Revealed! Best Places to Work in Canada 2024 – HRD Canada’s Top Picks

Best Places to Work in Canada 2024 list showcases organizations excelling in employee satisfaction

Revealed! Best Places to Work in Canada 2024 – HRD Canada’s Top Picks
BY HRD staff 11 Jun. 2024

Human Resources Director’s Best Places to Work in Canada 2024 list showcases organizations excelling in employee satisfaction by focusing on healthy work-life balance, open work environments, updated tech tools, team building, and strong coworker relationships. This year, the highlighted companies stood out for prioritizing their employees’ well-being, creating positive and inclusive cultures that enhance the overall employee experience.

Fidelity Investments Canada, with an impressive 87% employee satisfaction rating, has consistently ranked among HRD’s Best Places to Work. The company prioritizes listening to employees, resulting in a thriving culture of celebration and engagement. Fidelity’s initiatives include a subsidized full-service café, extended health and dental benefits, and strong advocacy for commuting solutions.

Diana Godfrey, Senior Vice President of HR and Corporate Affairs, emphasizes, “We try to put ourselves in our employees’ shoes, and we also lobbied our insurance company to extend health and dental benefits past the age of seventy.”

Excellence in employee engagement

Achieving an 82% employee satisfaction rating, The Peak Group of Companies, headquartered in British Columbia, excels in the home renovation and outdoor living products sector. The company’s culture is built on employee well-being, collaboration, and continuous improvement. Employees benefit from an education reimbursement program, cross-functional collaboration opportunities, and a strong emphasis on employee input. The organization supports charitable activities and fosters a family-friendly environment with hybrid work options.

“We care about our team members’ well-being and believe in prioritizing our people,” says Senior Human Resources Generalist Gloria Lam. “All of our staff have been carefully screened and selected to join us, and I think we all share those similar traits.”

With an overall employee satisfaction rating of 84%, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville attributes its thriving culture to its dedicated workforce of over 500 staff. Employees praised the relaxed dress code, strong coworker relationships, and excellent pay and benefits. The town promotes communication and transparency through quarterly town halls and wellness initiatives supporting work-life balance. The staff events committee enhances the work environment, organizing events like the employee appreciation day featuring games, balloons, and a poutine food truck.

Claudette Banks, HR Director, notes, “We run numerous events yearly, and we do it because we want staff to feel like coming to work is fun.”

Innovative work cultures
UNFI Canada, a national natural and organic food distributor based in Concord, ON, received a 77% employee satisfaction rating. The company is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, fostering strong coworker relationships, and maintaining high-quality office spaces. UNFI excels in remote and hybrid work arrangements, philanthropic activities, and comprehensive training programs. Employees appreciate open communication from senior leadership and the organization’s innovative approach to new technology and work practices.

Lyn Morgan, Senior Director of Human Resources, states, “When you’re providing sustenance to people, it’s rewarding, and a lot of us get a sense of satisfaction from the type of organization we are.”

Creative Options Regina (COR) is celebrated for its exceptional workplace culture, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and employee engagement. COR’s innovative approaches and dedication to their mission foster a unique and supportive work environment.

The Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP) is recognized for its employee-focused initiatives and comprehensive benefits. ASEBP’s commitment to wellness and professional development contributes to its high employee satisfaction and engagement.

ECO Canada excels in fostering a dynamic and supportive work environment, with a strong focus on sustainability and employee growth. Their commitment to professional development and environmental stewardship sets them apart as a top employer.

These organizations represent the best of the best, setting benchmarks for others to follow in creating environments where employees thrive and feel valued. Their dedication to employee satisfaction is not only commendable but also a blueprint for building outstanding workplace cultures in Canada.

Read the full article on the HRD website.

New Affordable Housing Units Open In Regina To Support People With Diverse Needs

Individuals with diverse needs have improved access to affordable and accessible housing in Regina thanks to a joint investment from the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, the City of Regina, and the National Affordable Housing Corporation (NAHC).

Today, Minister of Social Services and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation Gene Makowsky, joined representatives from the City of Regina and the NAHC in celebrating the opening of four new affordable housing units in the Rosewood Park neighbourhood of Regina.

