By Diane Jermyn
Wellness accounts. Nap rooms. Snack rooms. Reading nooks. Bring your dog to work. Tuition subsidies for courses completely unrelated to the job. Paid volunteer days. Personal days. Telecommuting. Flexible hours. No set hours. No limit vacation. Yoga at noon.
When it comes to progressive HR initiatives and ground-breaking workplace policies, Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers 2020 aren’t afraid to lead with the bold or unconventional. These employers understand how people want to live and work in 2020. They get that work-life balance matters. That wellness matters. That community matters.
They can also compete with bigger organizations on traditional perks such as flexible health plans, matching RSP contributions and family-friendly benefits, often pushing the boundaries as InvestorCOM in Brantford, Ont. has with equalized maternity and parental leave top-up. It’s not surprising that Canada’s Top SMEs 2020 are among the fastest-growing employers, able to attract the best and brightest.
For their size, small and medium employers have a mighty impact on the economy. Canada’s SME sector is responsible for more than 95 per cent of new jobs in Canada over the past decade. An outstanding example is Toronto tech firm Kira Inc. that added over 50 full-time employees last year, a year-over-year increase of over 115 per cent.
Some of the most innovative ideas emerging from the competition include “No Meetings Wednesdays” at Left Technologies Inc. in Maple Ridge, B.C., ensuring that everyone can work at home at least one day per week. Left also introduced a formal “Digital Nomad Philosophy” to help guide employees who want to travel the world and simultaneously telecommute. Another unique initiative comes from TSM/Talk Shop Media Inc. in Vancouver. The company reinvests four per cent of its annual profit into employee co-founded businesses. Staff members can pitch their ideas for possible funding while keeping their full-time job.
Read on to be inspired.
Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers is an editorial competition that recognizes exceptional small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Canada. The competition is limited to private-sector commercial organizations with less than 500 employees worldwide. Non-profit organizations are not eligible.
Employers are evaluated by the editors at Canada’s Top 100 Employers using the same criteria as the Top 100 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.
The editors compare employers to other organizations in their field to determine which ones offer the best workplaces and forward-thinking human resource policies. Whether an employer has positive employment growth is also a factor in determining the winners. As well, the unique initiatives of each employer are taken into account.
CANADA’S TOP SME EMPLOYERS 2020
2Keys Corp., Ottawa. Cybersecurity software; 81 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the company with new employee referral bonuses.
Absorb Software Inc., Calgary. Learning management systems; 173 employees. Features a video games room with stadium seating for up to 16 individuals.
Artis REIT, Winnipeg. Real estate investment trust; 178 employees. Lets employees share in the company’s financial success with year-end bonuses and a profit-sharing plan.
Bellin Treasury Services Ltd., Vancouver. Custom computer programming; 27 employees. Encourages employees to save with generous matching RSP contributions.
Bits In Glass Inc., Edmonton. Computer systems design; 77 employees. Offers in-house and online training, formal mentoring and subsidies for professional accreditations and for courses at academic institutions.
Broadsign Canada Co., Montreal. Computer systems design; 175 employees. Provides an employee lounge complete with video games, television, foosball, table hockey and a beer tap.
Burgundy Asset Management Ltd., Toronto. Portfolio management; 156 employees. Encourages employees to get involved with charitable initiatives in their community with paid volunteer time and generous matching financial donations.
Carebook Technologies Inc., Montreal. Specialized computer software; 29 employees. Employees can share in the company’s success through a share purchase plan.
CBCL Ltd., Halifax. Engineering; 294 employees. Helps the next generation gain career-level experience through co-op placements and summer employment opportunities.
CHES Special Risk Inc., Toronto. Specialized insurance; 25 employees. Helps employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance services and matching RSP contributions.
Clio, Burnaby, B.C. Computer software; 330 employees. Introduced a responsible sick time model to replace its previous personal days off program, providing staff with unlimited discretionary time.
Connected, Toronto. Software developer; 145 employees. Increased its maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new moms as well as for fathers and adoptive parents.
Copperleaf Technologies Inc., Vancouver. Specialized computer software; 173 employees. Offers free access to an onsite shared-use fitness facility, complete with roller hockey, volleyball and instructor-led classes such as Zumba.
Cority Software Inc., Toronto. Software developer; 203 employees. Offers flexible work options, including telecommuting, flexible hours, reduced summer hours and compressed workweeks.
Cowell Motors Ltd., Richmond, B.C. New car dealerships; 317 employees. Offers employees discounts on automobile purchases and maintenance.
