To create the Top Family-Friendly Employer list for 2012, Mediacorp, which oversees the competition, examined the most progressive and forward-thinking workplace benefits valued by families. These included maternity and parental leave top-up payments, generous vacation and personal days off, flexible work options, emergency daycare support, eldercare support and childcare costs for employees attending events or business trips.
"Many of these benefits are not big-ticket expenses but rather represent an ongoing evolution in how we want to work and an enlightened approach for employers looking to attract and retain their work forces," says Richard Yerema, managing editor of Canada's Top 100 Employers, including the Family-Friendly competition.
"Less than five years ago, we considered maternity and parental leave top-up over 20 weeks to be quite generous," he says. "It still is, but we now see more than a few with much more generous top-up, ranging up to 95 per cent for the full year of one's leave.
"In addition, it is only five years ago that just over half of all the winners of the Canada's Top 100 Employers competition indicated they offered a maternity top-up benefit. Today, 100 per cent of the winners offer such and 60 per cent offer some parental leave top-up for new fathers. It's definitely an area where government policy (with the extension of parental leave in 2000) and the ensuing business and employer response has created a positive outcome for employees looking to start a family."
Click on the name of each employer to read more about why they were chosen.
Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto. Child and youth services; 582 employees. Offers employees four weeks of vacation to start.
Dalhousie University , Halifax, N.S. Post-secondary education; 3,278 employees. Offers generous tuition subsides for employees' immediate family members.
Desjardins Group, Lévis, Que. Credit union; 34,713 employees. Offers maternity and parental leave top-up payments.
Georgian College , Barrie, Ont. Post-secondary education; 744 employees. Offers a variety of alternative working options, from telecommuting to reduced hours in the summer.
HP Advanced Solutions Inc. , Victoria. Computer services; 401 employees. Provides parental leave top-up payments to new fathers and adoptive parents.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada , Gatineau, Que. General government support; 24,768 employees. Offers health benefits during their employees' maternity and parental leave.
ISM Canada , Regina. Computer services; 499 employees. Offers fertility drug treatments through its health benefits plan.
Johnson Inc. , St. John's, Nfld. Insurance; 1,273 employees. Manages an academic scholarship program for children of employees who attend post-secondary institutions.
Manitoba Hydro , Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 5,959 employees. New employees start with three weeks of paid vacation.
National Energy Board , Calgary. Administration of economic programs; 338 employees. Offers flexible hours, telecommuting and a formal earned days-off program.
NB Power Holding Corporation , Fredericton. Power generation; 2,369 employees. Offers fertility drug treatments through its health benefits plan.
Office of the Auditor General of Canada , Ottawa. General government support; 689 employees. Offers a variety of alternative working arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, and shortened and compressed work week options.
Ontario Public Service , Toronto. General government support; 65,423 employees. Supports employees who are new mothers with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 93% of salary for 32 weeks).
Pfizer Canada Inc. , Kirkland, Que. Pharmaceuticals; 2,890 employees. Supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 100% of salary for 17 weeks).
Saskatchewan Government Insurance , Regina. Insurance; 1,722 employees. Offers compassionate leave top-up payments to employees who are called upon to care for a family member.
Simon Fraser University , Burnaby, B.C. Post-secondary education; 4,613 employees. Manages an onsite daycare facility.
Statistics Canada , Ottawa. General government support; 6,420 employees. Provides compassionate leave top-up payments to employees who are called upon to care for a family member.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre , Toronto. Hospital; 4,922 employees. Offers employees fertility drug treatments through its health benefits plan.
Toronto Hydro Corporation . Electric power distribution; 1,729 employees. Offers health benefit coverage during maternity and parental leave.
Vancouver City Savings Credit Union , 1,778 employees. Provides generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new mothers (to 85% of salary for 52 weeks).