Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers 2021

Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers 2021
Researched and compiled by MediaCorp Canada Inc. | Presented exclusively by Atlantic Business Magazine

There are fewer companies on this year’s list of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers than there were in 2019—and that was expected, says Anthony Meehan. Meehan is the founder and president of Mediacorp Canada Inc., the company which researches and selects the Atlantic Canada Top Employer honourees, as well as Canada’s Top 100 Employers—now in its 20th year.

“Covid has been a challenge for everyone. We knew people were focused on pivoting their business so it was no surprise when we received just over 1,000 applications. That’s a lower number than in previous years.”

What was unexpected was what this year’s list revealed. “We thought we’d see a lot of layoffs and cutbacks,” says Meehan. “Instead, we saw this great investment in corporate social responsibility and community. Employers are giving back more than ever. Emera, for example, boosted its Dollars for Doers initiative.” They now donate $20 for every hour an employee volunteers, to a maximum of $600 per employee per year.

Another trend that became apparent during the Top Employer selection process was the increased attention on the mental health and well-being of staff. Not only is there a continuing worry about personal health and safety due to Covid, but people have had to learn to cope, very quickly, with myriad stressors: working from home, social isolation, child care, elder care and more.

In response, Meehan says, “Irving and others ratcheted up their health benefit initiatives. At $1,800 a year, PAL has one of the best subsidies for mental health consultations and awareness. And many Top Employers helped staff set up their remote work spaces.”

What does it mean to be a Top Employer during a pandemic? Ultimately, says Meehan, employers with a broader view of community are always better places to work. “Top Employers understand that their ability to operate depends on the health of their community. They are strong now and they will only grow stronger as the economy recovers.”

ADMIRAL INSURANCE SERVICES LTD.

Industry: Auto and property insurance
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 428
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Health benefits plan that includes a personal spending account of $500 per year which can be used to cover expenses related to health and wellness, personal development, family care, green living and general lifestyle items.
  • Maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers (to 100 per cent of salary for 22 weeks) and parental top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents (to 100 per cent of salary for seven weeks). They also offer the option to extend leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
  • Defined contribution pension plan and a unique Life Loan program, allowing employees to apply for an interest-free loan of up to $2,000 for significant life events (such as a wedding reception or funds for home furnishings for a first-time home owner).
ASSUMPTION MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY

Industry: Insurance, retirement savings and mortgages
Location: Moncton, N.B.
Full-time employees in Canada: 247
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Defined contribution pension plan, and a number of helpful financial benefits including discounted home and auto insurance, low-interest home loans, and discounted auto lease rates.
  • Health benefits plan includes a mental health practitioner benefit of up to $2,500 annually.
  • Variety of flexible work arrangements as well as up to six paid personal days, which can be scheduled as needed.
BIOVECTRA INC.

Industry: Pharmaceutical manufacturing
Location: Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Full-time employees in Canada: 400
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Full tuition subsidies for employees and an academic scholarship program for children of employees (to $1,500 per child).
  • Financial benefits include year-end bonuses, a defined contribution pension plan and referral bonuses for employees who recruit candidates from their personal networks (to $2,000).
  • Health plan provides employees with a health spending account of up to $400 per year as well as a separate wellness spending account of up to $250 per year.
CBCL LIMITED

Industry: Engineering services
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 322
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Employees have access to subsidies for job-related courses and professional accreditation; next generation opportunities include co-op placements, paid internships and summer roles.
  • Maternity leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers (to 80 per cent of salary for 16 weeks) with the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
  • Corporate support for community causes and charities with a special focus on health, education, community, science and technology, and sustainability. Approximately 75 organizations received support last year with employees leading the way and volunteering with initiatives such as Autism Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation (employees can take up to two paid volunteer days each year).
CITCO CANADA INC.

Industry: Portfolio management
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 1,292
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 100 per cent of salary for 12 weeks) and flexible work options for when they return.
  • Tuition subsidies for job-related courses (up to $3,000 per year) as well as subsidies for professional accreditation.
  • Retirement planning assistance, a defined contribution pension plan and matching RSP contributions.
CLEARWATER SEAFOODS LP

Industry: Seafood processing
Location: Bedford, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 1,068
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Along with helping employees save for the future, Clearwater Seafoods offers retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options for those nearing retirement.
  • Maternity and parental leave top-up payments, to 70 per cent of salary ranging from 35 to 52 weeks (including adoptive parents).
  • Organizational Capability Awards (for teamwork, competence and character) and peer-nominated You Made a Difference Award, with winners selected on a quarterly basis.
COOKE AQUACULTURE INC.

