Learn which Canadian plan sponsors ranked highest for member satisfaction in this year’s 30 Best Pension and Benefits Plans report.

The Old Boys’ Club that once dominated the Canadian workforce has been replaced with a more inclusive group. Today’s labour market is a diverse population with a variety of different needs—needs that employers must try to accommodate if they want to continue to attract the best talent in their industries. The organizations listed in Canada’s 30 Best Pension and Benefits Plans ranking know how it’s done.

Topping the Charts

This year’s ranking is dominated by the financial industry. Nine financial services organizations made the cut, with five nabbing spots among the top 10. “[Banking] is a very competitive environment. With the shortage of resources, we all have to make sure we are cutting edge and be conscious of what drives engagement,” says Maryse Corbella, director, total rewards and HR systems, with Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). And she should know—BDC took the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row. “I’m proud that our design meets the needs of all our demographic groups,” Corbella adds. “We put a lot of effort into helping people understand the programs.”

Other financial institutions that fared well were Wellington West Holdings at No. 5 and Envision Financial in the No. 6 spot. The pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industry was also well represented, with a total of four companies in the ranking. “Pharmaceuticals and financials, including banks, insurance companies and credit unions—those are industries that have had talent challenges for a long time,” says Neil Crawford, principal with Hewitt Associates and leader of the 30 Best Pension and Benefits Plans study. “They’ve been very focused and very intentional about what’s going on in the work environment and making change.”

On an individual level, Intuit Canada and Gibson Energy stood out for having benefits programs that were easy to use. Gibson Energy also shone for giving employees a sufficient amount of choice, as did AstraZeneca, Envision Financial, and Prospera Credit Union and Insurance Agency. Envision and Prospera also scored well in communicating benefits programs. JTI-MacDonald, L’Union Canadienne and Intuit were the highest scoring for communicating retirement savings programs.

How the 30 Best Compare

How the list was selected

We turned to our research partner, Hewitt Associates, to select the organizations listed in Canada’s 30 Best Pension and Benefits Plans ranking. During the last year, Hewitt conducted extensive employee research among more than 150,000 Canadian workers in more than 200 organizations, identifying those in which the employees expressed high levels of engagement and satisfaction with their benefits programs. The employers listed here may not always have the most innovative programs, but they are the ones that employees are most happy with. As part of the criteria, organizations had to meet a minimum level of employee engagement, which explains why many of these organizations have also been named in Hewitt’s 50 Best Employers in Canada study.


When it comes to having employees that are happy with their pension and benefits plans, the companies among the 30 Best are leading by example.

According to the data gathered by Hewitt, on average, 84% of employees working for companies in the 30 Best agreed or strongly agreed that their benefits meet their needs and the needs of their families. The overall Canadian average is 67%.

When asked if the benefits program was easy to use, 82% of those working in the 30 Best companies said they agree or strongly agree, while only 69% of employees overall said the same.

When asked if “My benefits program is important in my decision to stay with this organization,” 73% of employees among the 30 Best companies agreed or strongly agreed. The average across all employees is 59%.

When asked if the organization’s communications have helped employees gain a good understanding of their benefits programs, 80% of employees in the 30 Best agreed or strongly agreed with the statement. When asked the same about communicating retirement savings programs, 69% agreed or strongly agreed. On the whole, the Canadian average is 64% for benefits communications and only 55% for pension/retirement communications.

These results show the importance of thoroughly communicating HR programs and keeping workers engaged. Offering pension and benefits programs that meet employees’ specific needs leads to happier employees. And, satisfied employees who understand the value of the benefits offered are more likely to stay with the organization.