Top Employers in Atlantic Canada

Presented by Atlantic Business Magazine in exclusive partnership with Mediacorp

Now in its third year, the Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers competition is organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.  This special designation recognizes the employers in Canada’s four Atlantic provinces that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. It’s a unique project for the Top 100 editors because this competition extends across four provinces (the only one of its kind in Canada) since many employers in Atlantic Canada have operations across the region.

Employers are evaluated by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 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. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.

Employers apply for the Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers competition through the Canada’s Top 100 Employers application process.  For this year’s national competition, Mediacorp editors examined the recruitment histories of over 75,000 employers across Canada that it tracks for its popular job search site, Eluta.ca.  From this initial group, Mediacorp invited 10,000 of the fastest-growing employers to apply, plus another 2,500 companies and organizations in industries its editors wanted to examine more closely.  Employers completed an extensive application process that included a detailed review of their operations and HR practices.  Over 2,750 employers started this year’s application process. 

Tony Meehan, Publisher Canada’s Top 100 Employers Mediacorp Canada Inc.

Top Employers

Admiral Insurance Services Inc., Halifax. Provides automobile insurance products and services; 205 employees. What makes them great: variety of financial benefits (including profit-sharing, performance bonuses and pension plan); new employees get three weeks annual leave (rises to four after five years); in-house and online training as well as tuition subsidies; referral bonuses when employees successfully recommend a new candidate to the company.

Alcool NB Liquor / ANBL, Fredericton. Provincial Crown corporation responsible for the purchase, importation, distribution and retail activity of all beverage alcohol in New Brunswick; 445 employees. What makes them great: defined benefit pension plan, defined contribution pension plan, and matching RSP contributions; maternity leave top-ups and flex working arrangements for new mothers; salary deferral program allowing employees to defer a portion of their salary and take extended time off (up to one year) with pay; 100% tuition reimbursement for employees attending outside institutions (with no annual maximum).

Annapolis Valley District Health Authority, Kentville. Provides health and wellness services to the counties of Kings and Annapolis through five hospital and health centre sites; 973 employees. What makes them great: defined benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance, and phased-in work options; maternity top-up payments for new mothers and parental leave top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents; alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, 35-hour work week (with full pay), shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay), compressed work week, and an earned days off program; tuition subsidies, in-house and online training programs, in-house apprenticeships and skilled trades internships, formal mentoring program, and career planning services.

Bluewave Energy Limited Partnership, Dartmouth. A petroleum distribution company with 60 branch locations across Canada; 463 employees. What makes them great: profit-sharing for all employees; tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions and in-house/online training programs; free memberships to onsite fitness facility, complete with treadmills, yoga classes and shower facilities for bicycle commuters; maternity leave top-ups for new mothers and health benefits during their leave.

“We want our employees to continue to grow, develop professionally, and remain challenged in their positions. Offering tuition subsidies and subsidies for professional accreditations are just a couple of ways that we demonstrate to our employees that they do not just have a job with IMP, they have a career.” Julie Rehemtulla, Senior Vice President, Corporate Services, I.M.P. Group International Inc.

Cape Breton District Health Authority, Sydney. Provides community health services to 130,000 residents of Cape Breton, Northern and Central Inverness County and Victoria County; 2,228 employees. What makes them great: defined benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance, phased-in work options, and health coverage that extends to retirees; maternity top-up payments for new mothers and parental leave top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents; alternative work arrangements including flexible work hours, 35-hour work week (with full pay), shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay), compressed work week, and an earned days off program; new hires receive three weeks vacation allowance in addition to five personal paid days off.

Capital District Health Authority, Halifax. Provides health services to residents in the Halifax Regional Municipality and western Hants County; 6,516 employees. What makes them great: defined benefit pension plan; flexible work options (position depending), including variable scheduling, telecommuting and the option to move to part-time work prior to retirement; healthy cafeteria options, religious observance room, and a nap room for physicians/residents; maternity leave top-up payments for new mothers and parental leave top-up benefits to new fathers and adoptive parents.

CBCL Limited, Halifax. An employee-owned consulting engineering firm that operates in Atlantic Canada; 250 employees. What makes them great: tuition subsidies for work-related courses, subsidies for professional accreditations, in-house training, mentoring programs and career planning services; compassionate top-up payments for employees who are caring for a family member; profit-sharing plan and year-end bonuses; phased-in retirement work options and a defined benefit pension plan.

Clearwater Seafoods Limited Partnership, Bedford. Delivers premium seafood, including scallops, lobster, Arctic surf clams, cold water shrimp, Argentine scallops, and crab; 213 employees. What makes them great: signing bonuses for some employees and year-end bonuses for all employees; tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions, in-house training and career planning services; phased-in retirement work options,  retirement planning assistance and matching RSP contributions; position-dependent alternative work options, including flexible hours, telecommuting and shortened work weeks.

