Ten of the top employers in Canada

Choosing the right employer that both challenges and cares for its workers can be as difficult as finding the right person for the job. We all have our personal set of standards and so too do companies; finding a soft footing where both the employee and employer are happy isn’t any easy task.

For nearly 20 years, Canada’s Top 100 Employers Competition awards top companies in Canada that are leading their industries in offering exceptional workplaces for their employees. Companies submit a “substantial package” that includes a number of details on their health and financial benefits, training programs, family-friendly policies, time-off policies, and so on. An employer is eligible to enter the national competition as long as its head office or prominent place of operation is in Canada (size does not matter). This year over 90,000 employers were surveyed with approximately 7,500 of them asked to submit applications by Mediacorp, the nation’s largest publisher of employment periodicals.

“Over the course of the summer we extract a number of the data points that are included in the application and input them into a proprietary database,” says Kristina Leung, senior editor at Mediacorp. “We then sort this large spreadsheet of data by industry, by region, by size of employees, all to ensure that we are comparing organizations that are similar to each other – banks to banks, hospitals to hospitals, for example.”

Then comes the laser assessments, where Mediacorp editors evaluate and grade employers on eight factors: Physical Workplace, Workplace Atmosphere and Social, Health, Financial and Family Benefits, Vacation and Time-Off, Employee Communications, Performance Management, Training and Skills Development and Community Involvement. From there it becomes “very clear to see what organizations are offering and where some of the gaps exist,” says Leung. It allows companies that are really servicing their employees well (i.e. benefits) to stand out.

Leung, who has been working on the annual project for nearly seven years, says that every year there is a little progression seen by organizations that want to offer better benefits to their employees. She points to “maternity leave top-ups” as one area that has seen improvement. Leung says there’s not one recipe a company needs to employ in order to make the ‘Top 100’ list, but a mixture of ingredients.

“For us it’s the whole package, it’s about which organizations are investing in their people, and that entails health plans, preparing employees for the long term, for family support–there’s a whole host of things and it really depends on what industries they’re in,” says Leung.

“We are seeing many organizations take advantage of the tools now available that enable employees to have flexibility and perhaps to have more work times that better suit them. It’s about looking at when employees will be most productive” and how companies will foster change.

Leung says communications, feedback and providing recognition are all central to the success and well-being of a organization’s workforce, especially for organizations that have several sites across the country. Now that it’s easier to connect digitally, employers continue to embrace technology, which leads to interesting developments in their work catalogue and redefines what work means and how work actually gets done. It’s these HR practices and perks that set organizations apart.

One of the ‘Top 100’ entries, Rogers Communications, is among the companies changing their physical environment, providing spaces for employees that aren’t necessarily in everyday (a.k.a. no assigned seating). Leung says this is an example of how “employers are changing the physical side of work and what the workplace looks like now.”

This year a total of 16 new names were added to the 2018 roster, including Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Alberta Health Services and ACL Services. As mentioned, size doesn’t matter — MSF has just over 250 employees while Alberta Health Services employs nearly 46,000.

For the full list head here.

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<p>Founded: 1919<br>Executive Chairman: Galen G. Weston<br>Headquarters: Brampton, ON<br>No. of employees: 135,000 (2012)<br>Perks: Numerous communication and feedback tools such as ‘Let’s Talk’ sessions and the ‘Ask Galen’ link. The Colleague Discount Program gives 10 per cent off certain products purchased in corporate stores. Loblaw Optical benefits, online WorkPerks program which see over 800 products and services discounted. Over $146 million has been granted to children’s charities since 1989.<br>Grading: A+ (Physical Workplace), A+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), A (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B- (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development, A+ (Community Involvement) </p>
Loblaw Companies Limited

Founded: 1919
Executive Chairman: Galen G. Weston
Headquarters: Brampton, ON
No. of employees: 135,000 (2012)
Perks: Numerous communication and feedback tools such as ‘Let’s Talk’ sessions and the ‘Ask Galen’ link. The Colleague Discount Program gives 10 per cent off certain products purchased in corporate stores. Loblaw Optical benefits, online WorkPerks program which see over 800 products and services discounted. Over $146 million has been granted to children’s charities since 1989.
Grading: A+ (Physical Workplace), A+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), A (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B- (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development, A+ (Community Involvement)

<p>Founded: 1968<br>CEO: Richard Gelfond<br>Headquarters: Mississauga, ON<br>No. of employees: N/D<br>Perks: The workplace features its own IMAX theatre where employees can invite friends and family to. Barrier-free washrooms, shower facilities, weekly yoga, a couple of bicycles that employees can use during the work day. A lot of social events are offered for employees, and there’s not age limit on the company’s health benefits.<br>Grading: B+ (Physical Workplace), A (Work Atmosphere & Communications), B+ (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B+ (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), B+ (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement) </p>
IMAX Corporation