The four, three-bedroom stacked townhome units at Plainsview Estates will provide affordable housing and supports for eight individuals experiencing mental health and physical disabilities.

The tenants of the new units will receive in-home support services and connection to community programs from Creative Options Regina. By combining housing with support services, vulnerable individuals can achieve stability and experience life in the community.

Funding provided for the project includes:

$160,000 from SHC through the Rental Development Program funded through the National Housing Strategy – Saskatchewan Priorities Initiative;
$110,500 from NAHC; and
$100,000 from the City of Regina.

Quotes:

“The federal government is working with provinces to ensure we address the housing needs across Canada,” Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan Dan Vandal on behalf of The Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Sean Fraser said. “Providing Saskatchewanians with access to safe, affordable homes and the support and services they need is a priority, and this is only possible through the hard work and collaboration of all our partners. I am thrilled to welcome these families into their new homes today, and I wish them all the best as they embark on this new chapter in their lives.”

 

“Our government is very proud to be a part of this important project that makes a difference in the lives of people with unique housing needs,” Makowsky said. “These new housing units give residents more than just a safe and affordable place to live; they also offer a support system, a connection to the community and an opportunity for residents to reach their full potential.”

 

“The City of Regina is grateful for the federal and provincial governments’ investment in our city, and we are pleased to partner with them to not only expand housing options for individuals experiencing disability, but also to create a space where they can connect and thrive,” City of regina Mayor Sandra Masters said. “By offering safe and accessible homes along with essential support services through Creative Options Regina, we are fostering a stronger, more inclusive community in Regina.”

 

“Expanding our affordable rentals to persons served by our partners at Creative Options Regina (COR) was an easy decision for the NAHC,” National Affordable Housing Corporation Chief Executive Officer Tyler Mathies said. “COR is well-known for supporting successful independence through in-home living for persons with intellectual disabilities in the community and thanks to this collaboration, eight persons supported by COR now have access to some of the highest quality affordable housing in the province. There is a growing and desperate need for safe, independent supportive living housing in Regina. Thanks to contributions from CMHC, SHC, and the City of Regina, we are demonstrating what is possible when we work together to create new and inclusive solutions to address affordable housing gaps in our community.”

 

“Working together with the National Affordable Housing Corporation has allowed the people we support to secure safe, accessible and most importantly, affordable housing, in a developing neighbourhood where they can experience community and a true sense of belonging,” Creative Options Regina CEO Michael Lavis said. “We are thrilled to partner and collaborate with an organization that shares similar values and are striving to address housing insecurity for people experiencing disability.”

Quick facts:

  • Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $82 plus billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home.
    • NHS is built on strong partnerships between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and continuous engagement with municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, and the social and private housing sectors. It was created after consultations with Canadians from all walks of life, including those who have experienced housing need.
    • All NHS investments delivered by the federal, provincial and territorial governments will respect the key principles of NHS that support partnerships, people and communities.
  • In 2019, the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan entered into an agreement through the National Housing Strategy. The Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Agreement will invest $585 million over 10 years, which is cost matched between the federal and provincial governments.
  • All funding provided under the NHS is cost-shared 50/50 by the federal and provincial governments across a broad spectrum of programs. While funding under the Rental Development Program (RDP) may reflect a 100 per cent federal contribution, other programs delivered under the NHS- SP may be 100 per cent provincially funded.
  • The RDP prioritizes funding to develop affordable rental housing for households who are “hard-to-house” in Saskatchewan with incomes under the Saskatchewan Household Income Maximums (SHIM)-Low. The RDP may fund up to 70 per cent of a project’s capital cost.
  • NAHC is a non-profit organization that works with private home builders, government units and other non-profit organizations to facilitate the construction of affordable housing units in Saskatchewan. Since 2020, SHC have worked with NAHC to develop 45 affordable housing units (including this project) in Saskatoon and Regina, through the RDP.
  • The tenants will be receiving support services from COR, an organization that develops personalized support services for people experiencing a wide range of disabilities. They offer in-home personalized supports through their Supportive Living Program and wayfinding supports through their Daytime Program.

