By Diane Jermyn
One of the most surprising things about Canada’s Top Small & Medium (SME) Employers 2022 by Mediacorp is how much they have in common. Although these 115 winning organizations differ widely in business, from accounting firms to architecture to cybersecurity – and even a music publishing platform called Bandzoogle – all demonstrate remarkable agility in adapting to unprecedented times.
At the onset of the pandemic, companies quickly moved employees to work-from-home arrangements wherever possible, ensuring they had the equipment needed for comfortable home offices. They followed up with ongoing support, including ever more flexible work options, communication initiatives and online social events that kept everyone in touch (hello virtual yoga!). Many added mental health programs for employees, recognizing that these initiatives now belong permanently in an enlightened employer’s health benefits plan, alongside generous top-ups for new parents. It’s not just the big companies that can compete.
With each stage of the changing pandemic, Canada’s Top SME Employers continue to adapt. Like many others, Binary Stream Software in Burnaby, B.C., surveyed employees directly to help plan and guide their return to onsite work. Typically, that return to the office will introduce a new hybrid way of working, reflecting employees’ wishes to continue to work from home at least part of the time.
With this increased focus on flexibility comes a further push for allowing individual employees to manage their own time. Known for cutting-edge human resource policies, several of Canada’s Top SME Employers offer a no-limit vacation to help employees achieve that elusive balance between work and personal lives. CoLab Software in St. John’s takes its no-limit vacation policy even further, adding days off between Christmas and New Year’s and basing its paid sick days policy simply “upon need.”
Punching well above their weight, the winners of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers 2022 by Mediacorp lead the way in trendsetting for the coming year.
Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers 2022 by Mediacorp 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 Mediacorp using the same criteria as Mediacorp’s Top 100 Employers 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.
Mediacorp’s editors compare employers to other organizations in the same 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.
While the selection process to choose the winners continually evolves to include new questions that reflect changes in the workplace, the underlying methodology has not significantly changed since the project began in 2000. The competition is and remains a catalogue of best practices.
Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers by Mediacorp is an annual national competition and all applicants must pay a fee to enter. Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply regardless of size, whether private or public sector. The Globe and Mail is not involved in the judging process.
Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers 2022 by Mediacorp
Ada Support Inc., Toronto. Computer software; 221 employees. Includes a health spending account allowing employees to top up coverage to suit their personal needs.
AET Group Inc., Kitchener, Ont. Environmental consulting; 25 employees. Encourages employees to volunteer in their community with paid time off and matching charitable donations.
Alida Inc., Vancouver. Customer intelligence software; 276 employees. Hosted various virtual social events over the past year to help employees stay connected.
Artis REIT, Winnipeg. Real estate investment trust; 169 employees. Offers employees tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their positions.
Atrema Technologies Inc., Calgary. Computer software; 17 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance services along with matching RSP contributions.
BAM Strategy, Montreal. Advertising; 66 employees. Offers in-house and online training options as well as tuition subsidies for job-related courses.
Bandzoogle, Nepean, Ont. Music publishing platform; 17 employees. Lets employees share in the company’s successes with a formal year-end bonus program.
Beedie, Burnaby, B.C. Real estate development; 299 employees. Helps employees balance work and personal life through alternative work options, including flexible hours and working from home.
Binary Stream Software Inc., Burnaby, B.C. Computer software; 70 employees. Surveyed employees directly to help plan and guide for the return to onsite work.
Birchcliff Energy Ltd., Calgary. Natural gas production; 207 employees. Offers a generous academic scholarship program for children of employees, up to $6,000 per child per year.
BluEarth Renewables Inc., Calgary. Renewable power generation; 111 employees. Starts most employees with three weeks of paid vacation and considers previous experience when setting vacation entitlements.
Bluedrop ISM, St. John’s. Software; 52 employees. Encourages employees to recruit their friends through generous new employee referral bonuses.
Briteweb Ltd., Vancouver. Advertising; 16 employees. Starts new employees with three weeks paid vacation plus up to five additional personal days off annually.
