We invite you to join us at this year’s conference on the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, which takes place April 4-5, 2018 at The Hilton Hotel in downtown Toronto, ON.

Each year, our information-packed agenda offers a choice of sessions, covering most of the competitions included in the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. The Top Employer Summit is the only conference where you can meet all the writers and organizers from the Top 100 project. Discover the best case studies from this year’s competition and have your questions on the project answered in a convenient commercial-free format. You’ll take home dozens of inspiring ideas on improving your organization with programs and initiatives that we’ve seen work well elsewhere.

This year’s event will be packed with practical information on the direction of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, including the 19 regional and special-interest competitions that we manage. It will also include a networking cocktail reception that will be held at The Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre on the first evening of the two-day conference.

7:30am - 8:45am
Registration & Breakfast

Join us early for a first-class hot breakfast, prepared by the The Hilton Hotel’s Executive Chef, Kevin Prendergast.

8:45am - 9:00am
Opening Remarks by Conference Co-Chairs

Welcome and Bienvenue to the 2018 Top Employer Summit! Innovation is constant and has yielded many digital advances, leading us to connect in new and powerful ways. But for many organizations, innovation isn’t just about making things stronger, faster and better, it’s about questioning the very nature of their business as well as traditional notions of work. This year’s Top Employer Summit will explore the challenges employers face when competing for talent in a highly digitized world and examine the importance of innovation in securing future success, whether driven by the latest trends in technology or stemming from employee creativity. Join us for two days of stimulating discussion on the future of work and the impact technology and automation will have in shaping the role of HR.

Chairing this year’s conference will be:
Tony Meehan, Publisher & CEO, Mediacorp Canada Inc.
Richard Yerema, Managing Editor, Canada’s Top 100 Employers


9:00am - 9:45am
Executive Briefing: Building a Culture of Innovation in a World of Disruption

From banking to taxicabs, almost every industry now feels the effects of technological disruption. The process of creative destruction, described by the economist Joseph Schumpeter in the 1940s, has taken on new meaning in a world where technological innovation now makes entire industries redundant in just a few short years. What can we learn from the Ubers and similar disrupters? This session provides a rare opportunity to hear one of the leading thinkers on the innovation and disruption make the case for creating a culture of innovation in your own organization. It usually requires a change in thinking by leaders, but is the best defence against being sidelined when your industry is upended by innovation.

Special Guest:
Ted Graham, Head of Open Innovation at General Motors Corporation; Author, ‘The Uber of Everything’


9:45am - 10:45am
Keynote Address: Leading through Continuous Change

Dr. Roberta L. Bondar, O.C. O.Ont. MD PhD FRSC ICD.D
Astronaut | Physician | Scientist | Photographer

Since its inception, the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project has placed a focus on the necessity for progressive leadership: without forward-thinking leaders, it’s difficult to create workplaces where employees can make the most of their talents. The best leaders make it possible to break down barriers and inspire others to follow in their path. This year’s keynote speaker is exceptionally well-suited to make the case for inspired leadership in a period of continuous change. Her life’s work tells the story of breaking barriers — as the first Canadian woman and neurologist to fly in space — but beyond this, she makes the case that today’s leaders need a forward-thinking perspective that is grounded in a sense of ethical duty. Whether it’s the #metoo movement or the strategic challenges to organizations presented by innovation and continuous change, this year’s keynote speaker speaks with authority and grace on the kind of leadership we all need to emulate. Join us for this rare opportunity to hear the case for inspired leadership from a remarkable Canadian who continues to inspire by the singular example of her life’s work and accomplishments.


10:45am - 11:30am
Refreshment & Networking Break

This refreshment break provides an opportunity to meet informally with the writers and organizers of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, as well as your colleagues at this year’s Top Employer Summit.

We would like to thank Mars Drinks for sponsoring this refreshment and networking break.

11:30am - 12:30pm
Executive Briefing: The Future of Benefits

Advancements in technology and shifting talent demographics are bringing both opportunity and disruption to the workforce, requiring new approaches to address the intersections between technology and people. But as organizations look to step up their pace, many employees face financial, physical, emotional, and social-related issues that can hinder performance. In response, companies are placing greater focus on employee well-being, the connections to healthy company culture, and how this translates to a unique and personalized talent and rewards experience. In this environment, embracing change is more than just adapting to future trends, it’s about adopting a mindset to evolve our current state by actively transforming the way we approach work, and drive the change necessary for today — and tomorrow’s — evolving world.