Read the full Press Release on the Government of Saskatchewan’s Website.

National Post: Championing a gentle approach to culture

Championing a gentle approach to culture

When Amanda Clarke joined Creative Options Regina (COR) to take on the new role of director of people and culture in 2019, she knew there was something special about the organization. “I discovered I can go to work, have fun, and know at the end of the day know that I am working on something more meaningful,” says Clarke, who is now chief culture officer. COR is a winner in the Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures Awards’ Non-Profit and Broader Public Sector category.

Launched in Regina in 2009, COR serves a distinct role in the non-profit sector. It develops personalized support services for people experiencing disability. Rather than running group homes or placing individuals into programs, COR supports people living in their own homes, where they can discover their own talents and interests, live according to their own values, and strive to reach their personal goals.

What stood out for Clarke from the outset is the culture, she says. “The biggest change for me is the support of the people we work alongside day to day. That makes a huge difference in today’s workplace. While I am not on the front lines, our culture is also about serving our employees, bringing people together in a meaningful way, and building future leaders.”

Since its inception, the organization has embraced the philosophy of gentle teaching as an alternative approach to supporting people with disabilities. This culture of gentleness — which focuses on nurturing, teaching and sustaining the experience of connectedness, companionship and community — is woven into all aspects of the organization, from the people it hires and mentors, to the people supported and their family members.

“Gentle teaching is not just for the people we support, but for everybody,” says Clarke. “At the heart of it all is the connections with people. Our team is making a difference for each other and the lives of the people we support. That’s why we are all very passionate about what we do.”

COR also prides itself on its diversity. Currently, its employees represent upwards of 50 nationalities, many of whom recommend friends and family members to apply. “We have never had to advertise a position,” says Casey Sakires, employee experience advisor. “Our hires have all been by word of mouth. In fact, COR has never posted a frontline caregiver position. In the past year alone, we have received more that 450 applications.”

Diversity is recognized and nurtured in the form of panel discussions, special luncheons and celebrations of festivals near and dear to employees, such as Ramadan, Diwali and Indigenous rituals. As Dhwani Purohit, a team leader, noted, “I was never able to share or experience Diwali in Canada. The way COR has celebrated Diwali — including support with lights, decorations, food and, most amazingly, all the guests participating in traditional dance from my (Gujarat side Garba) — was an experience which I would never be able to share without COR.”

“The events highlighting people’s journeys are eye-opening and educational for everyone,” notes Clarke. “We can see the joy in them being able to share their stories with an audience. It’s the culture that makes it possible. Hiring for fit is integral to sustaining COR’s culture, says Sakires. “A culture that makes people feel safe is so important in building relationships.”Understanding individual personal values and how they align with COR’s values is the primary focus of the first interview, he explains. “We are looking for that value set — in essence people who want to make a difference in someone’s life and be that consistent person for the people we support and serve. Most of the people we do hire don’t have care experience but do have the heart and the values that make COR a success.”

Every new hire’s journey starts with 30 hours of shadowing and up to three months of mandatory training in the fundamentals of gentle teaching, working with people with complex health needs, and learning about critical areas such as mental health support and suicide prevention.

Within the first three months, employees also participate in a full-day orientation led by the CEO and COO to deepen their understanding of the history of COR, and the culture in which it embraces. During onboarding, employees are registered for training programs emphasizing health and safety, including mental health, stress management and coping skills. COR’s train-the-trainer approach delivers over 20 nationally recognized trainings offered in-house to all employees on paid time. COR also offers incentives throughout the year, from bonuses and swag to personalized notes and appreciation days.

In 2023, the organization launched the COR Academy, an initiative that focuses on COR’s renewed vision to influence care more broadly. Through the COR Academy, training and development programs are offered to the broader community, alongside COR employees. The initiative also focuses on individual and organizational mentorship, offering both internal and external mentorship from experienced leaders. “People feel valued when we invest in developing their potential,” says Clarke.

