the pandemic to become more holistic, allowing employees to use it for most anything to support overall well-being, including home cleaning and food ordering.
Pomerleau Inc., Montreal. Construction; 2,472 employees. Supports a formal well-being committee focused on both physical and mental health initiatives, including 24-hour access to online health services as part of its health benefits plan.
Procter & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,618 employees. Established a new hybrid work model, called Workways, that helps employees design a hybrid work schedule to fit their roles.
Rio Tinto, Montreal. Mining; 11,512 employees. Maintains hybrid work options for administrative personnel and continues to help subsidize home office set-up with money and through ergonomic consultations.
Ross Video Ltd., Ottawa. Audio and video communications technology; 825 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm with generous new employee referral bonuses, from $500 to $5,000 depending on the position.
Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto. Banking; 60,966 employees. Extended its annual national Employee Giving Campaign worldwide with over 80 per cent of employees contributing to over 9,500 charities in 28 countries.
Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., Mississauga. Communications equipment manufacturing; 625 employees. Increased mental health benefit coverage, adding clinical counselling support as well as introducing wellness initiatives to raise awareness and understanding.
Sanofi Canada, Toronto. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,933 employees. Updated its work from home policies including a range of flexible working arrangements and a one-time allowance to purchase needed home office equipment.
SaskEnergy Incorporated, Regina. Natural gas distribution; 1,120 employees. Adopted a new formal remote work program allowing eligible employees to work from home for up two days per week.
Schneider Electric Canada Inc., Mississauga. Industrial automation and controls; 1,951 employees. Introduced a Recharge Break Program that lets employees purchase up to 12 weeks of extra paid leave time (with costs shared by the company).
Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary. Oil and gas production and distribution; 3,522 employees. Encourages employees to support initiatives in their communities with up to three paid volunteer days along with matching charitable donations for volunteer work.
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Universities; 3,432 employees. Offers employees full tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current position as well as a variety of in-house and online training programs.
Sobeys Inc., Mississauga. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 27,378 employees. Supports ongoing employee development throughout their careers, including paid internships, apprenticeships, mentoring, in-house and online training programs.
Stryker Canada ULC, Waterdown, Ont. Medical equipment and supplies wholesalers; 666 employees. Starts new employees with three weeks of paid vacation and considers previous work experience when setting starting vacation entitlements for senior personnel.
Suncor Energy Inc., Calgary. Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction; 18,379 employees. Enrolls new employees in a defined contribution pension plan, offering a one-time option to switch to a hybrid plan when their age and years of service equal 50.
TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 59,100 employees. Renovated many of its workspaces in preparation for employees returning to onsite work and ensured employees had proper furniture, technology and support for their home offices.
Teck Resources Ltd., Vancouver. Mining; 8,944 employees. Supported hundreds of local, national and international charitable initiatives with an emphasis on health and well-being, inclusion and sustainable livelihoods and environmental stewardship.
Telus Communications Inc., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 25,474 employees. Expanded its suite of virtual care offerings, including virtual health care services, and offers a dedicated expense, up to $1,000, for employees to fund their home offices.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. / TMMC, Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 10,009 employees. Offers a variety of impressive onsite amenities, including a fitness facility, employee lounge, quiet room, outdoor walking trails, baseball and basketball courts, and a community garden.
Université de Montréal, Montreal. Universities; 5,667 employees. Encourages employees to continue their education through an employee tuition waiver program as well as a variety of in-house and online training programs.
University of New Brunswick / UNB, Fredericton. Universities; 1,816 employees. Developed a formal remote work policy that includes hybrid work and fully remote work from home arrangements, plus the use of shared and hotel office space for employees to reserve as needed.
Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Vancouver. Credit Union; 2,423 employees. Encourages employees to leave the car at home through a transit pass program, discounted ride-sharing service and an employee cycling incentive.
Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver. Hospitals; 18,936 employees. Supports employee development throughout their careers, including paid internships and apprenticeships, mentoring, in-house and online training programs, plus subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation.
Verafin Inc., St. John’s. Specialized financial software; 778 employees. Maintains a results-focused work environment, allowing employees to work when and where they are most productive.
Western Financial Group Inc., High River, Alta. Insurance and financial services; 1,931 employees. Surveyed employees and managers to better understand work preferences, and established a formal working committee to oversee its return-to-work plan that offers flexible working options.
West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., Vancouver. Sawmills; 5,880 employees. Designates a portion of its pre-tax profits to charitable and community giving following a “give where we live” approach, with most donation dollars decided with employee feedback.
World Vision Canada, Mississauga. Charitable organizations; 378 employees. Launched new formal WorkAway Guidelines for remote and hybrid work arrangements and adapted the physical office space for onsite work.
Yukon, Government of, Whitehorse. Territorial government; 5,156 employees. Encourages ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies and a new online learning platform that features a variety of mobile-friendly course offerings.
Diane Jermyn is a regular contributor to The Globe & Mail, Report on Business online, Report on Business magazine and other national magazines. Former managing editor of ParentsCanada.
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