CIBC, Destination Canada and Via Rail are among employers aligning their employee engagement efforts with the celebration of 150 years since Confederation.

Since CIBC is also celebrating 150 years in 2017, it’s tying its own milestone to Canada’s festivities, offering its 44,000 employees a paid day off that they can take near or on their own birthday. All employees and retirees will also receive a commemorative silver medallion.

Read: Employee engagement in Canada rises to 70%: survey

Every CIBC location across Canada celebrated the company’s 150th anniversary in May with employees and clients. Twenty locations across Canada — at least one in each province and territory — were encouraged to create even bigger celebratory events. “The spirit of the day was incredible,” says Diana Spremo, senior communications consultant for sponsorship and community investment at the bank. “Being on the communications team, I heard of some celebrations across the country, and it seemed everyone was simply elated and proud to be celebrating 150 years of history at CIBC and Canada’s 150th. We received a record number of employee comments about the celebrations on our internal social media platform.”

Destination Canada, which is working all year with the Department of Canadian Heritage and Parks Canada to promote Canada’s 150th anniversary to travellers from home and abroad, is also raising awareness with its own employees through its social committee in Vancouver, as well as engaging staff at its offices around the world.

“Staff are encouraged to wear their best Canadian attire and bring along a dish to share over their lunch break with their colleagues in the week leading up to Canada Day,” says Emma Slieker, the organization’s communications analyst. “This is a great opportunity to generate employee engagement and encourage the entire team at Destination Canada to celebrate Canada 150.”

Read: Trust, involvement and developing staff the keys to boosting employee engagement

And VIA Rail is participating in a number of celebrations across Canada throughout the year as part of the 2017 festivities, says spokesperson Mylene Belanger. Employees have the opportunity to experience the celebrations firsthand, acting as field reporters for Via Rail at a number of the events, which include the Juno Awards, the Grey Cup and the Invictus Games.

“We selected these activities based on their ability to bring Canadians together, promote our culture and foster diversity,” she says.“We are asking them to be our eyes and ears on the ground and provide us with a short text, with photos, about the event, to be published on our intranet.”

Read: Deadline coming fast for 2017 Workplace Benefits Awards entries

The anniversary represents an opportunity for Canadian companies to go back to their roots by celebrating their culture and heritage, says Alyssa Hodder, senior communications consultant at Eckler Ltd. “There are people doing barbecues, wear-red-and-white days and those types of things. Those are always fun activities for employees, but there are always ways you can do something more meaningful if you’re looking at going back to your roots.”

One suggestion is for an organization to create its own timeline of events, aligning it with the key dates in Canada’s history, she says. They can also ask employees to share their most memorable moments at work and help create a more informal and interactive timeline.

“The connection is going back to the people and the culture, which is the same kind of connection you would make to Canada as a country,” says Hodder. “Culture is something we celebrate as Canadians, so I think it’s something we celebrate as organizations as well.”

Read: Apps, peer recognition among the trends in employee recognition programs

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on
See all comments Recent Comments


I hope all the big banks will join CIBC in offering some rewards in celeberating the 150 years of canada celeberations.

Tuesday, June 27 at 9:16 am | Reply

Add a comment

Have your say on this topic! Comments that are thought to be disrespectful or offensive may be removed by our Benefits Canada admins. Thanks!

* These fields are required.
Field required
Field required
Field required