Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers 2012

An Atlantic Business Magazine exclusive, presented in partnership with Mediacorp

With all the talk of a double-dip recession and slow economic growth, you might be excused for thinking that employers had gone back to the old days when just having a job was enough for most folks. But the 2012 winners of the fourth-annual Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers competition show how serious leading employers are about recruiting and retaining the best employees.

In fact, Mediacorp — which organizes this recognition program as well as Canada’s Top 100 Employers — notes that there was a record number of employer applications this year, 15 per cent higher than last year.

Tony Meehan, Mediacorp publisher, attributes the higher level of interest to the compressed job market. “The reality of Canada’s labour market is that the unemployment rate in many key occupations is less than four per cent, even in the current economic climate. This… is bringing many employers to the realization that they need to become more attractive places to work — not just to ensure future growth, but simply to maintain the operations they have now.”

Look for sidebars at the end of this article:
• Powerful People
• What makes a top employer
• How to apply for next year’s Top Employers list

TOP EMPLOYERS:
Admiral Insurance Services Inc.

Location: Halifax, N.S.
Number of employees: 308
Who are they: provider of automobile insurance products and services.
What makes them great: support new mothers with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 100 per cent of salary for 20 weeks) and parental leave top-up for new fathers or adoptive parents (to 100 per cent of salary for 14 weeks); support professional development with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions, in-house and online training, subsidies for professional accreditation and a formal mentoring program; contributions to a defined benefit pension plan (to five per cent of salary); a share purchase plan that is available to all employees, and a variety of financial rewards including referral and year-end bonuses.

Alcool NB Liquor /ANBL

Location: Fredericton, N.B.
Number of employees: 446
Who are they: provincial Crown corporation responsible for the purchase, importation, distribution and retail activity of all beverage alcohol in New Brunswick.
What makes them great: defined benefit pension plan, defined contribution pension plan, and matching RSP contributions; maternity leave top-up payments to new mothers (to 75 per cent of salary for 15 weeks); flexible work arrangements including reduced summer hours and a compressed work week option; academic scholarship program for children of employees (up to $2,500); a self-funded leave program that lets employees defer a portion of their salary and take extended time off (up to one year) with pay; supports ongoing education by covering the full cost of tuition for employees completing courses at outside institutions (with no annual maximum).

Annapolis Valley District Health Authority

Location: Kentville, N.S.
Number of employees: 1,031
Who are they: providers of health and wellness services to the counties of Kings and Annapolis.
What makes them great: new employees start with four weeks of paid vacation allowance, in addition to personal paid days off; subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions, subsidies for professional accreditation and a variety of in-house and online training programs; new mothers receive maternity leave top-up payments (to 93 per cent of salary for 15 weeks) as well as a variety of flexible work arrangements for when they are ready to return to work; parental leave top-up payments to employees who are new fathers or adoptive parents (to 93 per cent of salary for 10 weeks); retirement planning assistance, generous contributions to a defined benefit pension plan and health benefit coverage that extends to retirees.

Cape Breton District Health Authority

Location: Sydney, N.S.
Number of employees: 2,284
Who are they: provider of community health services to 130,000 residents of Cape Breton, Northern and Central Inverness County and Victoria County.
What makes them great: new employees get personal paid days off as well as three weeks of paid vacation allowance; tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to $5,000), financial bonuses for some course completion and in-house and online training programs; maternity leave top-up payments for new mothers (to 93 per cent of salary for 15 weeks) as well as extended health benefit coverage during their leave; parental leave top-up to employees who are new fathers or adoptive parents (to 93 per cent of salary for 10 weeks); generous contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options to help employees transition out of the workforce.

Capital District Health Authority

Location: Halifax, N.S.
Number of employees: 6,421
Who are they: provider of health services to residents in the Halifax Regional Municipality and western Hants County.
What makes them great: unique onsite amenities including a fully-equipped fitness facility with subsidized membership, lounge, quiet room for meditation and ref lection, cafeteria with healthy menus, and nap room for employees who need a quick break during the day; maternity leave top-up payments for new mothers (to 93 per cent of salary for 17 weeks) and parental leave top-up payments to new fathers and adoptive parents (to 93 per cent of salary for 10 weeks); partner with Kids & Company to help provide new parents with daycare within a shorter notice period; formal mentoring, in-house apprenticeship and skilled trades opportunities, leadership training and a range of in-house and online training programs; retirement planning assistance, contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, and health benefit coverage that extends into retirement.