Broadsign Canada Co., Montreal. Computer systems design; 151 employees. Provided a furniture allowance to help employees set up and manage their home offices.
Carebook Technologies Inc., Montreal. Specialized computer software; 42 employees. Offers tuition subsidies annually for courses at outside academic institutions.
CBCL Ltd., Halifax. Engineering; 351 employees. Offers a defined contribution pension plan and phased-in work options for employees nearing retirement.
CHES Special Risk Inc., Toronto. Specialized insurance; 56 employees. Offers new moms, dads and adoptive parents the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence.
CoLab Software, St. John’s. Software; 35 employees. Offers employees a no-limit vacation policy and the number of paid sick days are based upon need.
Copperleaf Technologies Inc., Vancouver. Specialized computer software; 240 employees. Offers employees paid time off to volunteer in the community (with no set maximum) and matching charitable employee donations.
Croesus Finasoft, Laval, Que. Financial management software; 187 employees. Offers coverage for mental health practitioners as part of its benefits plan.
Crombie REIT, New Glasgow, N.S. Property management and development; 266 employees. Offers various helpful financial benefits including discounts on vehicles, cell phones and professional service fees.
Crown Property Management Inc., Toronto. Property management; 107 employees. Offers employees tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current position.
Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 283 employees. Offers paid internships for recent grads as well as fostering ongoing education through in-house programming.
Drone Delivery Canada Corp., Woodbridge, Ont. Drone-based courier services; 48 employees. Introduced an online wellness tool so employees could easily access a range of wellness services.
Duncan Craig LLP, Edmonton. Law firms; 96 employees. Offers paid internships and co-op placements for students and recent grads starting out.
Durward Jones Barkwell & Co. LLP, St. Catharines, Ont. Accounting; 140 employees. Offer a defined contribution pension plan as well as a formal year-end bonus plan.
Eclipsys Solutions Inc., Kanata, Ont. Information technology services; 45 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters through a generous new employee referral bonus program.
eSentire Inc., Waterloo, Ont. Cybersecurity; 302 employees. Reaches out to the next generation of employees through apprenticeship and co-op programs.
ExperiencePoint Inc., Toronto. Human resources consulting; 56 employees. Encourages employees to lead healthy lives with an employee-led wellness committee and a health benefits plan featuring a wellness spending account.
FBM Architecture | Interior Design, Halifax. Architecture; 46 employees. Quickly moved employees to work-from-home and ensured they had the required equipment to set up workspaces at home.
Financeit Canada Inc., Toronto. Consumer financing; 236 employees. Created numerous communication initiatives to keep employees in touch while working from home, including virtual meditation, yoga and fitness classes.
First Capital REIT, Toronto. Real estate development and management; 340 employees. Offers a share purchase plan and a year-end bonus program open to all employees.
FISPAN Services Inc., Vancouver. Software development; 59 employees. Supports employee well-being through a formal mental health strategy that encourages employees to practice daily mindfulness training.
Flaman Sales Ltd., Saskatoon. Retail, farm machinery, equipment and home fitness; 408 employees. Offers flexible work arrangements where possible, including telecommuting, flexible hours, shortened work weeks and a compressed work week option.
Fresche Solutions Inc., Montreal. Computer system design; 175 employees. Offers new parents the option to extend their parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence and phase-in options for returning parents.
FreshBooks, Toronto. Software publishers; 404 employees. Provides an extensive three-week onboarding process managed by dedicated onboarding specialists.
Fresh Prep Foods Inc., Vancouver. Food processing; 199 employees. Experienced impressive employment growth over the past year, adding more than 100 new positions.
Fuller Landau LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 132 employees. Offers training and development for individuals at various stages of their career, from co-op placements to tuition subsidies for experienced employees.
Fundserv Inc., Toronto. Financial transaction processing; 100 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters with generous new employee referral bonuses for successful new hires.
Genoa Design International Ltd., Mount Pearl, N.L. Engineering design; 239 employees. Encourages employees to save for the long term with matching RSP contributions.