Speakers include:
Trevor Cartlidge, Senior Consultant, Willis Towers Watson
Tracey Malcolm , Global Future of Work Leader, Willis Towers Watson

Presented by the Title Sponsor of the 2018 Top Employer Summit, Willis Towers Watson.


12:30pm - 1:15pm
Lunch: A Taste of Canada

Join us for A Taste of Canada prepared by The Hilton Hotel’s Executive Chef, Kevin Prendergast, featuring remarkable food selections from across the nation.

We would like to thank Perkopolis for sponsoring this luncheon.

1:15pm - 1:45pm
Luncheon Keynote: Women in Leadership

The Hon. Rona Ambrose
Former Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition in the House of Commons

In politics, it’s often challenging for women to speak forcefully on gender issues without being typecast as a single-issue politician interested in “women’s issues”. Our luncheon speaker is a leader who defied convention and advanced the cause of women and girls, while making her party more inclusive and bringing it to a record number of members. Along the way, she has been an articulate advocate for ensuring that Aboriginal women in Canada finally receive equal matrimonial rights, and for creating a special refugee program to bring persecuted Yazidi women and girls to Canada. Through it all, our luncheon guest has delivered her message — and succeeded — with grace and charm, avoiding the harshness that has coarsened public discourse and alienated Canadians on both sides of the political divide. This luncheon provides a rare opportunity to meet first-hand a remarkable Canadian who continues to inspire and lead, not just with words, but also with what she has accomplished in her political life to date.


1:45pm - 2:45pm
Experimentation and Innovation from Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers

Small and medium sized businesses help drive innovation and change in the Canadian economy, and have developed a reputation for pushing the boundaries of traditional HR practices, with out-of-the-box and unorthodox initiatives such as unlimited vacation allowance and unstructured work hours. SMEs in particular have the advantage of operating as real-time experiments, able to adapt and turn on a dime in terms of their business and their day-to-day operational practices. This session will explore some of the unique cultural aspects of Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers and features a diverse panel of this year’s winners who will share how their most interesting internal policies were created, implemented and managed.

Panelists include:
Ally Contardi, VP of Operations, Connected Lab
Kathy Enros, Vice President, Talent, ACL Services Ltd.
Tanya Sieffert, Human Resources Manager, The Great Little Box Company
Ana Yuristy, Executive Director, Corporate Services, Drake Hotel Properties


2:45pm - 3:15pm
Energizing Fitness Break

This refreshment and networking break features a variety of nutritious and healthy snacks, prepared by The Hilton Hotel’s Executive Chef.

We would like to thank Niagara Casinos for sponsoring this refreshment and networking break.

3:15pm - 4:15pm
Engaging Millennials in Meaningful Employment: Best Practices from Canada’s Top Employers for Young People

Employers today face many challenges when competing for top talent, particularly when it comes to Millennials and Generation Z. Younger generations are motivated by a variety of factors, including opportunities for career advancement and professional development, interesting work, and above all, alignment with an organization’s broader social purpose. This session features winners of this year’s Canada’s Top Employers for Young People competition who will discuss the importance of connecting work to a greater purpose, and how organizations can embed this motivation into their overall recruitment and retention strategy. Speakers will also share other best practices related to the recruitment of students and new graduates, as well as opportunities for young people to make meaningful personal and professional contributions. This session will be moderated by Graham Donald, who has spent almost 20 years advising many of Canada’s leading employers on campus recruitment.

Graham Donald, Founder & President, Brainstorm Strategy Group Inc.

Panelists include:
Joey Brar, City of Surrey, Director, Human Resources
Sandy Krus, Vice President of Human Resources, Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd.
Cindy Newell, Director of Organizational Development, Hydro Ottawa


4:15pm - 4:30pm
Day 1 Closing Remarks

Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project
Tony Meehan, Publisher & CEO at Mediacorp Canada Inc.


