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 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
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 9, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Hydro Ottawa was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017):
- 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
- Hydro Ottawa created an Engineer Intern Training and Development program to support the development of recent engineering grads -- participants are assigned a Professional Engineer mentor (separate from their supervisor) to provide coaching and mentoring as well as monitor the intern's progress
- Hydro Ottawa launched a Youth Council, chaired by the organization's CEO, to generate insights on issues that involve or affect youth at the organization as well as provide networking opportunities for young professionals within the company
At Hydro Ottawa, youth is a vital energy source
Within a year of landing a permanent job at Hydro Ottawa, Ross Chapman was tapped to try to make payroll processes more efficient for the staff of about 700. Last year he was in a meeting to brainstorm about how to streamline the utility's manual processing of time sheets. A payroll employee at the time - he had also been a summer student for two years - he helped come up with the proposed solution.
"My manager said, 'We think this is a great idea, just go ahead and run with it. We're here if you need help.'" In the end, the idea was adopted. "What I really like about Hydro Ottawa is that if you are looking at taking on more and continuing to grow and learn, there's always an opportunity," says Chapman, now 25, who has since been promoted to HR Automation Analyst.
Being keenly attuned to the enthusiasm and ambition of younger employees is a point of pride for Hydro Ottawa, which is wholly owned by the city and provides electricity distribution, renewable energy generation and energy conservation and management services. But it also arises from the utility's demographics. Chief Human Resources Officer Lyne Parent-Garvey notes that within the next decade, 37 per cent of Hydro Ottawa's workforce will be eligible to retire, with even higher levels of eligibility among trades and technical workers and management.
So, apart from valuing the innovation, creativity and enthusiasm of youth, she says, the utility needs to recruit and prepare a new generation. "The opportunities for young workers here are greater and faster. Folks can expect to move into a supervisory or managerial role within 10 years, easily. In the past it was more 20-some years." Parent-Garvey notes that Hydro Ottawa has a Youth Council, chaired by the President and CEO, to ensure young workers' needs and expectations are met.
Hydro Ottawa's strategies for attracting youth include co-op placements at the high school, college and university levels and a vibrant summer student program. It also offers paid trades apprenticeships, as well as a training and mentorship program for engineering-grad hires that allows them to fulfil all the requirements for their professional engineer (P. Eng.) accreditation.
Samantha Evelyn, 26, is one of those grads working towards her P.Eng. She is a Project Manager in the utility's Asset Management section. Hydro Ottawa supports her in taking courses at Carleton University and lets her take time off for classes, so that the civil engineering graduate can brush up on the electrical side of things.
And like Chapman, she was given extra responsibility early on. In 2015, a year after joining Hydro Ottawa, she was asked to manage the ongoing Ellwood Energy Storage Project, a lithium ion battery energy-storage facility that will inject energy into or take it from the electricity grid to assist in grid stabilization and provide customers with quality service in an environmentally responsible way.
Evelyn says being asked to lead the project "let me know that the company has a lot of faith in me. It makes me feel part of the Hydro Ottawa family."
In 2014, Chapman discovered it's a family that really cares. When he experienced a "family tragedy," the utility and its staff rallied around him. "There were no expectations that I would be back at work at a certain time or that I would have to do this or that while I was gone. People would come out to my house and bring things. It became clear to me that Hydro Ottawa cares about its employees not only during working hours, but outside of 9 to 5 as well."