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Industry: Fish farming
Location: Saint John, N.B.
Full-time employees in Canada: 2,066
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Retirement planning assistance and a defined benefit pension plan.
  • Subsidies for job-related courses and professional accreditation as well as academic scholarships for children of employees, to $1,000 per child per year.
EAST COAST CREDIT UNION

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Industry: Credit union
Location: Antigonish, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 156
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Flexible work options and paid personal days to help employees balance work and their personal commitments (up to five paid personal days per year).
  • Defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan, depending on the employee group.
    Compassionate leave top-up for those who are called upon to care for a loved one (to 100 per cent of salary for up to 8 weeks).
EFFICIENCYONE

Industry: Energy conservation advocacy
Location: Dartmouth, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 132
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Tuition subsidies for employees taking courses at outside institutions and subsidies for professional accreditation.
  • Flexible work hours, a work from home option, and up to 14 paid sick days annually.
  • Nutrition programs, mindfulness training, blood pressure screenings and corporate rates for nearby gyms.
EMERA INC.

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Industry: Electric power generation and distribution and gas distribution
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 2,309
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to an employee’s current role (up to $5,000 annually) and extensive in-house training programs, including paid internships, apprenticeships and formal Engineer-in-Training programs for younger employees.
  • Subsidy for IVF treatments (to $15,000) and maternity/parental leave top-up payments for new moms, dads and adoptive parents (to 95 per cent of salary of six weeks).
  • Post-secondary academic scholarship programs for older children of employees (and retirees).
    Good Neighbour program encourages employees to donate their time and money to charities that are close to their heart; “Dollars for Doers” initiative matches employee donations, offering $20 for every volunteer hour to a maximum of $600 per employee annually.
FBM ARCHITECTURE | INTERIOR DESIGN

Industry: Architectural services
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 36
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Maternity and parental leave top-up policy, offering new parents (including adoptive) up to 95 per cent of salary for up to five weeks followed by 70 per cent of salary for an additional five weeks.
  • Health benefits plan includes separate health and wellness spending accounts, allowing employees to exercise flexibility in determining their coverage ($250 and $300 respectively).
  • Ownership culture cultivated through a share purchase plan that’s available to all employees.
    Matching RSP program to encourage long-term saving.
HALIFAX WATER

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Industry: Municipal water management
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 498
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Maternity leave top-up to new mothers (to 93 per cent of salary for up to 15 weeks) with the option to extend paid leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
  • Tuition subsidies for courses taken at external institutions (up to $3,000 per year) as well as subsidies for professional accreditation.
HEALTH ASSOCIATION NOVA SCOTIA

Industry: Professional associations
Location: Bedford, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 107
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Flexible work hours, five paid personal days per year (which can be scheduled as needed), and up to 7 paid sick days annually.
  • Maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents (to 93 per cent of salary for 15 weeks); subsidy for IVF for parents-to-be when needed (to $15,000).
  • Tuition subsidies for employees to pursue job-related (and unrelated) courses and academic scholarships for children of employees (up to $2,500 per child).
IRVING OIL

Industry: Petroleum refining, distribution and retail
Location: Saint John, N.B.
Full-time employees in Canada: 2,876
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • LifeSpeak online platform lets employees anonymously access information online regarding a range of wellness topics and smoking cessation programs. The health benefits plan also features a flexible health spending account and dedicated mental health practitioners benefit.
  • Community support programs in support of families, the environment and education. They recently introduced the new Good Energy in Action program that offers employees one paid flex day off to volunteer each year and encourages employees to get involved through a national volunteer week campaign in the spring. Over the past year the program has helped connect employees with virtual volunteer opportunities such as video-chat conversations with care home residents, mentoring and tutoring youth, and combatting lockdown loneliness through letter-writing campaigns.
  • Maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers or fathers (including adoptive parents), to 100 per cent of salary for up to 17 weeks.
  • Academic scholarships to children of employees pursuing post-secondary studies, to $2,000 per child.
JAZZ AVIATION LP

Industry: Air transportation
Location: Dartmouth, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 4,777
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Bright Ideas campaign encourages employees to share ideas on increasing productivity and improving customer service and operational efficiency. The company also recognizes exceptional performance through the Jazz Ensemble plus program, rewarding employees for achieving operational and customer satisfaction goals.
  • Retirement planning assistance and a defined contribution pension plan.
  • Ownership culture is fostered through a share purchase plan, available to all employees.
    Professional development opportunities include formal mentoring, in-house and online training, and tuition subsidies for courses related to their position (up to $3,000 annually). They also reach out to the next generation of employees through summer student opportunities, paid internships, co-op placements and apprenticeships.
KILLAM APARTMENT REIT