Founded: 1968
CEO: Richard Gelfond
Headquarters: Mississauga, ON
No. of employees: N/D
Perks: The workplace features its own IMAX theatre where employees can invite friends and family to. Barrier-free washrooms, shower facilities, weekly yoga, a couple of bicycles that employees can use during the work day. A lot of social events are offered for employees, and there’s not age limit on the company’s health benefits.
Grading: B+ (Physical Workplace), A (Work Atmosphere & Communications), B+ (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B+ (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), B+ (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement)

<p>Founded: 1922<br>CEO: Stephen G. Wetmore<br>Headquarters: Toronto, ON<br>No. of employees: 58,000+ <br>Perks: Workers can enjoy the ‘Hub’ lounge area where they can watch television and socialize. Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Charities has helped over 1.3 million kids “get in the game.” Profit-sharing plan, savings/RSP plan, discounts on store purchases and preferred credit card rates. <br>Grading: A (Physical Workplace), A+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), A+ (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement) </p>
Canadian Tire Corporation Limited

Founded: 1922
CEO: Stephen G. Wetmore
Headquarters: Toronto, ON
No. of employees: 58,000+
Perks: Workers can enjoy the ‘Hub’ lounge area where they can watch television and socialize. Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Charities has helped over 1.3 million kids “get in the game.” Profit-sharing plan, savings/RSP plan, discounts on store purchases and preferred credit card rates.
Grading: A (Physical Workplace), A+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), A+ (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement)

<p>Founded: 2003<br>CEO: Jamie King<br>Headquarters: St. John’s, NL<br>No. of employees: N/D <br>Perks: New mothers and fathers receive maternity and parental leave top-up payments (up to 75 per cent of salary for 52 weeks). Vitro fertilization subsidy is offered when needed (up to $5,000). Subsidized gym membership ($2,000 annually), open concept pod-seating, Skype stations, stocked kitchen, “happy hour” Fridays. <br>Grading: B+ (Physical Workplace), A+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), B+ (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), A+ (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), B+ (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development), A (Community Involvement)<br>Verafin / verafin.com </p>
Verafin Inc.

Founded: 2003
CEO: Jamie King
Headquarters: St. John’s, NL
No. of employees: N/D
Perks: New mothers and fathers receive maternity and parental leave top-up payments (up to 75 per cent of salary for 52 weeks). Vitro fertilization subsidy is offered when needed (up to $5,000). Subsidized gym membership ($2,000 annually), open concept pod-seating, Skype stations, stocked kitchen, “happy hour” Fridays.
Grading: B+ (Physical Workplace), A+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), B+ (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), A+ (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), B+ (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development), A (Community Involvement)
Verafin / verafin.com

<p>Founded: 1985<br>Founders/CEOs: Arran and Ratana Stephens<br>Headquarters: Richmond, BC<br>No. of employees: N/D <br>Perks: Annual health and wellness week that features massages, yoga, holistic nutritionists and biometric screenings. Wellness subsidy (for home fitness equipment or outside fitness), profit-sharing with matching RSP contributions, “Gardens for Good” initiative, “EnvrioKidz 1% for the Planet” program,”and the company offers an onsite organic garden for employees to enjoy. <br>Grading: A (Physical Workplace), A+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), B (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), B+ (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement)<br>Nature’s Path Foods / Facebook </p>
Nature’s Path Foods

Founded: 1985
Founders/CEOs: Arran and Ratana Stephens
Headquarters: Richmond, BC
No. of employees: N/D
Perks: Annual health and wellness week that features massages, yoga, holistic nutritionists and biometric screenings. Wellness subsidy (for home fitness equipment or outside fitness), profit-sharing with matching RSP contributions, “Gardens for Good” initiative, “EnvrioKidz 1% for the Planet” program,”and the company offers an onsite organic garden for employees to enjoy.
Grading: A (Physical Workplace), A+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), B (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), B+ (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement)
Nature’s Path Foods / Facebook

<p>Founded: 1900<br>CEO: Guy Cormier<br>Headquarters:Lévis QC<br>No. of employees: 45,000+<br>Perks: Benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance (phased-in retirement work options when approaching retirement), reitrees continue to receive health benefits (no age limit). Indoor art collection, outdoor rest areas, top-up payments for new mothers (95 per cent of salary for 18 weeks), parental leave top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents (95 per cent for 12 weeks). <br>Grading: A (Physical Workplace), B+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), A (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B+ (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement)<br>(Mouvement Desjardins / Facebook) </p>
Desjardins Group / Mouvement des caisses Desjardins

Founded: 1900
CEO: Guy Cormier
Headquarters:Lévis QC
No. of employees: 45,000+
Perks: Benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance (phased-in retirement work options when approaching retirement), reitrees continue to receive health benefits (no age limit). Indoor art collection, outdoor rest areas, top-up payments for new mothers (95 per cent of salary for 18 weeks), parental leave top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents (95 per cent for 12 weeks).
Grading: A (Physical Workplace), B+ (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), A (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B+ (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement)
(Mouvement Desjardins / Facebook)