GeoComply Solutions Inc., Vancouver. Computer systems; 47 employees. Starts new employees with four weeks of paid vacation, with five or more weeks of starting vacation for candidates with over five years of experience.
Gould Industries Ltd., Anjou, Que. Consumer product manufacturing; 75 employees. Encourages ongoing employee development, including apprenticeships, mentoring, in-house and online training and tuition subsidies.
Great Little Box Company, The, Richmond, B.C. Box manufacturing; 421 employees. Rewards employee suggestions and cost-saving ideas with cash rewards.
Groundswell Cloud Solutions Inc., Vancouver. Cloud-based software services; 79 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm through generous new employee referral bonuses.
GSoft, Montreal. Computer software; 270 employees. Offers exceptional family-friendly benefits, providing maternity and parental top-up for mothers, fathers and adoptive parents, to 80 per cent of salary for up to 50 weeks.
Hatfield Consultants LLP, North Vancouver. Environmental consulting; 145 employees. Offers flexible work options to help employees balance work and personal lives, including working from home and flexible hours.
Hudson Pacific Properties, Vancouver. Real estate development; 25 employees. Manages a formal year-end bonus program to let employees share in the company’s successes.
Humania Assurance Inc., Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. Insurance; 168 employees. Cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan available to all employees.
Integrated Sustainability, Calgary. Environmental consulting; 70 employees. Offers employees in-house and online training along with tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current position.
InvestorCOM Inc., Brantford, Ont. Computer software; 70 employees. Starts newest employees with three weeks paid vacation and considers previous work experience when setting individual vacation entitlement.
iQmetrix, Vancouver. Computer software; 349 employees. Offers exceptional family-friendly benefits, including a lifetime maximum of $25,000 for IVF if needed.
ISA Cybersecurity Ltd., Toronto. Computer security; 65 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm through generous new employee referral bonuses when they successfully recruit a friend.
Jacob Bros Construction Inc., Surrey, B.C. Construction; 297 employees. Supports numerous charitable initiatives, focusing on programs that support youth, underprivileged children and non-profits that assist the homeless.
Johnston Group Inc., Winnipeg. Insurance and group benefits; 293 employees. Encourages overall employee wellness through a dedicated internal well-being program.
Keirton Inc., Surrey, B.C. Industrial equipment design and manufacturing; 68 employees. Participates in the “Not Myself Today” mental health awareness program, hosting quarterly workshops and supporting employee ambassadors.
Keystone Environmental Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Environmental consulting; 98 employees. Allows longer-serving employees to apply for an unpaid leave of absence, up to one year in duration.
LANDRY et associés, Montreal. Computer systems design; 14 employees. Enhanced its wellness spending benefit during the pandemic to cover home fitness equipment and needed purchases to set up comfortable home offices.
Lane Technologies Inc., Toronto. Computer software; 59 employees. Has continued to enjoy impressive employment growth over the past year.
Larochelle Groupe Conseil Inc., Montreal. Information technology consulting; 115 employees. Provides a health spending account as part of its health benefits plan to offer flexibility and ensure coverage suits employee needs.
LBMX Inc., London, Ont. Computer software; 59 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm through generous new employee referral bonuses when they successfully recruit a friend.
Litco Law, Calgary. Law firms; 110 employees. Offers a dedicated mental health practitioner benefit, up to $1,500 annually, as part of its health benefits plan.
Logient, Montreal. Computer systems design; 129 employees. Helps employees save for the future through matching RSP contributions.
Loopio Inc., Toronto. Software developer; 150 employees. Starts new employees with six weeks of paid vacation and manages a vacation top-up program.
LPI Mechanical Inc., Brampton, Ont. Commercial and industrial HVAC services; 159 employees. Lets employees share in the company’s successes through a generous year-end bonus program.
LuminUltra Technologies Ltd., Fredericton. Water quality testing; 103 employees. Encourages ongoing professional development through tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions.