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Industry: Property management and development
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 512
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Matching RSP contributions and financial benefits including discounted home and auto insurance and subsidized home Internet services.
  • Maternity leave top-up payments for new moms (to 80 per cent of salary for 17 weeks) and flexible hours for when they’re ready to return to work. The company also supports parents with college and university-aged kids through an academic scholarship program, to $1,500 per child.
METOCEAN TELEMATICS LIMITED

Industry: Maritime electronic equipment design and manufacturing
Location: Dartmouth, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 88
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Variety of flexible work arrangements and up to nine paid personal days, which can be scheduled at the employees’ discretion.
  • Matching RSP contributions, retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options for those nearing retirement.
  • Employees are eligible for new employee referral bonuses, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 for each successful hire, depending on the position.
NEW BRUNSWICK COMMUNITY COLLEGE / NBCC

Industry: Post secondary schools, college
Location: Fredericton, N.B.
Full-time employees in Canada: 777
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Paid days off for employees who volunteer; in 2019, approximately 160 employees used the volunteer leave program to donate more than 1,300 hours to community projects.
  • Lifelong learning is encouraged through tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to a lifetime maximum of $10,000) as well as subsidies for general interest courses.
  • Maternity leave top-up payments for new mothers (to 75 per cent of salary for 17 weeks) with the option to extend leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR CENTRE FOR HEALTH INFORMATION / NLCHI

Industry: Electronic health records
Location: St. John’s, N.L.
Full-time employees in Canada: 218
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Health benefits plan that extends to retirees (with 50 per cent premium coverage) as well as defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans.
  • Corporate recognition culture fostered through programs such as Centre Stage!, which allows managers to nominate employees in various categories, such as “The Marathoner” (for working the ‘extra mile’), “The Superstar (for an outstanding performer), and “The Edison” (for innovation, change and creation).
NORTHWOOD

Industry: Nursing care facilities
Location: Dartmouth, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 998
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Defined benefit pension plan and phased-in work options for those nearing retirement.
  • Employee health benefits plan includes a mental health practitioner benefit of $1,800 per year.
  • Professional development encouraged via in-house and online training programs as well as tuition subsidies for courses at external academic institutions.
NOSEWORTHY CHAPMAN CHARTERED PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANTS

Industry: Accounting
Location: St. John’s, N.L.
Full-time employees in Canada: 57
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Weekly fixed-payment maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new moms and dads (including adoptive parents) for the full year of their leave ($92 per week for 52 weeks).
  • Company’s charitable efforts are guided by employee feedback on which initiatives to support, paid time off for volunteering and matching employee donations.
  • Financial benefits include year-end bonuses, signing bonuses for some positions and referral bonuses when employees successfully recruit a friend. The company also helps employees save for the future.
NTT DATA CANADA, INC.

Industry: Computer systems design services
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 1,007
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Formal employee incentive and management incentive programs offer financial rewards and/or salary increases for innovations and new ideas in support of overall business development.
  • STARS rewards and recognition program celebrates outstanding performance, highlighting employee achievements via internal social media and offering points to recipients (which can be redeemed in the NTT store).
  • Professional development activities include in-house and online training programs, formal mentoring and tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to $5,250).
OPPORTUNITIES NEW BRUNSWICK

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Industry: Provincial government, economic development
Location: Fredericton, N.B.
Full-time employees in Canada: 108
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Employee tuition subsidies for courses related to their current position along with a variety of online training initiatives.
  • Maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new and adoptive moms, to 75 per cent of salary for 16 weeks. Employees also have the option to extend their parental leave to an unpaid leave of absence and may be able to take advantage of a phased-in return to work.
  • Contributions to a defined contribution pension plan.
PROVINCIAL AEROSPACE LTD. / PAL

Industry: Air transportation
Location: St. John’s, N.L.
Full-time employees in Canada: 1,137
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Health benefits plan includes a mental health practitioners benefit (to $1,800 annually); they celebrate the annual “Mental Health Week” through a number of awareness initiatives.
  • Maternity leave top-up payments for new mothers (to 100 per cent of salary for up to 17 weeks) with the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence. New moms-to-be may also take advantage of support for IVF treatments if needed (to $15,000) and parents with older kids may also apply for academic scholarships (to $2,000).
  • Professional development is encouraged with no-limit tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to an employee’s current position.
REDSPACE INC.

Industry: Website design services
Location: Bedford, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 213
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Community initiatives are supported through paid volunteer time for employees and matching charitable donations (to $250) to the initiatives of their choosing.
  • Flexible working arrangement policies, including flexible hours and working from home.
  • Matching RSP contributions and interest-free loans (up to $2,700) for home computers and other technology.
RESMED HALIFAX ULC

Industry: Custom computer programming services
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 225
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers, fathers or adoptive parents, to 100 per cent of salary for up to 14 weeks.
  • Employee professional development includes tuition subsidies for job-related courses (up to $5,000 per year), formal opportunities for mentoring, and leadership development workshops.
  • Four-week vacation allowance plus additional paid time off during the winter break.
SEKISUI DIAGNOSTICS PEI LTD.

