Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 4, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Hydro Ottawa was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2016):
- Hydro Ottawa provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers, fathers or adoptive parents and offers new parents-to-be a generous subsidy for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) if needed (up to $15,000)
- Hydro Ottawa offers a great head office that features an onsite cafeteria with healthy menus and take-home meals, as well as free access to an onsite fitness facility, complete with instructor-led classes such as yoga and boot camp and personal health consultations and fitness assessments -- outdoors, there are also volleyball and basketball courts for employee use
- Hydro Ottawa supports ongoing employee development through tuition subsidies for job-related courses, financial bonuses for some professional designations (and subsidies for professional accreditation) and a variety of in-house training programs -- and also reaches out to the next generation of employees through apprenticeships in partnership with Algonquin College and summer employment opportunities
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 10, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Hydro Ottawa was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016):
- Hydro Ottawa organizes "The Student Apprentice", a half-day program that provides students with an opportunity to present "value-added" ideas to the organization and interact with executives, including the organization's President and CEO
- In partnership with Algonquin College, Hydro Ottawa provides training to students enrolled in the 2-year powerline technician diploma program and supported sutdents participating in the College's Applied Research Program -- students were tasked to improve last year's project, which was a prototype jacket for powerline training, to become a viable training tool for Hydro Ottawa's own Powerline Technician Program
- Hydro Ottawa developed an interview skills course with Algonquin College to help Powerline Technician students write cover letters and resumes as well as prepare for interviews
Hydro Ottawa listens and learns from next generation
A Hydro Ottawa, youth engagement starts in Junior Kindergarten. For four- and five-year-olds, the company provides teachers with age-appropriate interactive units that demonstrate how to use electricity safely and wisely. The electricity distributor, generator and provider of energy management services continues its educational support through grade and secondary school with more of an emphasis on sustainability.
At the post-secondary level, Hydro Ottawa offers innovative and practical intern and co-op programs for university and college students, as well as award-winning apprentice training. "We're involved with every step of the educational journey," says Chief Human Resources Officer Lyne Parent-Garvey.
Indeed, Hydro Ottawa's commitment to ongoing learning applies to young people even after they become employees. Ahsan Rai, for one, first joined the company's finance group as a summer student while in university. He was hired after graduation, and Hydro Ottawa invested in his development as he studied and qualified to become a Certified Management Accountant and Certified Treasury Professional.
Says Rai, now a Budget Officer: "At Hydro Ottawa, you start as a student but quickly become a professional. I'm very fortunate to work for a company with such strong support for professional growth opportunities. Your superiors really want you to succeed, and they help you along the way. For sure, that helps keep me engaged and encourages me to work even harder."
Sasha McCulloch is another beneficiary of Hydro Ottawa's educational support. She was hired as an engineering co-op student and then full-time after graduating. Now, McCulloch is working toward fulfilling her professional engineering requirements, with the company providing the necessary hands-on experience and reimbursing the cost of her professional fees and any additional education.
While on that co-op assignment in 2012, McCulloch participated in Hydro Ottawa's first Student Apprentice Program, a now annual all-day event when students present executive management, including the President and CEO, with solutions to business challenges as well as ideas for operational improvements. Several recommendations have been implemented as a result. "It's encouraging that the company values the opinions of its students," says McCulloch. "It shows they understand the need for young people to be heard and to respond to their views."
For Parent-Garvey, the Student Apprentice Program can be a real eye-opener. "Young people see things differently," she says, "and that can be very valuable. We hear suggestions that make us wonder, 'Why didn't we think of that?' "
Clearly, Hydro Ottawa's efforts to recruit and retain young people are paying off, critical especially over the next decade when the company projects a large wave of retirements. Currently, one out of every six of the company's 700 employees is under the age of 30 and more than one-quarter are under 35.
Parent-Garvey, a two-decade HR professional, says young people today are attracted to Hydro Ottawa's value emphasis on sustainability and community involvement. "Young people are looking for more than a job," she says. "They want an opportunity to give back and be associated with a company that reflects their beliefs and concerns."
To that end, all employees are given one day every year to volunteer for a company-sponsored event or a charity of their choice. "I feel very fortunate that I had a chance to participate in
a Fun Day for kids with cancer," says McCulloch. "It gave them joy and had quite an impact on me."
As well, Parent-Garvey says young people appreciate the genuine respect they receive at work. "We're family sized, so everyone can make a difference - and see the difference they make," she says.
McCulloch agrees. "The transition from the classroom to the workplace can be quite intimidating," she says. "At Hydro Ottawa, they smooth the path by giving you meaningful work and responsibilities from Day One. That really builds confidence and makes it a great place to work."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Top Employers for Young People winners, published January 11, 2016 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 21, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Hydro Ottawa was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016):
- Hydro Ottawa maintains an ongoing program to green its fleet, from a reduced idling policy to replacing vehicles with more efficient and cleaners alternatives where possible, such as electric and hybrid cars, hybrid pick-up trucks, a hybrid bucket truck and flex-fuel vehicles -- in addition, Hydro Ottawa recently co-led a study in partnership with Carlton University on electric grid capacity, to support the growing number of electric vehicles on the road
- Hydro Ottawa reaches out to the next generation through the "Bright Ideas" safety and conservation contest, which extends to Ottawa-area elementary schools -- prizes include two draws for $1,000 for the purchase of classroom resources as well as classroom pizza lunches -- additionally, through the utility's "The Student Apprentice" initiative, summer students can make recommendations to senior management on how to improve environmental sustainability
- Hydro Ottawa encourages its residential and commercial customers to conserve electricity through a number of energy saving programs, including the longstanding "Fridge & Freezer Pick Up" program (over 30,000 customers have used this program and moved to more energy efficient appliances), the "peaksaverPLUS" program to reduce residential peak energy consumption, and the "saveONenergy Retrofit Program" to help its larger commercial customers save energy