The Top-Rated Workplaces in Canada 2017

Top-Rated Workplaces: Best in Canada

Today we live in an age of transparency, where online company reviews can greatly influence a job seeker’s decision about where to apply. With more information than ever at their fingertips, candidates have access to insider perspectives on a company’s culture, compensation, advancement opportunities, management and more.

But employee reviews aren’t just useful for applicants. They can also help company leaders better assess the effectiveness of their own practices, see how they compare to the competition and get recommendations about how to improve the employee experience. No company — big or small — can ignore this new reality.

So who is winning the battle for the hearts and minds of their employees? To identify the best companies to work for in Canada, we tapped into our database of over 600,000 employee reviews collected from across the nation and identified the 25 companies that stood out among the rest.

Our data science team crunched the numbers. Let’s take a look at the results and see which employers rose to the top.

Banking behemoth RBC is number one

The companies that made our list of the best places to work offer an exemplary employee experience. These employers received praise for their commitment to providing a great culture and work-life balance, along with great pay and benefits, among other factors.  

So, who came out on top?

The number one ranked company is RBC, one of Canada’s largest banks and a global financial services provider.  

To see the full list of the 25 best companies to work for in Canada, scroll to the bottom.

RBC is followed by public transit agency Toronto Transit Commission and telecommunications provider TELUS Communications. The fourth and fifth positions are taken by vehicle manufacturer General Motors (GM) and The Hospital for Sick Children.

Strong performances were also delivered by WestJet Airlines (#6) and H&R Block (#7). Meanwhile, three more financial service providers round out the top ten: TD Canada Trust (#8), Sun Life Financial (#9) and Desjardins (#10).

Top employers optimize for happiness

Although financial services companies occupy half of the top ten positions, Canada’s best employers list represents a variety of industries including healthcare, energy, transit, aviation and manufacturing. However, there is one thing they all have in common — culture.

Culture is now more important than ever to companies, employees and job seekers.  Companies recognize the value of investing in their workforce to attract the best candidates. Meanwhile, current employees and job seekers want a strong company culture and clear values.

As Indeed Managing Director Jodi Kasten observes, “Increasingly we see that the modern workforce optimizes for happiness. Companies that are willing to evolve and invest in their workforce will continue to attract and retain top talent.”

The best of the best: what they’re doing right

Among the numerous positive reviews for Canada’s top employers, many applaud the commitment to nurturing a great corporate culture and cultivating an environment that’s based on open communication and a sense of community.

Let’s take a deeper dive to see what employees had to say about the best of the best — the top five:

1. RBC

Founded: 1864

HQ: Toronto, Ontario

No. of Employees: 10,000+ (in Canada)

RBC connects its corporate culture to its business practices with a corporate environment built on integrity, fairness and respect. The company seeks to bring out the best in each employee. Judging by its spot at the top of our list of the best places to work in Canada, this mantra appears to be working well.

Many reviews cite a fast-paced environment, which is not surprising for a company that strives for excellence. Another common word in employee reviews is “friendly,” which is used to describe the environment and people.

RBC earns high marks for its culture and many employee reviews highlight this aspect. For instance one employee describes a “great overall company culture that continuously strives for success,” while another characterizes the work culture as “excellent.” Other reviewers consistently cite teamwork as a positive aspect of their jobs along with support for career advancement.

2. Toronto Transit Commission

Founded: 1921

HQ: Toronto, Ontario

No. of Employees: 12,000

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) welcomed its 31 billionth customer this summer and is the fourth most heavily used urban transit system in North America (after New York City, Mexico City and Montreal).

The TTC also takes an innovative approach to recognizing employee efforts and actively developing its employees. Its rewards and recognition program is part of a five-year corporate plan to create an empowered, customer-focused workforce that values teamwork and takes pride in its work. Honoring outstanding employees at an annual event is just one part of the program.

Employees are taking notice. According to one reviewer TTC is an “excellent company to work for” where “management takes care of its employees,” adding that “you can raise a family and retire comfortably.”

Among the top five employers, TTC earned the highest marks for salary and benefits, which is also reflected in reviews. “Good wages and benefits, great pension plan,” says one employee. “Excellent benefits and growth opportunities,” adds another.

3. TELUS Communications

Founded: 1958 (1990 in current form)

HQ: Burnaby, British Columbia

No. of Employees: 10,000+

Canada’s fastest growing telecommunications provider, TELUS is innovating wireless communication, having recently announced the completion of a 5G wireless connection pilot program, which will replace LTE within three years.

TELUS is a forward-thinking organization, receiving international recognition for its philanthropic efforts and occupying a spot in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 16 years running. Living by the company’s values and a “customer first” philosophy, employees give TELUS high marks for work-life balance and culture, which is described as “great” and “positive” in reviews, with one employee adding that “people are very friendly and always there to offer any help necessary.”

According to employees, TELUS looks after its workers’ careers. For instance, according to one reviewer, “You will be rewarded if you have the right skill set and have the skills to create a network to move around within the company.” A flexible work environment allowing remote work also earns the company high marks, with one employee describing a “great work from home culture.”

4. General Motors

Founded: 1908

HQ: Oshawa, Ontario

No. of Employees: 10,000+ (in Canada)

Global car manufacturing giant General Motors has a large presence in Canada, with about 5% of its global workplace located here. With a business philosophy that places a high priority on having a positive effect on customers’ well-being and quality of life, this also translates to the company’s approach to its workforce. Its employees rated the company highly for work-life balance and culture.

In fact, one reviewer describes GM as the “best place I have ever worked,” while also adding accolades for the company’s “terrific skilled trades support and training from management and engineering.” GM scored highest among the top five employers for salary and benefits.

Overall, it appears that the company’s investment in its people is what pays off the most. Says one former employee: “I was proud and happy of the work I did there…GM spends a lot of money on ergonomics and the lines pace, work is reasonable and you go home happy.”

5. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

Founded: 1875

HQ: Toronto, Ontario

No. of Employees: 8,000

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is a purpose-driven, research-focused hospital dedicated to children’s health care. The health care providers at SickKids use cutting-edge research to inform teaching and provide a high level of care to sick children.

It’s perhaps not surprising that a hospital which strives to provide family-centered, compassionate care would receive high reviews in the areas of culture and work-life  balance. This is reflected in its impressive turnover and sick time numbers, with a voluntary attrition rate of just 3.5% and average annual number of sick days of 4.7 — less than half of the Ontario Hospital Association’s average.  As one reviewer puts it, “SickKids Hospital is truly an inspiring and motivating place to work…Overall, an amazing workplace culture.”

Other employee reviews praise the hospital’s family-oriented work environment, describing it as collaborative and supportive. According to one employee, the  SickKids CEO knows employees by name and will greet them in the hallways. Receiving the highest management score among the top five, the hospital’s management is described as “transparent” with an “open door policy” across the institution.

Want to learn more? Click on the banner to take a deeper dive into the data on the best places to work in 2017.

top-rated workplaces in Canada