Canada's Top 100
Employers (2020)
Winners from our 20th annual editorial competition
About
Peering behind the curtain at the House of Commons, one of this year's winners

About the Competition


Employees from TD Bank Group sharing a lighter moment outside the bank's iconic head office in downtown Toronto

Background

Now celebrating its 20th year, the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project is a national competition to determine which employers lead their industries in offering exceptional workplaces for Canada's Top 100 Employers their employees. Our 2020 winners were announced on November 22, 2019 in a special magazine published in The Globe and Mail.


Employees at the Burnaby, B.C. head office of Best Buy Canada Ltd.

Selection Process

Employers are evaluated by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers using eight criteria, which have remained consistent since the project’s inception: (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. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.

Editorial Partner

Each fall, the winners are announced in a special feature published in The Globe and Mail. For our detailed Reasons for Selection, please review the full list of winners below. Publishing detailed Reasons for Selection is a distinguishing 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 elsewhere.


Taking a moment to brainstorm in beautiful surroundings at the recently built Shopify office in downtown Toronto

Eligibility Requirements

Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply for our national competition. Employers of any size may apply, whether private or public sector.

2021 Competition

Applications for our 2021 competition will be available early in 2020. Our 2021 winners will be announced in The Globe and Mail in the fall of 2020. Join our mailing list to stay up to date and receive an application for next year's competition:

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. This year’s conference takes place on Nov. 25-26, 2019 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto and includes a special performance by Coeur de Pirate, one of the best-known musicians in the French-speaking world.

Employees at one of the Montreal offices of Bell Canada work in a variety of comfortable spaces
Employees at one of the Montreal offices of Bell Canada work in a variety of comfortable spaces

Introduction


Who are Canada's Top 100 Employers?

Quite simply, they are the best that set the standard for doing business in Canada. They have built exceptional organizations where best practices are the norm, where progressive and innovative programs push the boundaries to make the workplace better for their people. For instance, Export Development Canada in Ottawa features a new wellness program offering staff free confidential health screenings and Vancouver-based Telus Corp. is piloting an emotional support app enabling employees to connect with trained professionals 24/7. Top employers treat their employees well.

All 100 invest in their employees' individual growth by offering opportunities for career development with in-house training and support for ongoing learning. For many employers, this extends to tuition subsidies at outside institutions, such as Verafin Inc. in St. John's that offers grants for courses both related and unrelated to an employee's current role.

Why does this competition matter?

Through example, the leading 100 encourage other Canadian organizations to continually evolve in their day-to-day operations. Contestants are judged to a high standard in multiple categories against peers in their own industry. Increasingly, that higher standard is what millennials and Gen Z already expect from employers. It's not enough to pay lip service to diversity, community involvement and work-life balance. You must be authentic. Especially, with the growing awareness of environmental concerns, there is a demand that organizations mitigate the impact of their business as well. Younger workers want an employer that goes beyond the required minimums.

Why enter Canada's Top 100 Employers?

Certainly, winning enhances an employer's public reputation and attracts investors. The competition is also invaluable as a recruiting tool for top talent in a tightening market. Discerning job seekers will seek out your organization as a place where they can launch and secure a career, not just land a job. The time and effort involved offer huge rewards.

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2020 Winners

Here are the 2020 winners of the Canada's Top 100 Employers competition. Click an employer name to read our editors' full Reasons for Selection:
Employees at the new $100 million Cisco Systems Canada Global Innovation Centre in Toronto
Employees at the new $100 million Cisco Systems Canada Global Innovation Centre in Toronto

A Stunning Transformation

This 20th edition of Canada's Top 100 Employers highlights how much has changed in the workplace over two decades.

If you recently came into the workplace as a young recruit at one of Canada's Top 100 Employers, you're probably very familiar with such phrases as "bring your whole self to work" and "employee wellness" and "parental leave top-ups".

You may even think these ideas have been around forever. But in that case, ask some of your older colleagues when they first heard those words. Almost surely, they will talk about some point in the last 20 years.

So much has changed in employment practices in the last two decades that a staffer from the year 2000 might only barely recognize the workplace of today. But she or he would definitely like it better.

All of these trends have been faithfully charted in the annual Canada's Top 100 Employers list, which was first published in 2000. This is the 20th edition in the series, a cause for celebration and for looking forward.

"The amount of change is truly stunning," says Richard Yerema, who has served as managing editor of the Mediacorp Canada project since that first issue. "If I were to review an employer today from 20 years ago, I would probably be asking, why are there so many holes in their data set? Why is this applicant missing so many policies?"

Yerema says that over the years, incrementally, Canadians have seen the workplace transformed as employers have adapted to changes in society to ensure they can attract a continuing flow of top talent. "Look at the evolution in how we work," he says. "When we used to write about working at home, that was a novelty – we called it telecommuting. Now you have the flexibility to work wherever you happen to be sitting.

That has changed many professions and how people function and even think about work – the interconnectedness of our jobs and how they integrate with our lives."

Or take vacation time. "When we started, a lot of employers would have two weeks minimum to start," he says. "That's now unheard of among the annual winners." Today's table stakes are easily three weeks to start, with some employers offering four weeks – or even no limit.

Perhaps most dramatic has been the evolution in family friendly policies. "In the early editions, we would write about a six-month maternity leave for a new mom, and top-up was an almost unknown concept," says Yerema. "Now we see generous maternity and parental leave policies that extend to new dads and adoptive parents. Some of the top-ups provide 90 per cent of salary for 52 weeks."

Yerema says the progressive family policies have contributed to the continuing rise in the number of women in the workplace. "Twenty years ago, it was almost a penalty if you were going to decide to raise a family and have a career," he notes. At the same time, top employers have supported a wide range of measures to boost the proportion of women in senior positions, from specialized leadership training to employee resource groups.

In fact, the spread of ERGs – internal networking groups based on a common identity or interest – has helped advance the enlightened diversity and inclusion policies that now are embedded in every Top Employer. The visibility and strong support of LGBTQ+ people has blossomed in recent years, particularly as organizations embraced the inclusive idea of "bring your whole self to work".

Workplaces themselves are changing as well, with open, collaborative spaces, often a lot of light, and all those wellness programs, from in-house yoga to personal counselling.

Today, many employers say they use Canada's Top 100 Employers to benchmark what they need to offer to compete for the best people. "Through this project you can actually see what the best vacation policies are, what the best parental leave policies are, and how they're changing," says Yerema. "We have witnessed employers discovering where they could improve, making changes, and becoming part of the list themselves."

And, of course, the list – and its coveted logo – has been a critical tool for Canadian job-seekers for two decades. "Whether you're starting out or looking for a change," says Yerema, "this has always been the place to get a detailed look inside the best employers across Canada, see where you're likely to fit in and perhaps find a spot to spend your career."

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