“We are just at the initial stage of developing the academy,” she adds. “There is a lot of potential to reach a lot of people doing a lot of great things. We have an opportunity to influence others in a different way of thinking about care.”

Another critical element of its culture is the health and wellness support. “Psychological support in our field is important,” says Clarke. “Because caregiving is an emotionally demanding role, sometimes they may need to reduce hours or have additional access to mental health resources. We understand that if we treat our caregivers well, we know the people we serve will be well cared for.”

The numbers tell a compelling story. COR’s yearly annual turnover rate has remained between four and 10 per cent since its inception — an impressive feat considering the average for the sector exceeds 35 per cent annually.

COR is also a consistent presence in the community at large. “A great deal of the team’s efforts are spent connecting with community,” says Sakires. He stresses that all charitable programs are employee-driven and based on interest, which drives strong participation and engagement. In the past year alone, COR employees have supported over 20 different non-profit/community organizations.

Community relationships include COR’s 4to40 inclusive employment initiative that works with businesses to champion the inclusion of people experiencing intellectual disability, a joint venture with the University of Regina in supporting diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) strategies of fellow Saskatchewan businesses.

In 2020, COR launched a “Short Breaks” initiative with Inclusion Regina and the City of Regina to address the need for quality programming in a safe, supportive environment for family care providers. The organization also partners with Indigenous educational programs, band offices and cultural groups. In 2021, COR developed an Indigenous culture advisor position, and all employees are enrolled in both Indigenous awareness and diversity training.

“All of these efforts strengthen our diversity and enrich our community connections,” says Sakires. Tara Osipoff, vice chair of the Creative Options Regina board, notes “I’ve witnessed firsthand the profound impact of the gentle teaching practice at COR. It’s a practice that illuminates the culture with compassion and understanding, fostering an environment where both the people we serve and our dedicated employees feel valued, respected and loved. This nurturing atmosphere not only supports growth and healing but also empowers everyone involved to reach their full potential. It’s truly heartwarming to see the difference the gentle teaching philosophy makes through kindness and patience, reinforcing our belief that caring for one another with gentleness is the most powerful tool we have.”

Read the Article on the National Post Website.

Proud to be named a Finalist in the 2024 Paragon Awards: Diversity and Inclusion

The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce (RDCC) marked an important milestone on April 12, 2024 with the 25th Annual Paragon Awards, a celebration of Regina’s most outstanding businesses.

“For the past 25 years the Chamber has recognized exceptional members in our business community and this year’s winners are prime examples of local leaders and innovators who have displayed determination and impressive character in challenging economic times,” said Tony Playter, CEO of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce.

COR proud to be named a Finalist in the Diversity and Inclusion category.

Building Digital Skills and Confidence: The Let’s Connect Initiative

In a world driven by technology, everyone deserves the opportunity to explore the digital landscape and connect with others. Let’s Connect is an educational initiative that empowers people experiencing disability by boosting their knowledge and confidence in using technology and communication devices.

Let’s Connect goes beyond just teaching technical skills; it’s about fostering independence and enhancing the digital experience for all. This program covers a range of important topics, including: connecting to Wi-Fi, staying safe online, utilizing accessibility features and helpful apps, practicing online etiquette, making informed choices on social media, and expressing oneself through pictures and videos.

Connecting to Wi-Fi: Navigating the Digital World

The program recognizes that accessing the internet is a gateway to a world of knowledge and connection. By practicing the process of connecting to Wi-Fi, participants can easily explore the online world.

Online Safety and Security: Empowering Users

In an age where cybersecurity is paramount, Let’s Connect places a strong focus on online safety and security. Participants learn about password security, identifying potential online threats, and protecting personal information. This knowledge assists individuals in navigating the digital world confidently.

Accessibility and Helpful Apps: Customizing Technology to Individual Needs

Technology can be a powerful tool for bridging gaps and creating opportunities, and Let’s Connect highlights this potential. The program explores accessibility features and useful apps that cater to the unique needs of participants. From device features to communication apps, these tools enhance daily life experiences.