MacroHealth Canada, Vancouver. Information technology services; 62 employees. Offers a no-limit paid vacation policy as well as additional time off through the Christmas to New Year’s holidays.
McDougall Gauley LLP, Saskatoon. Law firms; 119 employees. Offered needed equipment and ergonomic advice to all employees to ensure proper home office set-ups.
MetOcean Telematics Ltd., Dartmouth, N.S. Communications technology; 83 employees. Developed a formal “Working with Covid” policy to oversee safety and mitigation protocols.
Mission Group Enterprises Ltd., Kelowna, B.C. Housing construction; 71 employees. Offers employees tuition subsidies for courses related and not directly related to their current position.
Nakisa Inc., Montreal. Computer systems design; 162 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for job-related courses as well as subsidies for professional accreditation.
Nicola Wealth Management Ltd., Vancouver. Investment management; 291 employees. Provides up to 10 paid personal days each year which can be used for illness or personal reasons, along with a minimum of three weeks paid time off.
Noseworthy Chapman Chartered Professional Accountants, St. John’s. Accounting; 53 employees. Supports new moms, dads and adoptive parents with a weekly fixed payment top-up for the full year of their maternity and parental leave.
Olympia Financial Group Inc., Calgary. Trust, fiduciary and custody activities and related IT services; 215 employees. Encourages employees to save for the future through generous matching RSP contributions.
PDFTron Systems Inc., Vancouver. Software; 93 employees. Enjoyed significant employee growth over the past year, adding 35 new positions.
Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP / s.r.l., Ottawa. Law firms; 110 employees. Helps employees save for life after work with a defined contribution pension plan.
Points, Toronto. Customer loyalty program software; 241 employees. Offers a generous mental health practitioner benefit, up to $3,000 per year, as part of its benefits plan.
PrairieCoast Equipment, Mission, B.C. Farm, garden machinery and equipment distribution; 259 employees. Encourages employees to support local charitable initiatives with paid volunteer time and matching charitable donations.
Prevue HR Systems Inc., Vancouver. Software; 23 employees. Offers one full year of maternity and parental top-up payments to 100 per cent of salary for new moms, dads and adoptive parents.
Promation, Oakville, Ont. Tooling, automation and robotic systems manufacturer; 115 employees. Increased its starting vacation for new employees from two to three weeks and its maximum vacation entitlement to five weeks for long-serving employees.
PSB Boisjoli LLP, Mont-Royal, Que. Accounting; 220 employees. Offers employees one paid volunteer day every year along with matching charitable donations.
RecycleSmart Solutions Inc., Richmond, B.C. Waste treatment and disposal; 67 employees. Offers matching RSP contributions and flexible phased-in retirement work options for employees nearing retirement.
Redbrick Technologies Inc., Victoria. Computer software; 70 employees. Offers a matching RSP program and referral bonuses for employees who successfully refer a friend.
Rewind, Orléans, Ont. Computer software; 67 employees. Encourages employees to take a four-week paid sabbatical every four years.
R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Engineering; 241 employees. Maintains progressive time off policies that allow employees to take time off for themselves.
Richter LLP, Montreal. Accounting; 477 employees. Lets employees share in business successes through a year-end bonus program.
Righteous Gelato Ltd., Calgary. Gelato and sorbet production and cafe; 32 employees. Moves full-time employees to unlimited paid vacation after one year of employment.
Rogers Insurance Ltd., Calgary. Insurance; 409 employees. Supports employees with college-aged kids through an academic scholarship program.
RTDS Technologies Inc., Winnipeg. Computer technology; 75 employees. Promotes healthy lifestyles with a fitness reimbursement program of $300 annually.
R.V. Anderson Associates Ltd., Toronto. Engineering; 347 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm with generous new employee referral bonuses, from $2,500 to $8,500.
Sensei Labs Inc., Toronto. Computer software; 64 employees. Hosts personal health and wellness days, including open mental health discussions along with a generous mental health practitioners benefit.
