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GTA’s Top 100 Employers set the bar high for workplace standards

Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic plays a video game for kids with cerebral palsy at a two-week therapy and fitness program for kids at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, one of the GTA’s top employers. Mr. Raonic has raised funds through the Milos Raonic Foundation for hospital programs.

Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

It's tough to land a spot on the Greater Toronto's Top Employer list. As Canada's biggest metropolitan area, the GTA is home to a rich diversity of organizations, representing a broad range of industries in everything from technology to health care, auto manufacturing to publishing, banking to breweries.

Competition is fierce among competing companies in this editorial contest, not only to be judged the best within their industry, but also in the wider GTA landscape.

In setting the bar high for workplace standards, GTA's Top Employers have demonstrated leading-edge initiatives to engage their employees and inspire people to be their best at work. Key is a variety of ongoing support for employee education and skills development to help individuals reach their full potential, whether through subsidies for tuition or professional accreditation, in-house training or mentoring programs.

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Other commonalities in the winning group include generous top-up payments for parental leave, vacation allowances starting at three weeks, flexible working arrangements and personal days off to be used as needed, recognizing that employees have an important life outside the workplace.

As a talented job seeker, these are the companies you want to work for. As an enlightened employer, these are the companies you want to be. The win is double.

Methodology

Who makes the winners' list and why? That's what everyone wants to know.

The editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers evaluate each employer's operations and human resources practices using the same eight criteria as the national competition of Canada's Top 100 Employers. Those criteria are: physical workplace; work atmosphere and social; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement. Employers are compared with other organizations in their field to determine which ones offer the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.

More detailed reasons for selection, explaining why each of the winners was chosen, are published on the competition's website, www.canadastop100.com/toronto.

Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in the Greater Toronto Area may apply for the Greater Toronto Area's Top Employers contest.

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GTA's Top Employers 2017

Accenture Inc., Toronto. Management consulting; 3,425 employees. Manages the LiveWell 365 initiative to support employee efforts to maintain or improve their health.

Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario / AMAPCEO, Toronto. Professional association; 40 employees. Encourages employees to reduce their carbon footprint through a transit subsidy program.

AstraZeneca Canada Inc., Mississauga. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 752 employees. Offers new parents an option to extend their paid leave into an unpaid leave of absence.

BASF Canada Inc., Mississauga. Chemical manufacturing; 693 employees. Encourages staff to connect with colleagues from across North America through its in-house eTV employee television network.

Bayer, Mississauga. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,522 employees. Provides paid time off for employees to volunteer in their local communities.

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Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,375 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance, phased-in work options and health benefits that extend to retirees.

Boston Consulting Group of Canada, Toronto. Management consulting; 200 employees. Offers up to 12 paid personal days off, which can be scheduled at employees' discretion.

CAA South Central Ontario, Thornhill, Ont. Insurance and brokerages; 1,231 employees. Provides weekly onsite visits from external fitness consultants, who conduct stretch breaks plus exercise and meditation classes.

Cadillac Fairview Corporation Ltd., Toronto. Real estate management; 1,251 employees. Supports a number of local, national and international charitable organizations each year.

Campbell Company of Canada, Toronto. Food preparation and packaging; 595 employees. Contributes to a matching RSP plan or a defined contribution pension plan, depending on the employee's position.

Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd., Toronto. Retail; 85,000 employees. Lets everyone share in the company's success through a profit-sharing plan.

Capital One Bank (Canada Branch), North York, Ont. Credit card issuing; 973 employees. Provides several onsite amenities at head office, including a cafeteria with subsidized meals, a nap room and employee lounge.

Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Toronto. Child and youth services; 503 employees. Provides employees with a health spending account of up to $1,000 a year.

Central Community Care Access Centre / CCAC, Newmarket. Home health-care services; 646 employees. Offers flexible hours and a telecommuting option.

Children's Aid Society of Toronto, The, Toronto. Child and youth services; 770 employees. Provides generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents.

CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 36,215 employees. Manages a formal CIBC@Work program to help employees design work schedules that suit their individual needs.

Cisco Systems Canada Co., Toronto. Computer and equipment manufacturing; 1,741 employees. Invests in ongoing employee education with generous tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to $7,500).