5:00pm - 7:00pm
Top Employer Summit: Official Reception

Join fellow attendees at the official reception for this year’s conference, taking place at the spectacular Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, located across the street from the conference hotel. Cocktails and canapés, and live music make this an evening not to be missed!

The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
145 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON

Business Cocktail attire is recommended for this reception.

We would like to thank Ceridian for their gracious support of this reception.

7:30am - 8:00am

Join us early for a first-class hot breakfast, prepared by the The Hilton Hotel’s Executive Chef, Kevin Prendergast.

8:00am - 9:00am
Progress and Innovation: Inside this Year’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers

Innovation is a defining characteristic of winners of this year’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers and a foundational element of the project – applicants strive annually to raise the bar when it comes to offering exceptional HR programs and policies. With the 2019 competition underway, this session will review data from the past year and discuss each of the eight selection criteria in greater detail. The editors will also share the best practices from each of the special-interest competitions and expand on how changes in HR are reflected in this year’s application. Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to learn how your organization can put its best foot forward in the 2019 competition.

Richard Yerema, Managing Editor, Canada’s Top 100 Employers
Kristina Leung, Senior Editor, Canada’s Top 100 Employers


9:00am - 10:00am
Community Involvement: Connecting Employees through a Community-Focused Culture

Connecting employees through a community-focused culture is a longstanding hallmark of winners of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition. Progressive organizations understand that employees need to feel a personal connection to the place where they work – and value opportunities to make meaningful contributions in the wider community. By including this in their employment value proposition, this year’s winners have strengthened the commitment of their employees by providing opportunities to volunteer and participate in charitable initiatives important to them. Whether it’s supporting projects that make use of their unique skills or forming partnerships with local charities and organizations, these employers demonstrate that a strong sense of community is what sets them apart.

Sarah Terrelonge, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Ceridian

Panelists include:
Scott Fraser, President, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities
Sheri Morgan, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, PepsiCo Foods Canada
Julie Raheja-Perera, Senior Director of Marketing, PepsiCo Beverages Canada
Linda Speedy, Chief Talent Officer, KPMG


10:00am - 10:30am
Refreshment & Networking Break

This refreshment break provides an opportunity to meet informally with the writers and organizers of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, as well as your colleagues at this year’s Top Employer Summit.

We would like to thank Venngo WorkPerks® for sponsoring this refreshment and networking break.

10:30am - 11:15am
Debating the Gig Economy: Flexibility or a Fractured Workplace?

The ‘gig economy’ is not without controversy. Some believe it to be a revolution that offers flexibility and provides opportunities for individuals with limited availability to earn income, while others argue that gig work creates a fractured economy, contributing to income inequality and job instability. While technology has enabled us to share and automate many aspects of work, there are undoubtedly many unseen costs related to these advances. In this session, you’ll hear one of Canada’s experts on the subject explain the pros and cons of the gig economy, discuss how we can adapt to the new reality, and question whether gig work contributes to the development of a sustainable future.

Linda Nazareth, Economist | Author | Journalist


11:15am - 12:15pm
Spotlight on Diversity: Optional Case Studies

Our in-depth case study sessions provide you with an opportunity to learn about specific initiatives and programs covered by the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition. You can choose from a selection of focused sessions and learn first-hand about successful policies and programs from this year’s winners.

Choose one of the following two case studies:

Case Study I: An Introduction to Diversity, Productivity and Innovation: Making the Case for Diversity and Inclusion

There is a compelling business case for organizations to make diversity and inclusion a priority, aside from it being the ‘right thing’ to do. Having a workforce comprised of different and unique perspectives helps drive innovation and productivity, which ultimately leads to strong business outcomes. But what are the first steps to establishing a dedicated diversity strategy and building a diverse workforce? This session will provide the fundamentals for organizations interested in starting their diversity journey, from developing a business case to ensuring buy-in from senior leadership to specific recruitment practices that include each of the five major groups covered in the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition. This session will provide you with the tools you need to develop a focused and successful diversity strategy.

