By News Wire |
British Columbia residents are long accustomed to rankings that rate the province’s quality-of-life and scenery as among the best in the world. These days, however, there’s another accolade that’s putting a spring into the step of residents: at just 4.4%, B.C. is home to the lowest unemployment rate in Canada – and employers are going out of their way to attract and retain employees. That’s the message from this year’s BC’s Top Employers, announced this morning by the editors of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project at Mediacorp Canada Inc.
“Many of the nation’s best employers are found in British Columbia,” says Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. “This year’s list of winners reflects the province’s highly diversified economy and is the product of decades of public investment in education and creating highly livable and desirable urban centres. Employers in British Columbia compete on an international stage for the best and brightest talent from around the world.”
“We are also seeing an increased focus by the best employers on employee wellness, paying attention to their whole self,” adds Kristina Leung, Senior Editor at the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. “The concept of sustainability is well-established in B.C. when it comes to the environment and the economy – the best employers are extending this concept into the workplace, focusing on their employees’ need for wellness.”
Some notable initiatives the editors highlighted this year:
- Vancouver-based HSBC Bank Canada provides employees with a flexible health benefits plan that includes a $500 annual wellness credit, which can be used to achieve health goals, such as health-related technology (iPads, tablets), gym membership or nutrition counselling.
- Vancouver-based engineering firm Knight Piésold provides employees with tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to $1,500 annually) and offers specialized in-house training courses, including a special program that lets employees gain work experience at offices around the world.
- Absolute Software in Vancouver rewards outstanding employee performance with paid days off – and a special four-day travel reward that includes airfare, accommodations and a $500 spending allowance.
- Following the federal government’s expanded EI maternity and parental leave, Vancouver-based Vancity has boosted its own maternity and parental leave top-up (to 85% of salary for 78 weeks) and has increased parental leave for new dads and adoptive parents (to 85% of salary for 61 weeks).
- ToursByLocals of Vancouver cultivates an ownership culture through a company share purchase plan that’s available to all employees – and lets all staff share in the company’s success with a company-wide profit-sharing program.
UBC promotes employee-led activities that encourage workplace well-being through a unique program that provides start-up funds and support for grassroots health-related and sustainable initiatives, from yoga classes to bike-share programs and community gardens.
- Along with helping employees save for the future, WorkSafeBC provides retirement planning assistance and health benefits that extend to retirees (with no age limit and fully paid premiums).