Coca-Cola Canada, Toronto. Beverage and food manufacturing; 5,252 employees. Provides opportunities for formal mentoring and in-house career planning services.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, The, Toronto. Professional organizations; 375 employees. Contributes to a defined contribution pension plan and provides retirement planning assistance.

Corby Spirit & Wine Ltd. / Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd., Toronto. Liquor and wine manufacturing; 457 employees. Encourages a culture of recognition through the iThank reward program, allowing employees to issue virtual badges to their colleagues.

Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto. Media production and broadcasting; 1,513 employees. Recognizes employee contributions through a number of awards including the Creative Spark Award to recognize and celebrate in-house talent.

CSA Group, Toronto. Professional standards organization; 722 employees. Offers an academic scholarship program for children of employees pursuing post-secondary studies.

Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 190 employees. Provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers and fathers.

Dynacare, Brampton, Ont. Medical laboratories; 2,012 employees. Offers flexible benefit options including a health spending account.

EllisDon Corp., Mississauga. Building construction; 1,721 employees. Cultivates an ownership mentality through a share purchase plan, available to all employees.

Equitable Bank, Toronto. Real estate lending; 525 employees. Encourages employees to give back to local communities by providing paid time off to volunteer and matching employee donations.

Fidelity Canada, Toronto. Portfolio management; 792 employees. Offers alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, a shortened work-week option and reduced summer hours.

Fleet Complete, Toronto. Fleet and mobile resource tracking; 178 employees. Offers referral bonuses for employees who help recruit candidates in their network.

Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,140 employees. Encourages employees to adopt healthy lifestyles through the "trifit' wellness program.

GCI Communications Inc., Toronto. Public relations; 26 employees. Rewards employees who leverage their network with a New Business Incentive Program, offering a finders' fee for new business secured and referral bonuses.

General Electric Canada / GE, Mississauga. Diversified technology and equipment manufacturing; 7,213 employees. Offers paid internships and a unique scholarship program for women and aboriginal students pursuing engineering or business degrees.

General Motors of Canada Company, Oshawa. Auto manufacturing; 8,264 employees. Created JumpStart, an affinity group for new hires with fewer than five years of experience.

George Brown College, Toronto. College; 1,380 employees. Offers subsidized access to onsite daycare at the college's main campus to employees who are new parents when they return to work.

Great Blue Heron Casino, Port Perry, Ont. Casinos; 685 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for job-related courses and subsidies for professional accreditation.

Griffith Foods Ltd., Toronto. Spice and extract manufacturing; 334 employees. Encourages employee creativity through the Fresh Ideas Awards, which recognize innovation and suggestions for improvement.

Halton, Regional Municipality of, Oakville, Ont. Municipal government; 1,803 employees. Launched a new internship and apprenticeship program to introduce recent graduates to public-sector employment.

Hatch Ltd., Mississauga. Engineering; 2,930 employees. Provides several onsite amenities at head office including a cafeteria with subsidized meals and healthy and special-diet menus.

Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada / HIROC, Toronto. Insurance; 94 employees. Offers contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto. Hospital; 514 employees. Provides a generous health-spending account, allowing employees to top up levels of coverage according to their personal needs.

Home Depot of Canada Inc., Toronto. Retail; 13,790 employees. Focuses its charitable efforts on addressing youth homelessness in Canada through partnerships with related community organizations.

Hospital for Sick Children, The, Toronto. Hospital; 5,487 employees. Launched an online pension centre to provide employees with a more convenient user experience.

HP Canada Co., Mississauga. Computer technology and services; 513 employees. Offers a flexible benefits option in their health plan, allowing employees to customize levels of coverage to suit their personal needs and transfer unused credits to additional salary or savings.

Hydro One Ltd., Toronto. Electric power distribution; 5,482 employees. Supports women in trades through a dedicated networking forum.

IMAX Corp., Mississauga. Motion picture theatres; 336 employees. Maintains two bicycles for employees to use as needed during the workday.

Intact Financial Corp., Toronto. Insurance; 11,314 employees. Offers an onsite daycare centre, through a third-party daycare provider, when new parents are ready to return to work.