Industry: Medical diagnostic products
Location: Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Full-time employees in Canada: 150
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • New-employee referral bonuses (up to $1,250); conducts annual benchmarking for each position to ensure competitive compensation rates for existing employees.
  • Tuition subsidies for job-related courses (up to $4,700 per year), subsidies for professional accreditation, and a variety of in-house and online training programs.
  • Three weeks of starting vacation allowance, moving employees to four weeks after only four years on the job. Employees may also take advantage of flexible work hours and a telecommuting option to help balance personal and professional commitments.
SERCO CANADA INC.

Industry: Technical consulting and management services
Location: Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L.
Full-time employees in Canada: 835
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Retirement planning assistance includes contributions to a defined contribution pension plan (the company temporarily changed the rules of the plan during the pandemic, allowing employees the option to withdraw a specified amount from their account if needed).
  • Maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new moms (to 93 per cent of salary for 52 weeks) as well as offering support to new dads and non-birth parents (to 93 per cent of salary for 37 weeks).
  • Professional development includes online training options as well as tuition subsidies for courses related and indirectly related to an employee’s current position (up to $5,250 annually).
SIGMAST COMMUNICATIONS INC.

Industry: Mobile communications services
Location: Bedford, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 44
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Three weeks of paid vacation for new employees; previous work experience considered when setting vacation entitlement for experienced candidates. Longer serving employees can apply for unpaid leaves of absence (up to one year).
  • Matching RSP contributions and a year-end bonus program that’s open to all employees.
  • As a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, SigMast employees can take advantage of discounts on the full range of Samsung products, from home electronics to appliances.
ULTRA ELECTRONICS MARITIME SYSTEMS INC.

Industry: Defence electronics manufacturing
Location: Dartmouth, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 190
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Supports ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current position as well as through a variety of in-house and online training programs.
  • Matching RSP contributions, share purchase and profit-sharing plans.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK / UNB

Industry: Post secondary schools, university
Location: Fredericton, N.B.
Full-time employees in Canada: 1,746
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Contributions to a defined benefit pension plan and retirement planning assistance. Retirees can also stay connected through a dedicated Retired Employees Association, which assists members with health benefits and related concerns, and provides a collective voice to the university.
  • Recognizes exceptional performance in a number of areas including the Excellence in Teaching awards, Distinguished Service awards and President’s Medals for service over the span of a career.
VERAFIN INC.

Industry: Specialized financial software
Location: St. John’s, N.L.
Full-time employees in Canada: 516
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Results-focused work environment allows employees to work when and where they are most productive. This flexible approach also applies to paid sick leave, personal days and compassionate leave, with the company opting out of establishing set leave lengths.
  • Parental leave top-up extended to offer all parents, including adoptive, the same amount of paid leave – to 75 per cent of salary for a full year.
  • Share purchase plan is available to all employees.
  • Employees are encouraged to save for the future with matching RSP contributions.
VERB INTERACTIVE INC.

Industry: Custom website design services
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 173
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Health benefits plan includes a wellness spending account as well as a dedicated mental health practitioners benefit. The company also supports a partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association along with access to an online portal and partnership in the national “Not Myself Today” awareness campaign.
  • Experienced employees offered four weeks of paid vacation along with additional time off over the Christmas holiday season (up to five days); longer serving employees can apply for an unpaid leave of absence, up the three months.
  • Matching RSP contributions.
WEB.COM CANADA

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Industry: Data processing, hosting, and related services
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 462
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Supports telecommuting work arrangements for employees and has been able to move all Canadian employees to work-from-home arrangements over the past year. This unique arrangement is under ongoing review.
  • Tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to $5,250 per year) and subsidies for professional accreditation and in-house and online training initiatives.
  • Matching RSP contributions and a year-end bonus program that’s open to all employees.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BOARD OF NOVA SCOTIA

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Industry: Administration of human resource programs
Location: Halifax, N.S.
Full-time employees in Canada: 428
What makes them a Top Employer:

  • Health benefits plan includes a flexible health spending account (to $850 annually) to help cover additional coverages as well as having access to a free on-line health risk assessment tool, called My Good Health.
  • New employees start with three weeks of paid vacation (working to maximum of six weeks) and receive up to four paid personal days off to help balance work and personal matters. Employees can also apply for self-funded leaves of absence (up to one year) as well as unpaid leaves of absence (up to two years).
  • Supports new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 93 per cent of salary for 16 weeks) and offers parental leave top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents (to 93 per cent of salary for 10 weeks).
  • Employees with kids pursuing post-secondary studies may be eligible for academic scholarships.

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