Cogsdale Corporation, Charlottetown. Develops business management software, primarily for local government organizations as well as private and publicly-owned utilities; 105 employees. What makes them great: matching RSP contributions; maternity leave top-up payments for new parents; full tuition subsidies for job-related courses at an outside institution (no annual maximum); Friday socials, encouraging employees to finish-up early on the last Friday every month (more frequently in the summer) and enjoy company-provided refreshments and treats.

Colchester East Hants Health Authority, Truro. Provides a wide range of inpatient, outpatient and satellite services to 73,000 residents of Colchester County and the Municipality of East Hants; 551 employees. What makes them great: maternity leave top-up payments for new mothers; extended parental leave top-up benefits to new fathers or adoptive parents; onsite daycare facility; new employees get three weeks paid vacation,  moving to four weeks after five years on the job.

“Thanks to social networking, your organization’s reputation as a great or lousy employer is already out in the market place. Job seekers know about you; your employees know about you. You had better know about you. Organizations that don’t pay close attention to their employment brand do so at their own peril.” Mark Surrette, President, Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette

DeltaWare Systems Inc., Charlottetown. Provides information technology consulting and software development services, specializing in e-health and e-business applications; 108 employees. What makes them great: location makes for excellent quality of life; in-house and online courses and tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions; three weeks paid vacation for new employees; employees get paid time off to volunteer with charitable initiatives; academic scholarships for local students; defined benefit pension plan.

We know a healthy, happy and supported workforce is key to our success. People are drawn here for the lifestyle and other benefits our communities have to offer their families. Providing (maternity and parental leave) top-ups for our team members is one way that we are living our values.” Peter MacKinnon, CEO, Colchester East Hants Health Authority

Doctors Nova Scotia, Dartmouth. The professional association representing all physicians in Nova Scotia; 26 employees. What makes them great: alternative work arrangements including flexible work hours, telecommuting, 35-hour work week (with full pay), shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay), and a compressed work week; compassionate top-up payments while caring for a family member; new employees get three weeks vacation in addition to six personal paid days off; defined benefit pension plan; maternity leave top-up payments to new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents.

Farmers Cooperative Dairy Ltd., Halifax. Produces, distributes and markets dairy and related products across Atlantic Canada; 407 employees. What makes them great: tuition subsidies; retirement planning assistance services and a defined benefit pension plan; maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents; alternative work options including flexible scheduling, reduced summer hours, telecommuting, compressed and shortened work week options.

“We provide our staff with generous vacation time because it is the right thing to do.  Healthcare is a challenging environment to work in.  (Staff) need their vacation time to reenergize and come back prepared to do their job well.  They also have days available to use, if needed, for their personal health.” Pat Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Pictou County Health Authority

Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority, Antigonish. Provides healthcare services to residents in Antigonish, Guysborough, the Strait area, Richmond and southern Inverness County; 1,401 employees. What makes them great: maternity leave top-ups for new mothers and health benefits that extend through their leave; option to extend maternity leave into an unpaid leave of absence; parental leave top-ups for new fathers and adoptive parents; designated meditation room for employees who need quiet time or religious observances; succession and retirement planning assistance; a defined benefit pension plan.

The Halifax Herald Limited, Halifax. Publisher of The Chronicle Herald (weekdays) and The Sunday Herald; 275 employees. What makes them great: employees get a paid day off on their birthday; tuition subsidies; flexible health benefits plan that includes coverage after retirement; new employees three weeks of paid vacation; onsite daycare centre.

High Liner Foods Inc., Lunenburg. Processes and markets ready-to-eat seafood and frozen pasta products under the High Liner, Fisher Boy, Gina Italian Village and Floresta brands; 601 employees. What makes them great: alternative work arrangements including flexible work hours, telecommuting, and reduced summer hours; tuition subsides, subsidies for professional accreditation, and in-house and online training programs; parental leave top-ups for new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents; retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options when nearing retirement; defined contribution pension plan.

“We are proud to say that we have an excellent benefit package… we support our employees to develop leadership skills and contribute their best in their everyday roles. (Our) goal is to have the best workplace culture where people can grow and develop. Being a workplace of choice enhances recruitment and retention of our employees, physicians and volunteers.” Janet Knox, President and CEO, Annapolis Valley Health

IMP Group Limited, Halifax. Privately owned group of companies operating in aerospace, aviation, airline, healthcare, industrial marine, information technology, hospitality and property development; 3,465 employees. What makes them great: academic scholarships for children of employees; prolific job creator; defined contribution pension plan, with matching employer contributions; tuition subsides and subsidies for professional accreditations.