Crombie REIT, New Glasgow, N.S. Property management and development; 269 employees. Supports employees with a pet-friendly policy that lets them bring their dog to work when needed.
CrowdRiff Inc., Toronto. Software developer; 80 employees. Encourages ongoing education with tuition subsidies for courses at outside academic institutions.
Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 286 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm
s with generous new employee referral bonuses.
Distributel Communications Ltd., Etobicoke, Ont. Telecommunications; 299 employees. Offers phased-in retirement work options for those employees nearing retirement.
Diva International Inc., Kitchener. Personal hygiene products; 34 employees. Provides financial support and product donation to a number of organizations working to address the lack of access to sanitary products and menstrual hygiene.
Drake Hotel Properties, Toronto. Hotels and restaurants; 126 employees. Helps employees keep their skills sharp with tuition subsidies for job-related courses as well as subsidies for professional accreditation.
East Side Games, Vancouver. Software publishers; 102 employees. Supports new moms with maternity leave top-up payments and extends parental leave top-up
s to new dads and adoptive parents.
eSentire Inc., Waterloo. Cybersecurity; 307 employees. Hosts an annual wellness fair as well as onsite massage therapy and yoga classes.
ExperiencePoint Inc., Toronto. Human resources consulting; 59 employees. Encourages employees to get involved in their community with paid volunteer time and matching charitable donations.
Fiix, Toronto. Software developer; 122 employees. Encourages ongoing learning through tuition subsidies for courses related to their current position, to $2,000 annually.
FinancialCAD Corp. / FINCAD, Surrey, B.C. Computer software; 82 employees. Offers employees the opportunity to apply for an unpaid leave of absence with the length set on a case-by-case basis.
First Capital, Toronto. Real estate development and management; 370 employees. Offers in-house and online training initiatives as well as tuition subsidies for courses at outside academic institutions.
Flaman Sales Ltd., Saskatoon. Retail, farm machinery, equipment and home fitness; 388 employees. Features an outdoor pond with trout fishing in the summer and skating in the winter at its head office.
Fresche Solutions Inc., Montreal. Computer system design; 198 employees. Provides a variety of daily snacks with weekly delivered fresh fruit, cakes, donuts and cookies.
FreshBooks, Toronto. Software publishers; 303 employees. Has a pet-friendly policy that welcomes employees’ four-legged family members at the office.
Fuller Landau LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 125 employees. Recognizes exceptional performance and achievement through a number of initiatives, such as its unique Longevity Awards.
Fundserv Inc., Toronto. Financial transaction processing; 101 employees. Offers new employees three weeks of starting vacation as well as three paid personal days off each year.
Galvanize, Vancouver. Custom computer programming; 284 employees. Keeps employees informed through a variety of initiatives, from intimate lunch gatherings for small groups to its new series of snack and learns.
Great Little Box Company Ltd., Richmond, B.C. Box manufacturing; 287 employees. Celebrates the achievement of its annual profitability target by sending all employees on an all-expenses-paid vacation to a sunny destination.
Groundswell Cloud Solutions Inc., Vancouver. Cloud-based software services; 48 employees. Offers a variety of social events, organized by its employee social committee, from a monthly book club to sports teams.
Harbour Air Group, Richmond, B.C. Airline; 298 employees. Operates a unique revenue share program that includes distribution of one per cent of its annual revenue to employees.
Harvard Developments Inc., Regina. Commercial real estate management and development; 193 employees. Manages a generous academic scholarship program for employees’ children.
Henriquez Partners Architects Ltd., Vancouver. Architecture and urban planning; 79 employees. Supports ongoing employee development with full tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current position.
Humania Assurance Inc., Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. Insurance; 178 employees. Offers a generous health spending account that lets employees tailor their health coverages to suit their needs.
Integrated Sustainability Consultants Ltd., Calgary. Environmental consulting; 85 employees. Offers an ‘earned days off’ program that lets employees work an extra hour each day and earn up to two days off every month.
InvestorCOM, Brantford, Ont. Computer software; 87 employees. Supports its new moms and dads with equalized maternity and parental leave top-up payments.
iQmetrix, Vancouver. Computer software; 382 employees. Encourages employees to adopt an ownership culture with a share purchase plan that is open to all employees.
Jacob Bros Construction Inc., Surrey, B.C. Construction; 222 employees. Encourages employees to keep fit with free access to an onsite fitness facility, which features exercise equipment and personal trainer services.
Johnston Group Inc., Winnipeg. Insurance and group benefits; 274 employees. Supports a wellness committee to manage its charitable donations program that is directed towards community-building initiatives.
Keystone Environmental Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Environmental consulting; 95 employees. Offers a matching RSP program
and as well as a generous year-end bonus program.