<p>Founded: 1936<br>CEO: Calin Rovinescu<br>Headquarters: Saint-Laurent, QC<br>No. of employees: 42,000<br>Perks: Duty-free store discounts, personal shipping discounts through Air Canada Cargo, air travel discounts (which extend to family members), tuition subsidies, Air Canada University (in-house training for airline crews), flight simulation training for pilots, and a 7-storey head office with a fitness facility and outdoor terrace. <br>Grading: A (Physical Workplace), B (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), C (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), B+ (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement) </p>
Air Canada

Founded: 1936
CEO: Calin Rovinescu
Headquarters: Saint-Laurent, QC
No. of employees: 42,000
Perks: Duty-free store discounts, personal shipping discounts through Air Canada Cargo, air travel discounts (which extend to family members), tuition subsidies, Air Canada University (in-house training for airline crews), flight simulation training for pilots, and a 7-storey head office with a fitness facility and outdoor terrace.
Grading: A (Physical Workplace), B (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), C (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), B+ (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement)

<p>Founded: 1960<br>CEO: Joe Natale (appointed in 2017)<br>Headquarters: Toronto, ON<br>No. of employees: 25,000 (2013)<br>Perks: More collaborative workspaces (Sharespace) that also offer quiet zones. Students can receive tuition subsidies for courses taken both outside of the company and through the company’s ‘My Development Hub’. <br>Grading: A+ (Physical Workplace), A (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B- (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement)<br>REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA – Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS LOGO MEDIA) </p>
Rogers Communications Inc.

Founded: 1960
CEO: Joe Natale (appointed in 2017)
Headquarters: Toronto, ON
No. of employees: 25,000 (2013)
Perks: More collaborative workspaces (Sharespace) that also offer quiet zones. Students can receive tuition subsidies for courses taken both outside of the company and through the company’s ‘My Development Hub’.
Grading: A+ (Physical Workplace), A (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B+ (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B- (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), A (Employee Engagement & Performance), A (Training & Skills Development), A+ (Community Involvement)
REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA – Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS LOGO MEDIA)

<p>Founded: 1996<br>CEO: Neil R. Wilson<br>Headquarters: Ottawa, ON<br>No. of employees: over 4,600<br>Perks: Employees receive a ‘health spending account’ of up to $750 per year, tuition subsidies for courses that relate to job, in-house apprenticeship programs. The company sets aside $130,000 for charitable donations (as per employees requests) and $250,000 to support initiatives across the country. <br>Grading: A (Physical Workplace), A (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), B (Employee Engagement & Performance), B+ (Training & Skills Development), A (Community Involvement)<br>@navcanada/Twitter </p>
NAV CANDA

Founded: 1996
CEO: Neil R. Wilson
Headquarters: Ottawa, ON
No. of employees: over 4,600
Perks: Employees receive a ‘health spending account’ of up to $750 per year, tuition subsidies for courses that relate to job, in-house apprenticeship programs. The company sets aside $130,000 for charitable donations (as per employees requests) and $250,000 to support initiatives across the country.
Grading: A (Physical Workplace), A (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), B (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), B (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), B (Employee Engagement & Performance), B+ (Training & Skills Development), A (Community Involvement)
@navcanada/Twitter

<p>Founded:1948<br>CEO: Barry McLellan<br>Headquarters: Toronto, ON<br>No. of employees: N/D<br>Perks: Benefit pension plan, reitrement planning assistance, phased-in work options (to ease employee transition), top-up payments and subsidy for new mothers (up to $15,000 for vitro fertilization when needed), top-up for new fathers/adoptive parents, onsite daycare, “A World of Thanks” initiative, employee recognition program. <br>Grading: A+ (Physical Workplace), A (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), A (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), A (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), B (Employee Engagement & Performance), B (Training & Skills Development), A (Community Involvement)<br><br><br>Sunnybrook Hospital Health Services Centre /<br> Instagram @sunnybrookhsc </p>
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Founded:1948
CEO: Barry McLellan
Headquarters: Toronto, ON
No. of employees: N/D
Perks: Benefit pension plan, reitrement planning assistance, phased-in work options (to ease employee transition), top-up payments and subsidy for new mothers (up to $15,000 for vitro fertilization when needed), top-up for new fathers/adoptive parents, onsite daycare, “A World of Thanks” initiative, employee recognition program.
Grading: A+ (Physical Workplace), A (Work Atmosphere & Communications), A (Financial Benefits & Compensation), A (Health & Family-Friendly Benefits), A (Vacation & Personal Time-Off), B (Employee Engagement & Performance), B (Training & Skills Development), A (Community Involvement)


Sunnybrook Hospital Health Services Centre /
Instagram @sunnybrookhsc

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