Online Etiquette: Navigating Digital Spaces with Respect

In a world where virtual interactions have become the norm, this program teaches the importance of online etiquette. Participants learn how to engage respectfully in digital spaces, fostering positive online relationships and connections.

Being Smart on Social Media: Making Informed Choices

Social media can be a valuable platform for connection and expression. Let’s Connect equips participants with the knowledge to use social media wisely, enabling them to engage safely and meaningfully in online communities.

Sharing Your Voice Through Pictures and Videos: Unleashing Creativity

Amidst a digital landscape that celebrates visual content, Let’s Connect encourages participants to express themselves through pictures and videos. This creative outlet not only promotes self-expression but also boosts a sense of accomplishment and pride.

This initiative is not about highlighting challenges but celebrating the strengths and capabilities of people experiencing disability. It’s about recognizing the unique perspectives they bring to the digital realm and ensuring that they have the tools and knowledge to flourish in the digital age.

So, let’s connect – not just to the internet, but also to a world of possibilities, knowledge, and empowerment. Let’s celebrate the incredible strides being made by Let’s Connect in making this vision a reality for all.

Short Breaks: Supporting Regina Families

“Short Breaks,” is not just a program; it’s a lifeline for families, a testament to the power of understanding the intricate needs of families and supporting them with Short Breaks. 

The Core of Short Breaks: Family Support and Respite

At its core, “Short Breaks” is about recognizing and responding to the essential needs of families. It offers something invaluable – respite. This respite is not just a temporary relief, but a critical support system for families who navigate the daily challenges of caring for loved ones who experience an intellectual disability. It’s about providing these families with a chance to rejuvenate, to catch their breath, and find comfort in the knowledge that their loved ones are in a safe, nurturing environment.

A Community Effort for Empathy and Inclusion

“Short Breaks” is a collaborative endeavour involving Inclusion Regina, Creative Options Regina, and the City of Regina, with financial support from Sask Lotteries. This collaboration underlines the community’s commitment to empathy, inclusion, and the well-being of all its members.

More Than Just Time Off

The program goes beyond offering mere “time off” for families. It’s an opportunity for individuals experiencing disability to engage in social, educational, recreational, and creative activities. These activities are designed not only to entertain, but also to stimulate and foster a sense of community belonging and personal growth.

The Ripple Effect of Short Breaks

The impact of “Short Breaks” extends far beyond the individuals it directly serves. It lightens the load for families, providing a sense of security and peace of mind. For the community, it strengthens the bonds of understanding and compassion, creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

A Model of Compassionate Community Support

“Short Breaks” serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when a community comes together to support its most vulnerable members. It’s a reminder of the importance of empathy, the value of respite, and the power of collective effort in making a real difference in people’s lives.

As “Short Breaks” continues to grow and evolve, it stands as a beacon of hope and a symbol of the strength of community spirit. Its success lies in its unwavering commitment to providing much-needed support to families and creating a space where everyone feels valued and included.

Tell It Like It Is: A Compassionate Approach to Comprehensive Sexual Education

In a world that sometimes tiptoes around important topics, Tell It Like It Is stands boldly as a revolutionary program. It’s not just sex-positive; it’s inclusive, comprehensive, and unapologetically honest. This program is on a mission to empower diverse learners, guiding them to make informed life choices that promote optimal health and wellness in all dimensions of life.

This isn’t your typical sex education program. It’s a compassionate journey through crucial life topics, offering a safe space where participants can explore, learn, and grow. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this program so remarkable.

Goals:

Accurate Information: The foremost goal of this program is to ensure that learners receive accurate and up-to-date sexuality education. In a world where myths and misconceptions abound, this program equips participants with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their lives.

Open and Safe Platform: Beyond just information, the program creates a platform where participants can open up. It’s a place to share stories, ask questions, explore curiosities, express fears, and gain knowledge without judgment or shame. This safe and open environment is a cornerstone of the program’s success.

Curriculum:

Tell It Like It Is consists of nine modules, each covering a range of topics related to sexual health and wellness. These modules are designed to cater to diverse learners, making the program accessible to all. Some of the topics covered include:

Communication Skills: Effective communication is the foundation of healthy relationships. Participants learn how to express themselves, listen actively, and navigate the complexities of human interaction.