Intelex Technologies Inc., Toronto. Software publishers; 350 employees. Offers three weeks of starting vacation allowance as well as up to six paid personal days off each year.

KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 6,385 employees. Manages a virtual Special Parents Network to support parents of children with special physical, emotional or behavioural needs.

Kruger Products L.P., Mississauga. Paper products; 1,885 employees. Increased maternity and parental top-up support for employees who are new parents, including adoptive parents.

Labatt Breweries of Canada, Toronto. Breweries; 3,143 employees. Offers interested employees the popular Labatt Beer Mastercard that comes pre-loaded with two cases each month.

Law Society of Upper Canada, The, Toronto. Professional organizations; 529 employees. Offers onsite instructor-led classes such as yoga, pilates and meditation as well as naturopathy and massage therapy sessions.

Loblaw Companies Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 28,481 employees. Offers tuition subsidies and a variety of in-house training initiatives.

Manulife, Toronto. Insurance; 12,868 employees. Established a dedicated council led by the president and CEO to spearhead the company's diversity strategy.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., Toronto. Sports and entertainment; 805 employees. Offers subsidies for professional accreditation and opportunities for formal mentoring.

Mars Inc., Bolton, Ont. Food manufacturing; 1,068 employees. Encourages employees to bring their furry friends to work and provides a dedicated doggie courtyard.

Mazda Canada Inc., Richmond Hill, Ont. Auto wholesale; 147 employees. Works with various schools to provide paid co-op and internship opportunities throughout the year.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,435 employees. Supports employees who want to start a family with a generous IVF subsidy when needed (up to $12,000).

Metrolinx, Toronto. Public transit; 3,071 employees. Encourages employees to submit ideas through the Ideas@Work initiative that will result in a better workplace, improved customer satisfaction, operating efficiencies and cost savings.

Michael Garron Hospital, Toronto. Hospitals; 1,474 employees. Offers onsite massage therapy, acupuncture and reflexology services as well as guided meditation exercises.

Miller Group, The, Markham, Ont. Highway, street and bridge construction; 4,646 employees. Offers paid internships, co-op opportunities and summer student roles for students and new grads.

Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., Mississauga. Pharmaceutical preparation manufacturing; 283 employees. Offers a dedicated Women in Novo Nordisk program to advance the career development of female employees.

Olympus Canada Inc., Richmond, Ont. Medical, industrial and imaging equipment; 233 employees. Encourages employees to give back to the community by providing paid time off to volunteer.

Ontario Public Service/ OPS, Toronto. Provincial government; 62,080 employees. Allows employees to apply for an unpaid leave of absence or a self-funded leave of absence for up to one year in duration.

Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Whitby, Ont. Hospitals; 858 employees. Offers alternative work arrangements, including flexible hours, telecommuting and shortened and compressed work-week options.

PepsiCo Canada, Mississauga. Beverage and food manufacturing; 9,358 employees. Offers a dedicated program to help students and new grads transition to the workplace.

Points, Toronto. Software development; 180 employees. Cultivates an ownership culture through a share-purchase program, available to all employees.

PowerStream Inc., Vaughan, Ont. Electric power distribution; 553 employees. Offers a number of in-house apprenticeships as well as a four-year engineer-in-training program.

Praxair Canada Inc., Mississauga. Gas and related product wholesalers; 2,235 employees. Encourages employees to continue their education with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions.

Procter & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,754 employees. Promotes health and wellness through their Vibrant Living program, including an annual health risk assessment and mental health awareness events.

RBC, Toronto. Banking; 52,488 employees. Provides new collaborative work spaces, support for telecommuting and increased access to video conferencing technology for greater work force mobility.

Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Communications, cable, publishing and subscription programming; 23,177 employees. Offers discounts on a variety of products and services, from cellphone plans to Toronto Blue Jays tickets.

Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., Toronto. Tobacco product manufacturing; 789 employees. Provides three weeks of starting vacation as well as up to 10 paid personal days off, scheduled at employees' discretion.

Rouge Valley Health System / RVHS, Toronto. Hospitals; 1,725 employees. Participates in Ontario's Nursing Graduate Guarantee Initiative, providing full-time employment opportunities to recent graduates.