Kira Inc., Toronto. Software publisher; 110 employees. Is part of a growing number of small and medium-sized employers that has adopted a no-limit vacation policy.
Larochelle Groupe Conseil Inc., Montreal. Information technology consulting; 124 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current position.
Left Technologies Inc., Maple Ridge, B.C. Software development; 45 employees. Manages a ‘No Meetings Wednesdays’ policy to ensure all employees have the opportunity to work at home at least one day per week.
Litwiniuk & Co., Calgary. Law firm; 66 employees. Moved its vacation and personal time-off policy to an unlimited vacation for all employees.
LPI Mechanical Inc., Brampton, Ont. Commercial and industrial HVAC services; 140 employees. Provides up to two paid volunteer days off annually along with matching charitable donations.
MERAK Systems Corp., Guelph, Ont. Custom computer programming; 20 employees. Offers a variety of flexible work options, including flexible hours, compressed workweeks and telecommuting.
Messagepoint Inc., Toronto. Communications management software; 67 employees. Recognizes exceptional performance with two Above and Beyond awards as well as peer-to-peer recognition and on-the-spots awards.
MetOcean Telematics Ltd., Dartmouth, N.S. Measuring and controlling device manufacturing; 85 employees. Encourages employees to support community initiatives with paid volunteer time off.
Mission Group Enterprises Ltd., Kelowna, B.C. Housing construction; 55 employees. Offers employees an unlimited vacation policy along with a paid holiday shutdown period.
Nakisa Inc., Montreal. Computer systems design; 135 employees. Offers a comfortable employee lounge, complete with foosball, a pool table, video games and movies.
NetGovern Inc., Montreal. Information technology services; 46 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm with employee referral bonuses for successful new hires.
Nicola Wealth Management Ltd., Vancouver. Investment management; 177 employees. Supports an in-house Nicola Gives Back Committee that works to create a philanthropic culture.
Noseworthy Chapman Chartered Professional Accountants, St. John’s. Accounting; 55 employees. Introduced a unique annual paid leave policy to redefine and bundle paid vacation, sick and personal leave time.
Nulogy Corp., Toronto. Computer software; 138 employees. Provides paid volunteer time for employees and supports charitable causes that are connected to employees’ personal interests.
Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP / s.r.l., Ottawa. Law; 114 employees. Offers new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, the option to extend their paid leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
Peterson Investments (Canada) Inc., Vancouver. Real estate development and management; 177 employees. Organizes a variety of social events including a summer baseball game, holiday party, Children’s Wish Foundation hero challenges and Pride celebrations.
Points, Toronto. Customer loyalty program software; 219 employees. Encourages employees to adopt healthy lifestyles through its annual May Wellness Month, featuring nutrition lunch and learns, yoga, shuffle dance tutorial and a planking competition.
PrairieCoast Equipment, Mission, B.C. Farm, garden machinery and equipment distribution; 271 employees. Cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees.
Priestly Demolition Inc., King, Ont. Remediation and demolition services; 392 employees. Offers a health spending account as part of the company’s health benefits plan, providing employees with a little flexibility.
Promation Nuclear Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Tooling, automation and robotic systems manufacturer; 44 employees. Helps employees prioritize their physical health with an annual subsidy for gym memberships.
PSB Boisjoli LLP, Mont-Royal, Que. Accounting; 205 employees. Focuses its charitable efforts on environmental initiatives, underprivileged families, mental health and youth.
Rangle.io, Toronto. Software development; 279 employees. Offers a $100 credit each month to cover the costs of additional health and wellness services.
RAPID RTC, Winnipeg. Custom computer programming; 198 employees. Helps the next generation get a head start in their careers with co-op placements and summer employment.
Redbrick Technologies Inc., Victoria. Custom computer programming; 58 employees. Reimburses up to $50 per month per employee for health and wellness expenses plus up to six paid days off for wellness related causes.
R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Engineering; 235 employees. Keeps employees informed and connected through the company Bintranet, with peer-to-peer recognitions, company vacancies, and a newsreel of daily announcements.
Righteous Gelato, Calgary. Gelato and sorbetto production and cafe; 39 employees. Organizes a variety of social events throughout the year, including quarterly team-building events such as improv, axe throwing and bowling.
Rocky Mountaineer, Vancouver. Rail tour operators; 345 employees. Celebrates exceptional performance through a formal Circle of Excellence program, including MVP, leadership, innovation, everyday hero and rookie of the year.
RS Energy Group Canada Inc., Calgary. Data analytics for the energy industry; 173 employees. Offers a number of financial incentives, including a generous year-end bonus program for all, signing bonuses for some.
