25 december 2012

One of Canada's top employers knows how to be family-friendly


Photo: Mediacorp

The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS) came in second place on the list of Canada’s Top Family-Friendly Employers for 2013. The child and youth services welfare has 581 employees and offers from four to six weeks paid vacation to its employees, among other benefits.

The list of Top Family-Friendly Employers is compiled by Mediacorp and includes very diverse organizations, such as BC Public Service, Dalhousie University, in Halifax and Desjardins Credit unions, in Quebec. Now in its 13th year, it shows that benefits packages continue to evolve to accommodate the changing needs of working families.
According to Jane Gilmour, human resources consultant at the CCAS, the organization recognizes that front-line child protection is very stressful and that workers have to make sure their own families are doing well, in order to provide support for other children, youth and families.

“It’s kind of like strengthening your own, and then you’re able to be in a much better position to help others,” she says.

The CCAS has an impressive record as an employer, offering up to eight weeks paid vacation a year. (Photo: CBC News report)

In order to keep stress levels down, the CCAS offers its workers a wide variety of leaves. For example, employees have up to eight days paid time-off each year to look after their families. On average, however, they only use two of these days a year.

“We do want to consider how we can best have people utilize benefits they’re receiving," she says.

One of the most interesting aspects of the CCAS’s benefits and leave package is its flexibility.

“People do have an opportunity to use [the package] based on how they themselves need it and what life experiences they’re going through," Gilmour says.

The CCAS offers its workers a wide variety of leaves. (Photo: CBC News report)

Encouraging diversity in the workplace

Besides being a top family-friendly employer, the CCAS is also of one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2013. Even though its name is Catholic Children’s Aid Society, the agency offers services to children from different faiths.

“[Encouraging diversity] is something we’ve done for a lot of years now, and a lot of it is because we have such a diverse client group. Many of our employees are of multi-faith, and I think they like working for this organization because we try to emulate what that faith means, how to provide better service to our client and how we treat each other on the job," Gilmour adds.

Gilda Salomone spoke with Jane Gilmour, human resources consultant at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
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