CBCL Limited

Location: Halifax, N.S.
Number of employees: 249
Who are they: an employee-owned consulting engineering firm that operates in Atlantic Canada.
What makes them great: signing bonuses for some employees, profit-sharing available to all employees and generous contributions to a defined benefit pension plan; tuition subsidies for job-related courses, in-house training programs, subsidies for professional accreditation and career planning services; paid time off for employees to volunteer at their favourite charitable organization; compassionate leave top-up payments to employees who are called upon to care for a loved one (to 100 per cent of salary for one week).

Clearwater Seafoods Limited Partnership

Location: Bedford, N.S.
Number of employees: 203
Who are they: a seafood company that harvests, processes, and distributes shellfish and groundfish.
What makes them great: retirement planning workshops, phased-in work options and contributions to a matching RSP plan; tuition subsidies for job-related courses, subsidies for professional accreditation, financial bonuses for some course completion and in-house training programs; depending on the position, employees can take advantage of a variety of alternative work options including flexible hours, telecommuting and shortened and compressed work week options.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia

Location: Halifax, N.S.
Number of employees: 23
Who are they: the self-regulating body for the province’s medical profession.
What makes them great: new mothers provided with parental leave top-up payments of 80 per cent for up to 17 weeks of their leave; new employees start with three weeks of paid vacation, in addition to a one-week shutdown during the Christmas holiday; offers a number of alternative working options, including an earned days off program; offers a variety of in-house education programs and tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions.

Dalhousie University

Location: Halifax, N.S.
Number of employees: 3,278
Who are they: a leading post-secondary academic institution serving over 16,500 full- and part-time students.
What makes them great: free tuition for employees (up to two credits annually) and tuition subsides for employees’ immediate family members; new parents (including adoptive parents) provided with maternity and parental leave top-up payments, with the amount dependent upon employee group and length of service; great work location situated on 79 acres of landscaped grounds within walking distance to the Northwest Arm, historic downtown Halifax and a wide selection of restaurants and shops; subsidized memberships for employees and retirees (along with their spouses) to the Dalplex fitness centre, which includes a fully-equipped gymnasium, swimming, racquetball and squash and instructor-led fitness classes; phased-in retirement work options and a defined benefit pension plan.

Delta Ware Systems Inc.

Location: Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Number of employees: 114
Who are they: providers of information technology consulting and software development services, specializing in e-health and e-business applications.
What makes them great: variety of in-house and online courses as well as generous tuition subsidies (to $2,400) for courses at outside institutions; provides new employees with three weeks of paid vacation to start; creates high-technology jobs in Canada’s founding city and one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations; offers employees paid time off to volunteer with charitable initiatives and supports academic scholarships for local students; encourage employees to save for retirement with a defined contribution pension plan.

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3 Comments to “Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers 2012”

  1. Avatar Transplanted Newfie // January 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm // Reply

    Dear Mr Editor: I currently work for Air Canada Jazz, been employed by this company for over 15 years. Yes it is a great company to work for but there are several glowing, and misleading statements in your article. Off the 4880 stated employees only about 5% have access to almost all the benefits you listed. Those employee are at the Halifax base. The remainder 4400 people work at various location across Canada. At my base, with about 250 co-workers. our lunch room has chairs and tables, vending machines with no fruits, nothing else, No nap room, no gym (we can’t leave the hanger during our breaks for a short walk), no cafeteria (with healthy and special diet menus) not even a computer to surf the web on down time. Air Canada Jazz does charge us for coffee we drink. Buck per cup. The academic scholarship program for children of employees, one year was won by Joe Randel(check company reports, Joe is paided very well) himself. My child didn’t win. The subsidies for professional accreditation is a stated benefit, but when you email the dept, no one answers your request. The alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, a formal earned days-off program are only for upper management. I work 8 hr a day 5 days a week, all requests for these programs are declined.
    The only thing all 4880 employees share is a monthly base performace sharing program bonus called ensomble with a max yearly payout.
    To correct your article either remove the stated 4880 employees and replaced with Halifax based numbers or state that the listed benefits are only for Halifax based employees

  2. sports direct is not a great employer. They keep most of their employees just barely part time so that they cannot receive benefits. To get the 200$ for referring someone is harder to squeeze than money for scruge on xmas. They also pay most of their employees minimum wage which is not very appealing. Getting ahead in that company is also an issue. I have known people to work 4 years and be great employees with no promotions, and a raise, haha forget about that EVER happening. 3 years ago they gave out 100$ bonus to most of their employees, now most get none. It is a great place to work for the top dogs there but for everyone else (minions) they are treated like a nobody.

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