Speakers include:
Brent Chamberlain, Senior Director, Inclusion and Diversity, CIBC
Akwatu Khenti, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Anti-Racism Directorate, Ontario Public Service

Case Study II: Advanced Lessons in Integrating Inclusion into Everyday Practice

Integrating inclusion into everyday practice is a challenge. Many organizations struggle to move beyond designated employee groups in their journey towards inclusion and must refocus their efforts on creating awareness of employees as individuals, each with unique perspectives and lived experiences. This case study will focus on the challenges employers face once diverse demographics are in place – and how organizations can create an inclusive workplace culture in which employees feel they are equally valued and understood. We will also explore some of the roadblocks to inclusion, such as unconscious bias, and learn how to facilitate inclusive leadership strategies.

Speakers include:
Annette Denny, Learning Specialist, University of Waterloo
Sandeep Tatla, Assistant Vice President, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Manulife


12:15pm - 1:00pm
1:00pm - 2:00pm
Case Study Sessions: Hear from This Year’s Winners

Our in-depth case study sessions provide you with an opportunity to learn about specific initiatives and programs covered by the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition. You can choose from a selection of focused sessions and learn first-hand about successful policies and programs from this year’s winners.

Choose one of the following two case studies:

Case Study III: Healthy Habits, Working Wellness: Active Approaches to Managing Work-Life Balance

While technology has increased our ability to access information and stay connected, there’s growing concern about the consequences of a digital world – perhaps best summarized by a recent headline in The Globe and Mail: “Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy.” Progressive organizations are encouraging employees to take a ‘digital detox’ and disconnect from their mobile devices to focus on personal wellness and are changing behavioural norms and attitudes towards work. In this session, two of this year’s winners will share their strategies to support health and wellness – and how they help employees balance their personal and professional commitments.

Speakers include:
Ed Kane, Assistant Vice-President (University Services), Carleton University
Marie-Claude Lapointe, Executive Director, Human Resources, Merck Canada

Case Study IV: Understanding Authentic Recognition and Employee Engagement

The value of a highly engaged workforce is no secret. Better engagement contributes to long-term employee retention, increased productivity and, ultimately, stronger organizations. This case study focuses on one of the simplest (and often overlooked) sources of employee engagement: recognition. A well-designed recognition program builds pride and a sense of purpose among employees – and develops a workplace culture of commitment and belonging. In this session, two of this year’s winners will share the importance of developing a practice of authentic recognition and share how they train managers to be adept at recognizing personal and professional achievements of their staff.

Speakers include:
Lee Crawford, Associate Vice President, Employee Experience, TD
Karey Stanley-Boyd, Senior Manager, Enterprise Recognition Programs, TD
Vatche Rubenyan, Vice President of Compensation and Benefits, Rogers Communications


2:00pm - 3:00pm
Meet the Innovators: Inventive Programs and Policies from this Year’s Winners

Our final session at this year’s conference showcases some of the most innovative and interesting HR practices that we’ve seen this year. From internal awards that highlight employee innovation and creativity to programs that encourage global collaboration to a unique HR practice that enables employees to pursue personal interests, this last session showcases inspiring examples of innovation and inventive HR practices at winners of our national and regional competitions.

Panelists include:
Shurjeel Choudhri, Senior Vice President and Head of Medical and Scientific Affairs, Bayer
Nadia Petrolito, Vice President, General Counsel & Chief Communications Officer, L’Oreal Canada
Lindsay Mather, Vice President of Human Resources, Rogers Insurance
Scott Stokes, Director of Supply, Labatt Breweries


3:00pm - 3:15pm
Closing Remarks & Special Grand Prize Draw

Join the conference co-chairs for their closing thoughts and a summary of the key themes discussed at this year’s Top Employer Summit. Be sure that you are on hand for our remarkable prize draw — two complimentary round-trip air tickets sponsored by Delta/KLM/Air France and Alitalia.

To be eligible for this draw, have your “Passeport” stamped by our exhibitors, then drop your completed Passeport into the draw box. To receive the prize, you must be in the room when the draw takes place.

Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project
Tony Meehan, Publisher & CEO at Mediacorp Canada Inc.


All seminars will take place on the afternoon of November 29th. Attendees may select one to attend.

Canada’s Greenest EmployersCanada’s Top Employers for Young People

Canada’s Greenest EmployersBest Employers for New Canadians

Canada’s Greenest EmployersCanada’s Greenest Employers