Aon Hewitt Research Identifies Canada’s Best Employers Of 2011


Up from third last year, Cisco Canada topped the 2011 list of Best Employers in Canada, conducted by Aon Hewitt, the human capital consulting and outsourcing solutions business of Aon Corporation, in conjunction with the Queen’s University School of Business.

Rounding out the Top 5 this year are EllisDon Corporation, PCL Constructors Inc., CIMA+, and McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada.

Those organizations that appear on the two 2011 Best Employers lists represent a wide range of employers.

“Even though the two studies are geared towards larger and small/medium organizations, our research has determined that size really isn’t a factor when it comes to employee engagement.” –Einar Westerlund, Director of Project Development, Queen’s Centre for Business Venturing

They come from software, banking, hospitality, retail, pharmaceutical and 25 other industries. They are headquartered across the country, from Charlottetown to Nanaimo. They range in size from as few as 50 employees to more than 50,000. 251 Canadian employers took part in the 2011 Best Employers studies.

Organizations are selected as Best Employers based primarily on survey responses from more than 134,000 Canadian employees at these organizations that gauge their level of engagement.

“Even though the two studies are geared towards larger and small/medium organizations, our research has determined that size really isn’t a factor when it comes to employee engagement,” said survey co-ordinator Einar Westerlund, director of project development at the Queen’s Centre for Business Venturing.

“It’s as much a challenge for small organizations to engage their employees as it is for large ones. The approach may vary by company size, but driving employee engagement is still very much related to factors such as frequent, two-way communication with leaders, learning, development and career opportunities, strong performance management, and human resources programs that are not only competitive, but also meet the needs of individual employees and align with the organization’s values.”

According to Aon Hewitt’s definition, employees are engaged when they “say, stay and strive”: they speak positively about the organization to others, are committed to remaining with their current employer, and are motivated by their organizations’ leaders, managers, culture and values to go “above and beyond” to contribute to business success.

The average engagement score for Best Employer organizations of all sizes was 80%; the average for other organizations participating in the two studies was 59%.

The 2011 List of the Best Employers in Canada

Rank Organization Headquarters Industry
1 Cisco Canada Toronto ON Communications Equipment
2 EllisDon Corporation London ON Construction & Engineering
3 PCL Constructors Inc. Edmonton AB Construction & Engineering
4 CIMA+ Partner in Excellence Laval QC Construction & Engineering
5 McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited Toronto ON Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure
6 OpenRoad Auto Group Ltd. Richmond BC Specialty Retail
7 Marriott Hotels of Canada Ltd. Mississauga ON Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure
8 Bennett Jones LLP Calgary AB Professional Services
9 Wellington West Holdings Ltd. Winnipeg MB Diversified Financial Services
10 Farm Credit Canada Regina SK Diversified Financial Services
11 Chubb Insurance Company of Canada Toronto ON Insurance
12 Edward Jones Mississauga ON Diversified Financial Services
13 OMERS Administration Corporation Toronto ON Diversified Financial Services
14 Delta Hotels & Resorts Toronto ON Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure
15 Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. (Canada) Toronto ON Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure
16 Graham Group Ltd. Calgary AB Construction & Engineering
17 Stikeman Elliott LLP N/A Professional Services
18 BBA Inc. Mont-Saint-Hilaire QC Commercial Services & Supplies
19 The Co-operators Guelph ON Insurance
20 GlaxoSmithKline Inc. Mississauga ON Pharmaceuticals
21 Flight Centre Vancouver BC Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure
22 LoyaltyOne Toronto ON Diversified Consumer Services
23 Scotiabank Group Toronto ON Diversified Financial Services
24 Federal Express Canada Ltd. Mississauga ON Air Freight & Logistics
25 Aecon Group Inc. Toronto ON Construction & Engineering
26 TD Bank Financial Group Toronto ON Commercial Banks
27 Canadian Western Bank Edmonton AB Commercial Banks
28 Co-operators Life Insurance Company Regina SK Insurance
29 Amex Canada Inc./Amex Bank of Canada Markham ON Diversified Financial Services
30 Earl’s Restaurants Ltd. North Vancouver BC Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure
31 Meyers Norris Penny Calgary AB Commercial Services & Supplies
32 Dillon Consulting Toronto ON Professional Services
33 ATB Financial Edmonton AB Commercial Banks
34 Island Savings Credit Union Duncan BC Diversified Financial Services
35 Clark Builders Edmonton AB Construction & Engineering
36 Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP Toronto ON Professional Services
37 G&K Services Canada Inc. Mississauga ON Commercial Services & Supplies
38 Conexus Regina SK Diversified Financial Services
39 ING DIRECT Toronto ON Commercial Banks
40 Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc. Montreal QC Real Estate Management & Development
41 Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics Vancouver BC Personal Products
42 Novotel Canada Mississauga ON Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure
43 Keg Restaurants Ltd. Richmond BC Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure
44 BC Biomedical Laboratories Ltd. Surrey BC Health Care Providers & Services
45 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. Dorval QC Pharmaceuticals
46 Bentall LP Toronto ON Real Estate Management & Development
47 HATCH Mississauga ON Construction & Engineering
48 National Bank Financial Group Montreal QC Commercial Banks
49 Coastal Community Credit Union Nanaimo BC Commercial Banks
50 Cintas Canada Limited Mississauga ON Commercial Services & Supplies

To learn more about the Best Employers studies and to see the list of the 50 Best Small & Medium Employers, please visit the Best Employers Web site at

About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.