Hygiene: Personal hygiene is not just about cleanliness; it’s about self-respect and self-care. This emphasizes the importance of maintaining good hygiene practices for overall well-being, but also as a way to improve relationships and connections with others. 

Building Healthy Relationships: Healthy relationships are an important part of a fulfilling life, and help us to reduce loneliness and isolation. This explores what constitutes a healthy relationship, and how to recognize what an unhealthy relationship looks like. 

Sexual Health: The program also covers life-saving information that is necessary to keep ourselves safe; including consent, abuse prevention, STBBI’s (Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections), private vs public spaces, and much more. It offers a safe and non-judgmental space for participants to learn about their bodies and sexual health.

Tell It Like It Is doesn’t shy away from challenging topics. Instead, it approaches them with empathy and compassion, recognizing that every participant is unique and has their own lived experiences. The program’s interactive learning activities make the experience engaging, ensuring that the knowledge gained is not just theoretical, but practical.

In a world that often stigmatizes conversations about sexuality and disability, Tell It Like It Is recognizes the necessity of these conversations. Everyone has the right to education, relationships, and pleasure, and upholding the rights of people with disabilities is vital. 

So, the next time you hear about Tell It Like It Is, remember that it’s more than just a program; it’s a movement towards a more informed and inclusive world. It’s about breaking down barriers and fostering a culture of openness and acceptance. Tell It Like It Is – because knowledge is power, and everyone deserves to wield it. Learn more about this program here!

COR recognized as one of Saskatchewan’s Top Employers (2024)

Big city benefits, an affordable cost of living and time for life beyond the workplace: ‘Saskatchewan’s Top Employers’ for 2024 are announced

REGINA, March 12, 2024 – With its young and dynamic workforce, affordable cost of living and strong economy, Saskatchewan is increasingly identified as an ideal place to build a career with a healthy work-life balance. Employers in the province are responding by taking notice of the leading workplace initiatives and benefits from across the country to entice more people to province’s attractive labour market. The best of these stories were recognized today as Saskatchewan’s Top Employers (2024) were announced by Mediacorp Canada Inc., organizers of the annual Canada’s Top 100 Employers project.

“Saskatchewan has seen a steady increase in new residents, who are attracted to an affordable place where they can put down roots and improve their quality of life,” says Richard Yerema, executive editor at the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. “Increasingly, your workplace is not limited by geography and Saskatchewan offers the perfect middle ground – literally and figuratively – between both ends of the country. It’s no surprise that people from across the country have identified Saskatchewan as an ideal place to have a satisfying career with a high quality of life.”

Saskatchewan is renowned for offering residents a healthy work-life balance, while providing the advantages of a growing economy. Employers in Saskatchewan have taken notice of the benefits and workplace programs offered elsewhere in Canada to ensure they are competitive nationally. This combination of top-notch benefits and workplace programs along with enviable lifestyle options beyond the workplace has helped this year’s winners attract and retain the talented employees they need to thrive.

“Feeling connected to others and experiencing a true sense of community is a huge part of the draw for Saskatchewan,” adds Yerema. “So many Canadians are searching for a place to live that’s affordable, while still offering the ability to build a fulfilling life outside the workplace. Winning employers in Saskatchewan understand these challenges and are focused on helping their employees achieve those dreams.”

Now in its 19th year, Saskatchewan’s Top Employers is a special designation that recognizes Saskatchewan employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. Editors at Mediacorp review employers on eight criteria, which have remained consistent since the2 project’s inception: (1) 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. The editors publish detailed ‘reasons for selection’ for these criteria, providing transparency in the selection of winners and a catalogue of best practices for employers and job-seekers alike. The competition is open to any employer with its head office or principal place of business located within the province of Saskatchewan.