The Johnson Corporation, St. John’s. A national insurance and benefits provider, serving over 900,000 members from over 65 branches; 1,109 employees. What makes them great:  health benefits include an employee assistance plan, alternative coverages, massage therapy and fertility drug treatments; parental leave top-up payments for new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents; health benefit coverage during maternity and parental leave; scholarship program for children of employees; flexible work options including a 35-hour work week (with full pay), telecommuting, shortened work weeks, and variable scheduling; in-house training, tuition subsidies, and financial bonuses for professional designations; year-end bonuses; matching RSP contributions, defined contribution pension plan and phased-in retirement work options.

Keane Canada, Inc., Halifax. U.S.-based IT firm offering application, infrastructure and business process outsourcing services; 485 employees. What makes them great: retirement planning assistance and phased-in retirement work options; matching RSP contributions; bonuses when referrals lead to new hires; adoption assistance benefit; academic scholarship program for children of employees; location makes for exceptional quality of life.

“For every great leader, there is an even greater team. I’m a firm believer that there is strength in numbers and many hands make for light work. A great leader should have the ability to fill any role in the corporation at any time. Bringing your business from an ‘I’ to a ‘We’ is the test of time.” Anne Squires, Broker, EXIT Realty on the Rock

NB Power Holding Corporation, Fredericton. Provincial Crown corporation and public utility that provides electricity to more than 370,000 residents in the province of New Brunswick, Atlantic Canada and along the eastern seaboard; 2,546 employees. What makes them great: fertility drug treatments included in health plan; maternity leave top-up payments for new mothers; onsite daycare facility; in-house training and tuition subsidies; flexible health benefits; employee lounge with music, television and a Wii system; defined benefit pension plan and matching RSP contributions.

Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union, St. John’s. One of Atlantic Canada’s largest credit unions with over 20,000 customers, $370-million in assets, and 12 locations province-wide; 111 employees. What makes them great: matching RSP contributions; extended health benefits for retirees, with no age limit and shared premiums; academic scholarship program for children of employees; tuition subsidies; new hires get three weeks paid vacation, it increases to four weeks after their third year; paid time off for volunteer work; manages its own charitable foundation.

North Atlantic Refining Ltd., Come By Chance. Produces refined petroleum products for customers in Canada and over 30 countries; 488 employees. What makes them great: defined benefit pension plan and matching RSP plan; paid health coverage for retirees; new employees get three weeks paid vacation; career planning services as well as in-house training initiatives and tuition subsidies.

Pictou County Health Authority, New Glasgow. Provides medical and rehabilitation services to over 48,000 residents of Pictou County, as well as regional programs to the larger population of northeastern Nova Scotia.; 654 employees. What makes them great: retirement planning assistance; defined benefit pension plan; maternity top-ups for new mothers and parental leave top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents; tuition subsidies; subsidies for professional accreditation, financial bonuses for course completions, and in-house and online training programs; new employees get three weeks vacation, increasing to four after five years on the job, plus five personal paid days off each year.

Trihedral Engineering Limited, Bedford. Develops proprietary monitoring and control software applications used in a variety of industrial applications, including water and wasterwater treatment, oil and gas, manufacturing, power generation, broadcasting, food and beverage, marine, flood control, and airport baggage handling applications; 38 employees. What makes them great: new employees get three weeks paid vacation, increasing to four after three years; business casual dress code; pet-friendly work environment; tuition subsidies, in-house training and subsidies for professional accreditations; health plan provides full coverage to employees’ family members; year-end performance bonuses; share purchase plan.

Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, Halifax. Promotes safe work practices and the provision of fair benefits to workers; 410 employees. What makes them great: parental leave top-up payments for new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents; option to extend parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence; alternative work options, including flexible hours, telecommuting and earned days-off; retirement planning assistance and defined benefit pension plan; health plan extends to retirees; tuition subsidies, in-house and online training.

“GASHA offers succession planning assistance to help our employees develop skills required for leadership positions – and we’re happy to say that many of our staff have progressed to supervisory, management or informal leadership roles. We also offer retirement planning assistance. Retirement is a time of transition, and we want to support our people as they move through that process.” Carrie MacIsaac, Director of Human Resources, Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority

1 Comment to “Top Employers in Atlantic Canada”

  1. We provide our staff with generous vacation time because it is the right thing to do. Healthcare is a challenging environment to work in. (Staff) need their vacation time to reenergize and come back prepared to do their job well. They also have days available to use, if needed, for their personal health.” Pat Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Pictou County Health Authority
    He provides with vacation , but not well. The union sees that he has to ,it is not only the right thing to do but the only choice he has.

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