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Leading employers take aim at the future: winners of the 2011 Canada's Top 100 Employers competition

By Workplace Staff
| www.cos-mag.com

Amidst daily news of Canada's modest economic growth, there is a remarkable group of far-sighted employers that are offering lessons to other Canadian employers in creating exceptional places to work.

These forward-thinking employers are treating the current economic slowdown as a rare opportunity to strengthen their organizations and pull ahead of others in their industries – and nowhere is this better illustrated than in today's release of the 2011 winners of the Canada's Top 100 Employers competition by Mediacorp Canada Inc.

"This is one of those moments when experience makes a difference," says Richard Yerema, managing editor of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. "The decisions that employers make during times like these will affect their organizations for years to come, because challenging economic times also present many subtle opportunities for progress." After a decade of writing about the nation's top employers, Yerema adds, "today we see a calmness and desire to stay-the-course towards building better workplaces by the nation's best employers."

For far-sighted employers, the benefits of being considered one of the nation's best places to work are considerable. "The elephant in the room is Canada's changing demographic composition," says Mediacorp publisher Tony Meehan. "Even with modest economic growth, it will soon be nearly impossible to replace Canada's current workforce, given current rates of immigration and labour force entry. Forward-thinking employers are seizing this opportunity to prepare for the day when not all organizations will be able attract the key people they need."

Now entering its 12th year, the Canada's Top 100 Employers competition is an editorial project organized by Mediacorp Canada Inc., a specialty publisher of employment guides and periodicals. To develop this year's list, Mediacorp editors examined the recruitment histories of over 75,000 employers across Canada that it tracks for its popular job search site, Eluta.ca. From this initial group, Mediacorp invited 10,000 of the fastest-growing employers to apply, plus another 2,500 companies and organizations in industries its editors wanted to examine more closely. Employers completed an extensive application process that included a detailed review of their operations and HR practices. Over 2,750 employers started this year's application process.

"Despite challenging economic times, we've seen strong interest by employers in maintaining and improving their working conditions for employees," says Yerema. "Many of this year's winners have learned from past economic slowdowns that you can do lasting damage to an organization by scaling back on benefits that are important to employees."

The Canada's Top 100 Employers project is unique in that its editors publish detailed reasons explaining why each winner is selected, providing transparency and guidance for job-seekers and employers. These reasons are published exclusively on Eluta.ca, where they can be read free of charge. Each winner is graded by Mediacorp editors on 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. These criteria have remained consistent since the project's inception in 1999.

OPS named one of Canada’s top 100 employers

For the third year in a row, the Ontario Public Service (OPS) has the prestigious honour of being named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.

Some of the reasons why the Ontario Public Service was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2010 include:

  • helps employees prepare for retirement with phased-in retirement options, a defined benefit pension plan as well as a health plan that extend into retirement, with no age limit
  • offers employees excellent opportunities for career advancement and specialization through an incredible range of career fields
  • provides maternity leave top-up benefits for new mothers (to 93% for 32 weeks) and for new fathers (to 93% for 17 weeks), including adoptive parents
  • offers a number of new internship and training programs to recruit new graduates and young professionals into the civil service
  • provides three weeks of paid vacation for new employees, working up to six weeks of paid vacation for long-serving employees

In addition to being recognized for the third consecutive year as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, for the third year in a row, the OPS has been selected as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, for the second consecutive year, the OPS has been named one of the Top Employers for Canadians Over 40 and for the first time, the OPS has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2010.

The OPS has jobs for diverse, talented people with the right qualifications and the right fit, at every stage in their careers.

The Ontario Public Service (OPS) is one of the largest employers in the province, employing more than 60,000 people.

Working from over 1,800 locations across the province, OPS employees come from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds, including, biologists and lawyers, policy analysts and advisors, social workers and nurses, mechanics and systems analysts, editors, conservation officers and translators, auditors and economists, urban planners and forest firefighters…and more.

Loblaw has been named for second year

The grad@loblaw program, which offers college and university grads a full-time position and the opportunity to gain a strong foundation in the grocery retail business, helped Loblaw to earn its place on Canada’s Top 100 Employers list – proving that Loblaw is a great place to work right from the get go. (See separate story for more on the program.)

At the heart of the grad@Loblaw program is the company’s commitment to recognizing the fresh perspectives that recent graduates often bring to their jobs while creating a dynamic environment that offers mentorship and experiences to nurture their talent and skill set.

Loblaw is on a mission to find more of Canada’s best and brightest graduates and help them build a rewarding career in retail and they are currently accepting applications for the grad@loblaw program.

BCLC recognized among Top 100 employers in Canada

For the second year in a row British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has been officially recognized as one of the Top 100 Employers in Canada for 2011.

Along with continuous learning and professional growth opportunities, BCLC employees are encouraged to contribute to their communities through investing their time and support to charitable organizations and through volunteering. BCLC also has a training and skills development programs specifically designed to meet the needs of the dynamic organization.

BCLC employs almost 900 people at its offices in Kamloops and Richmond, with field staff stationed throughout the province. The average age of the workforce is 41.

In addition to being named to the Top 100 in Canada, BCLC received top provincial honours for the fifth year in a row, and recognition as a Top Employer for Canadians over 40.

BCLC is a provincial Crown Corporation that offers socially responsible gaming entertainment while generating income that benefits all British Columbians.

For the full list of the 2011 winners, and the detailed reasons for selection explaining why each employer was chosen, please visit www.CanadasTop100.com/national.

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