Sequence Bioinformatics Inc., St. John’s. Biotechnology and data analytics; 27 employees. Offers a no-limit vacation policy along with paid holiday shutdown during the Christmas to New Year’s holidays.
Silvacom Ltd., Edmonton. Custom computer software and consulting; 74 employees. Allows employees to earn extra time off during the summer months through a formal earned days off program.
SilverChef Rentals Inc., Vancouver. Commercial equipment wholesalers; 45 employees. Encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm with generous new employee referral bonuses when they successfully recruit a friend.
Sionna Investment Managers Inc., Toronto. Investment management; 22 employees. Worked to keep employees connected while working from home through weekly online workouts as well as encouraging flexible hours.
SkyWatch Space Applications Inc., Kitchener, Ont. Computer technology; 28 employees. Provided all employees with a generous stipend to ensure they could develop a comfortable home office.
Smart & Biggar, Ottawa. Law firms; 301 employees. Created a Re-opening Our Offices Team (ROOT) to develop plans for a gradual return to the office.
Startec, Calgary. Commercial refrigeration systems; 174 employees. Invested in additional IT resources and let employees bring office furniture home if needed.
SysGen Solutions Group Ltd., Calgary. Information technology consulting; 84 employees. Offers a variety of alternative working options including compressed work weeks, flexible hours and telecommuting.
System1 Canada ULC, Guelph, Ont. Information technology consulting; 64 employees. Offers share purchase and profit-sharing programs and a generous year-end bonus program.
Tehama Inc. Ottawa. Computer software; 71 employees. Offers a flexible time-off policy providing employees with 30 days of flexible time to be used throughout the year, whether for paid vacation, sick time, professional development or volunteering.
Theratechnologies Inc., Montreal. Biopharmaceutical research and development; 63 employees. Offers a summer hours program that includes early closing on Friday afternoons from the end of May to Labour Day.
theScore, Toronto. Digital media; 266 employees. Has implemented enhanced cleaning protocols along with a flex desk booking program for onsite work.
Thinkific Labs Inc., Vancouver. Online learning software; 246 employees. Includes a wellness spending account as well as a generous mental health practitioner benefit in its health benefits plan.
TrackTik Software Inc., Montreal. Computer software; 146 employees. Quickly moved employees to work-from-home and adjusted work schedules to help employees balance their work and personal schedules.
Translational Research in Oncology, Edmonton. Clinical research activities; 105 employees. Offered a one-time home office allowance as well as a subsidy of $70 per month to help employees cover the cost of internet.
Trisura Guarantee Insurance Co., Toronto. Insurance; 151 employees. Offers employees the option to purchase one additional week of vacation every year, with the option to spread their payroll deductions over the year.
Uberflip, Toronto. Cloud-based marketing software; 133 employees. Introduced a hybrid model that lets employees balance at home and onsite work.
Uken Inc., Toronto. Game developer; 97 employees. Offers in-house training programs as well as tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions.
Vena Solutions Inc., Toronto. Software development; 413 employees. Manages an employee stock options plan for its full-time employees.
VERB Interactive Inc., Halifax. Marketing and advertising; 158 employees. Offers a health spending account as part of its benefits plan, providing a little flexibility to top up coverage as needed.
Visier Inc., Vancouver. Software developer; 296 employees. Covered home internet and phone services for employees while working from home.
Voonyx Inc., Quebec. Computer software; 114 employees. Offers four weeks of starting vacation allowance, moving to six weeks for long-serving employees.
WalterFedy Inc., Kitchener, Ont. Architectural and engineering services; 184 employees. Offers employees full tuition subsidies for academic courses related to their current position along with in-house and online training programs.
Wesgroup Equipment LP, Surrey, B.C. Industrial machinery and equipment distribution; 161 employees. Recognizes exceptional employee performance through its peer nominated monthly G.R.I.T. awards.
Zymeworks Inc., Vancouver. Biopharmaceutical research and development; 224 employees. Encourages employees to support community initiatives through up to five paid volunteer days off annually.
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