R.V. Anderson Associates Ltd., Toronto. Engineering consulting; 255 employees. Offers the convenience of onsite child care when new parents are ready to return to work.
Security Compass Ltd., Toronto. Cyber security software; 154 employees. Encourages employees to become owners through a share purchase plan, available to all and offers a generous year-end bonus.
Sensibill Inc., Toronto. Financial software developer; 61 employees. Offers employees a health spending account and a separate wellness spending account as part of its flexible health benefits plan.
Sigma Systems Canada LP, Toronto. Computer systems design; 79 employees. Organizes a variety of events to help keep employees connected, including a Halloween party and pumpkin carving contest, games nights and sports teams.
Silvacom Ltd., Edmonton. Custom computer software and consulting; 65 employees. Offers a variety of flexible work arrangements to help new mothers balance work and their family commitments.
Sionna Investment Managers Inc., Toronto. Investment management; 26 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for courses taken externally as well as financial bonuses as an incentive for some courses.
Somatic HVAC Solutions Ltd., Vancouver. Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors; 60 employees. Offers progressive maternity and parental leave top-up payments, to 95 per cent of salary for 50 weeks for new mothers and 95 per cent of salary for 35 weeks for adoptive parents.
Sourced Group Inc., Toronto. Cloud computer consulting; 54 employees. Offers opportunities for employees to work on exchange at its regional offices.
Startec, Calgary. Commercial refrigeration systems; 192 employees. Social committee organizes a number of fun events through its social committee, including go karting, escape rooms, bowling, mini golf and an annual barbecue.
StarTech.com Ltd., London. Ont. Computer hardware manufacturing; 320 employees. Offers employees a little flexibility in determining appropriate benefits coverage through an annual health spending account.
Superior Glove Works Ltd., Acton, Ont. Apparel manufacturing; 391 employees. Encourages employees to save for the future with matching RSP contributions.
theScore, Toronto. Digital media; 185 employees. Helps the next generation get a head start in their careers with co-op placements and paid internships.
ToursByLocals Canada Inc., Vancouver. Tour operator; 53 employees. Hosts cultural nights and bi-monthly socials to keep employees connected throughout the year.
Trico Homes Inc., Calgary. Housing construction; 144 employees. Lets everyone share in the company’s success through a profit-sharing program.
Trisura Guarantee Insurance Co., Toronto. Insurance; 128 employees. Allows employees to get a head start to their summer weekends with early Friday closures from Victoria Day to Labour Day.
TSM / Talk Shop Media Inc., Vancouver. Public relations; 28 employees. Offers paid time off during the winter holidays and eight days of paid summer shutdown in addition to three weeks of starting vacation allowance.
Uberflip, Toronto. Cloud-based marketing software; 139 employees. Encourages employees to keep their skills sharp with tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions, as well as in-house and online training programs.
Vancouver Film Studios, Vancouver. Motion picture studios; 70 employees. Offers healthy snack options to employees with weekly deliveries of fruits and vegetables.
Ventana Construction Corp., Burnaby, B.C. Commercial construction; 195 employees. Keeps employees connected with social events, including a family tobogganing day, parties to celebrate completed projects and an annual golf tournament.
Verafin Inc., St. John’s. Specialized financial software; 384 employees. Maintains a distinctly SME-style no-limit vacation policy, allowing employees to decide how much time off they need in any given year.
VERB Interactive Inc., Halifax. Custom website design; 140 employees. Recognizes exceptional performance through a Verbie employee of the month bonus.
Vidyard, Kitchener, Ont. Software developer; 198 employees. Supports a number of national charitable initiatives and donated a total of 2,300 volunteer hours on company time in the past year.
Visier Solutions Inc., Vancouver. Software developer; 347 employees. Features a nap room, an onsite fitness facility which employees can access at no charge, and an employee lounge at its office.
Voonyx Inc., Lac-Beauport, Que. Computer software; 48 employees. Maintains generous time-off policies, offering four weeks of starting vacation allowance and an additional paid time off during the winter holidays.
WalterFedy, Kitchener, Ont. Architectural and engineering services; 185 employees. Lets everyone share in the company’s success with profit-sharing and offers signing bonuses for some employees.
Wesgroup Equipment LP, Surrey, B.C. Industrial machinery and equipment distribution; 197 employees. Helps employees prepare for the future with matching RSP contributions and retirement planning assistance.
Working Group Inc., The, Toronto. Custom computer programming; 129 employees. Maintains an in-house health and wellness committee to provide access to programs and resources related to physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.
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