Founded in 1992, Mediacorp Canada Inc. is the nation’s largest publisher of employment periodicals. Since 1999, the Toronto-based publisher has managed the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, which includes 19 regional and special-interest editorial competitions that reach millions of Canadians annually through a variety of magazine and newspaper partners, including The Globe and Mail. Mediacorp also operates Eluta.ca, one of Canada’s largest job search engines, used by millions of job-seekers annually to find new job postings and discover what the nation’s best employers are offering.

The full list of Saskatchewan’s Top Employers (2024) was announced today in a special magazine co-published with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and the Regina-Leader Post. Detailed ‘reasons for selection’ for each of this year’s winners, as well as stories and photos about their initiatives, were released today by the editors and are accessible via the competition homepage.

 

 

Saskatchewan’s Top Employers 2024 Winners

3sHealth / Health Shared Services Saskatchewan, Regina

Access Communications Co-operative Ltd., Regina

Andgo Systems, Saskatoon

Bourgault Industries Ltd., St. Brieux

Canpotex Limited, Saskatoon

Cornerstone Credit Union Financial Group Ltd., Yorkton

Creative Options Regina, Inc., Regina

eHealth Saskatchewan, Regina

First Nations Bank of Canada, Saskatoon3

Group Medical Services / GMS Insurance Inc., Regina

Information Services Corporation / ISC, Regina

ISM, Regina

Lakefield LLP, Saskatoon

Legal Aid Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

MLT Aikins LLP, Regina

Nutrien Ltd., Saskatoon

Ranch Ehrlo Society, Regina

Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission, Regina

Saskatchewan Blue Cross, Saskatoon

Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation / SCIC, Melville

Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority / SIGA, Saskatoon

Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon

Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, Saskatoon

Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board, Regina

Saskatoon Police Service, Saskatoon

SaskEnergy Incorporated, Regina

SaskPower, Regina

SaskTel, Regina

Synergy Credit Union Ltd., Lloydminster

Vendasta Technologies Inc., Saskatoon

Fostering Inclusion and Connection: The University of Regina Best Buddies Initiative

Best Buddies Canada, in partnership with Inclusion Regina and Creative Options Regina, is proud to support the University of Regina’s Best Buddies Chapter. This program unites post-secondary students with adults from the community who have intellectual or developmental disabilities, forging powerful connections that promote inclusion.

As a local chapter of the global nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating one-to-one friendships and inclusive opportunities for individuals with disabilities, Best Buddies champions social interaction, personal growth, and meaningful connections between students and community members with disabilities. This effort contributes to the creation of a more inclusive and diverse community.

The university program, designed to break down barriers isolating individuals with disabilities, pairs students with intellectual or developmental disabilities alongside their peers from post-secondary institutions. It fosters a supportive environment where students gain insights into the challenges and successes faced by their buddies, shaping their attitudes during their time on campus and beyond.

For adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Best Buddies offers a lifeline to a more enriching life. This program provides opportunities for engagement in social activities, the establishment of lasting friendships, and the development of essential life skills. Moreover, it empowers them to become self-advocates and leaders in their communities, reinforcing the idea that diversity and inclusion are pivotal in building a stronger and more vibrant society.

Inclusion Regina and Creative Options Regina play integral roles as the Host Partners of the University of Regina Best Buddies Chapter, providing support and resources for the program’s success. Together, they foster a culture of inclusion, diversity, and understanding within Regina’s post-secondary institution, a positive influence that ripples through the city’s social fabric.

Best Buddies exemplifies the power of friendship, unity, and acceptance. In a world that often accentuates differences, this program serves as a poignant reminder that, together, we can build a world where everyone belongs.

Safe, affordable, and inclusive: A blueprint for community-centered housing in Regina

NATIONAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING CORPORATION
FEBRUARY 28, 2024

Creative Options Regina has helped the people they support to find housing for some years now, developing one-on-one relationships with landlords who offer discounts, and they’ve partnered with a group of 10 families who invested in building a condo building for their children that provides supportive living.

“We’re always looking for partnerships, especially ones that are safe and affordable,” says Jessica Fraser, Supportive Living Coordinator at COR. “But that can be tricky — if it’s affordable, it might not be in a safe location. The folks we serve are considered vulnerable.”

