Canada's Top Small & Medium
Employers (2017)
Winners from our 4th annual editorial competition
An employee jotting down the weekly results at Inc., one of this year's winners.

About the Competition

Employees at O2E Brands working together on a project at the home services company's Vancouver head office.


Now in its 4th year, Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers is an editorial competition that recognizes the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that offer the nation's best workplaces and forward-thinking human resources policies. Canada's SME sector is tremendously important to the nation and is responsible for: over half of the nation's gross domestic product; over 90% of the private-sector labour force; and over 95% of the new jobs created in the past decade.

Our 2017 winners were announced in a special magazine published in The Globe and Mail on April 25, 2017.

Selection Process

Employers are evaluated by the editors of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers using the same eight criteria as our national competition:

  • (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.

To determine eligibility, the Top 100 editors adopted the SME definition used by Statistics Canada, limiting the competition to private-sector commercial organizations with under 500 employees.

Reflecting on an excellent employer in the glass lamination clean room at AGNORA Inc. in Collingwood, Ont.

Editorial Partner

The Globe and Mail is our editorial partner on the Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers competition. Each year, the competition winners are announced in a special magazine published nationally in The Globe and Mail. Our editors' detailed reasons for selection are published on our job search engine, — click an employer's name below to read why each of this year's winners was chosen. Publishing detailed Reasons for Selection is an important feature of our competition: it provides transparency in the selection of winners and "raises the bar" so that other employers can discover and adopt initiatives that work well at other SMEs. Read the news release issued on April 25, 2017 announcing this year's winners.

Employees at Igloo Software staying connected to the office chatter

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered a "Small or Medium Enterprise", your company must: (a) have less than 500 employees worldwide, including employees at any affiliated companies; and (b) be a commercial, for-profit enterprise, i.e. non-profit organizations don't meet the definition.

2018 Competition

Applications for our 2018 competition will be available early in 2017. Our 2018 winners will be announced in a special magazine in The Globe and Mail early in 2018.

Editorial Conference

To learn more about the competition, we invite you to join us at the Top Employer Summit, our annual editorial conference on the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. This event lets you discover the latest best practices from winners, meet competition organizers and editors, and hear inspiring stories from world-class speakers – all presented in a commercial-free format. The conference is Canada’s largest annual event for senior-level HR professionals.

Relaxing in one of the employee chill-out areas at Toronto-based The Score Inc.
Relaxing in one of the employee chill-out areas at Toronto-based The Score Inc.


You don’t have to be big to be best. Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers 2017 offer competitive benefits that can rival any larger company.

This year’s winning organizations display a wide variety of best practices that you might not have expected to find in private-sector commercial enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.

Typically, these include strong support for ongoing career development, formal mentoring programs, maternity and parental top-up payments, flexible health benefits with wellness spending accounts, plus alternative work options that make personal life easier to balance.

Many also offer share purchase plans and the more daring have progressive initiatives, such as unlimited vacation policies – increasingly popular in this sector.

Additionally, many offer the same perks as the biggest employers. If you want workplace bling, you can find on-site fitness facilities with personal trainers, lunch-time yoga, employee lounges with fresh fruit and gluten-free snacks, popcorn, Popsicles, a beer and wine fridge, or even a full-service kitchen serving breakfast and lunch. Of course, table tennis, foosball and video games are de rigueur, along with the occasional volleyball court and outdoor skating rink.

Beyond the frills, you’re more likely to feel engaged at a smaller workplace where everyone counts and the boss knows your name. There may also be more opportunities to move up, as many are growing at an incredible pace, particularly tech companies, which are evolving from their startup phase. Some report nearly doubling their work force over the past year, so are truly the nation’s job makers.

Whether you’re a skilled millennial looking for the right fit or a new business looking at how to step up your game, it’s worth taking a look at what Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers 2017 are doing.

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2017 Winners

Here are the 2017 winners of the Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers competition. Click an employer name to read our editors' full Reasons for Selection:
Rocky Mountaineer employees seeing off another passenger train through the Rockies in Banff, Alberta.

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