Ryder Canada Inc., Mississauga. Truck rentals and freight transportation; 1,588 employees. Maintains a generous academic scholarship program to support children of employees who wish to pursue postsecondary studies.

Ryerson University, Toronto. University; 2,958 employees. Employs a mental health co-ordinator, responsible for overseeing related initiatives across campus and within the organization's mental health committee.

Salesforce Canada Corp., Toronto. Custom computer programming; 1,184 employees. Provides private shower facilities for cycle commuters.

Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., Mississauga. Communications equipment manufacturing; 517 employees. Supports the goal of increasing the presence of women in executive positions by providing development, informal mentorship and networking opportunities.

SAP Canada Inc., Toronto. Custom computer programming; 2,863 employees. Invests in employees' ongoing education through generous tuition subsidies (up to $10,000 each year).

Seneca College, Toronto. Colleges; 1,502 employees. Established an accessibility policy with the goal of making Seneca barrier-free by 2025.

Siemens Canada Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Engineering; 4,904 employees. Has a formal program to encourage telecommuting as a way to eliminate unnecessary driving.

Sigma Systems Canada LP, Toronto. Computer systems design; 103 employees. Provides paid time off to volunteer and generously matches employee donations dollar-for-dollar (to a maximum of $25,000).

State Street Canada, Toronto. Investment banking and securities dealing; 1,267 employees. Offers generous tuition subsidies for courses both related and unrelated to an employee's current position (to $5,000).

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,950 employees. Operates a convenient onsite daycare facility.

Tangerine Bank, Toronto. Banking; 1,075 employees. Offers referral bonuses (up to $1,500) to encourage employees to help recruit candidates from their network.

TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 43,273 employees. Pioneered a green building program with more than 170 LEED certified projects including more than 120 building locations with solar power generation.

Teranet Inc., Toronto. Land registration; 517 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance and health benefits that extend to retirees (with no age limit).

Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., Toronto. Publishers: 1,196 employees. Manages an Early Careers Network to help early career professionals reach their full potential.

Toronto Community Housing Corp., Toronto. Administration of housing programs; 1,695 employees. Helps employees save for the future with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan.

Toronto International Film Festival / TIFF, Toronto. Motion picture promotion and film festival; 228 employees. Hosts unique film-related initiatives, in addition to TIFF, such as the TIFF Kids International Film Festival.

Toronto Transit Commission / TTC, Toronto. Public transit; 14,256 employees. Created a Diversity and Inclusion Lens, to encourage employees to think about the unintended impacts their decisions may have on diverse groups.

Toronto, City of, Toronto. Municipal government; 22,983 employees. Created the Partnership to Advance Youth Employment (PAYE) program, a joint initiative between the city and private-sector employers to connect youth from diverse neighbourhoods.

Ubisoft Toronto Inc., Toronto. Software publishers; 3,494 employees. Lets everyone share in the company's success with year-end bonuses and a profit-sharing plan.

Unilever Canada Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,362 employees. Supports adoptive parents with a generous subsidy to help cover the costs of adoption (to $10,000 per child).

University of Toronto, Toronto. University; 9,286 employees. Supports retiring academic personnel through an Academic Retiree Centre that helps retirees continue their research and professional activities.

UTC Aerospace Systems Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Aircraft parts and equipment manufacturing; 1,000 employees. Manages a rotational skills training program with streams for employees who are early in their career as well as for experienced high-potential employees.

William Osler Health System, Brampton, Ont. Hospitals; 2,994 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for courses both related and unrelated to an employee's current role.

Wipro Technologies Ltd., Mississauga. Computer systems design; 819 employees. Provides paid time off to volunteer and matches employee donations dollar-for-dollar (to a maximum of $750 per employee).

World Vision Canada, Mississauga. Charitable organizations; 479 employees. Offers employees opportunities to travel and work at its field locations for up to two years.

YMCA of Greater Toronto, Toronto. Individual and family services; 1,546 employees. Offers free access to their fitness facilities, including squash courts, a pool, running tracks and exercise equipment.

York Regional Police, Aurora, Ont. Police service; 2,190 employees. Hosts a Youth Advisory Council, comprised of high-school students from across York Region.

YWCA Toronto, Toronto. Individual and family services; 185 employees. Offers phased-in work options to help employees make the transition to retirement.

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