COR is a charitable organization that develops personalized support services for people experiencing disability. The organization supports people living in their own homes and helps individuals discover their talents and interests so they can live according to their values and reach their personal goals.

As of publishing their 2023 annual report, they had 30 people living in supported living and 58 people receiving home support. However, Fraser said their numbers and the need for safe and affordable housing have grown since then.

COR first connected with the National Affordable Housing Corporation while working with Inclusion Saskatchewan to help someone living in Regina find housing in Saskatoon. NAHC has been working with Inclusion Sask since 2020 to house people with intellectual disabilities.

So when NAHC had plans to build more townhouse rentals in Regina, connecting with COR again was a natural fit.

Fraser says the partnership with NAHC is unique because the rent is so affordable, and the buildings are brand new in an up-and-coming neighbourhood in the city.

“People are paying affordable rent that aligns with their SAID benefits, so that in itself is a success,” Fraser said.

Community-based

Fraser says the NAHC is a good fit for a partnership because it is “person-centred,” looking at the needs of the individual and asking how to make the community fit the person rather than how to make the person fit into the community.

“They’re really community-based,” Fraser said. “The renters aren’t segregated from the rest of the market rent folks; they get to be part of the community.”

Adina Wilson is the Director of Tenant Inclusion & Support at the NAHC and Real Life Rentals and agrees that creating a sense of community for program participants is critical to its success.

“They’re living in a regular community where they’re accepted, valued and seen as regular neighbours, just like other people in the complex,” Wilson said. “That helps them build self-esteem and helps them feel valued and empowered.”

She also says the program hasn’t only benefited the individuals living there, it has also benefited the community.

“Successful programs like this demonstrate creative inclusivity that encourages understanding, develops better empathy and celebrates the positive contributions all can make; we’ve broken some of the stigmas down with our inclusive housing model,” Wilson said.

“It’s been nice to see community members in the different complexes treating everyone with so much kindness and acceptance.”

Neighbours have asked program participants to pet sit, or water plants and check a neighbour’s unit when they’re away.

“Those are huge things,” Wilson said. “When you have a community that you belong to and feel valued in, it’s really important. … It’s neat to watch that develop naturally and organically because we all need community and human connection.”

It’s also handy for multiple people from the COR community to be living in the same development  — several people COR supported who previously had never met took the opportunity to get to know each other when they moved in.

Building trust

Building solid relationships is vital when supporting vulnerable individuals with complex needs; many have stories of facing barriers or discrimination when it comes to finding housing.

“If they can learn to trust the people around them, it will create better opportunities and chances for success,” Wilson said. “When obstacles and challenges arise, they’ll be more forthcoming about letting us know.”

Wilson has regular communication with the tenants and Fraser at COR. Since Wilson works out of Saskatoon, she especially appreciates having COR staff on the ground with the tenants in Regina.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this in Regina without COR right there,” she said. “When you have a solid partner willing to work cooperatively, it’s very valuable.”

COR and NAHC work together if any issues arise, and Fraser with COR says she feels confident that if there’s a problem, they can figure out a solution together.

“We want this to work, and we want everyone to be successful in their housing,” Fraser said. “We want to say, this person is experiencing a challenge — how can we assist them?”

In one case, two roommates asked for assistance cleaning and organizing their home. The NAHC found a professional organizer to work with them for a few months and provide coaching to develop new cleaning habits and practical skills. After the work was complete, the tenants said they experienced a sense of accomplishment and commented that the help made their home environment more comfortable and enjoyable.

“Partnerships are really about people being able to collaborate and share their ideas and being heard,” Fraser said.

There are currently four units with eight COR clients living in them, and more units for COR will be available with the completion of Hawkstone Estates in late summer or early fall 2024.

“I would love to have more folks living in these homes,” Fraser said. “I would love for all the folks I support to have affordable housing as they expand in Regina.”

This Affordable & Supportive Independent Living- Sector Transformation Model for Individuals with Mental Health Challenges project received funding from the Community Housing Transformation Centre (the Centre); however, the views expressed are the author’s personal views, and the Centre accepts no responsibility for them.

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