Mountain Equipment Co-op
MEC headquarters' rooftop patio in Vancouver, British Columbia

Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016)

Here are some of the reasons why Mountain Equipment Co-op was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016) and BC's Top Employers (2016):

  • MEC is a retail leader that provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for its full-time new moms and dads, including adoptive parents -- and helps them balance their work and personal lives with a variety of alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, shortened and compressed work week options and a formal earned days off program
  • MEC offers matching RSP contributions to encourage employees to save for the longer term, signing bonuses for some positions, new employee referral bonuses and discounts on an incredible selection of gear for everything from bicycle commuting to heading up Mount Logan as part of their three weeks of starting paid vacation
MEC employees in the company headquarters' open office
MEC employee during the company's Outdoor Nation event
MEC employees taking part in a running race in North Vancouver, British Columbia

Employer Background

Industry Retail Stores
Full-time employees in Canada 737
Part-time employees in Canada 243
Workforce engaged on a contract basis 8%
Average age of employees in Canada 35
Longest serving employee 35 years

Physical Workplace

Commuter amenities subsidized parking, secure/sheltered bicycle parking
Workplace features new head office is housed in a custom-built green building (expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification) that features an abundance of natural light and fresh airflow, rainwater collection system (for reuse and captured in gardens), geothermal heating system and sunlight sensors that raise and lower blinds to optimize temperature as well as optimize lighting levels by turning lights on and off as required -- and many of MEC's retail locations are especially noteworthy for their adoption of green design and building, including reclaimed materials used during construction, solar power generation, rainwater collection and green roofs, nap room, self-serve lunchroom, outdoor barbecue, outdoor patio, discounts at local restaurants
Employee lounge amenities comfortable seating, television, table tennis, guitar, rooftop deck
Onsite fitness facility (employees only) free membership, treadmills, stationary bikes, instructor-led classes (crossfit, spinning, yoga), rowing machines, weights, basketball court, shower facilities
Other nearby amenities Creekside Community Centre, Britannia Community Centre, fitness club, China Creek Park, daycare, restaurants, Vancouver City College

Work Atmosphere & Communications

Recent social events summer barbecues, Halloween and Christmas celebrations, staff and family appreciation shopping nights
Cultural aspects employee sports teams, business casual dress, casual dress (e.g. jeans) daily, music while working
Employee communications intranet site

Financial Benefits & Compensation

Outside salary surveys participates in outside salary surveys every 12 months
Employee salary reviews individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months
Long-term savings matching RSP
Long-term planning life & disability insurance
Profit-sharing plan available to all employees
Referral bonuses new employee referral bonuses (up to $5,000) for some positions
Signing bonuses available for some positions
Additional financial benefits yes

Health & Family-Friendly Benefits

Health plan premium as part of the health plan, the employer pays up to 75% of the premiums
Minimum hours worked for coverage 30 hours per week
Waiting period for coverage 90 days
Family coverage option yes
Dental coverage routine, restorative, orthodontics
Traditional coverage (e.g. prescription drugs) yes
Additional coverage employee assistance (EAP) plan, semi-private hospital room, physiotherapy, medical travel insurance, medical equipment and supplies, massage therapy, podiatrist, osteopathy, chiropractor, alternative coverage (e.g. accupuncture, naturopathy), some employees have access to a health spending account to $300 per year
Maternity top-up (mothers) up to 75% of salary for 11 weeks
Parental top-up (fathers) up to 75% of salary for 11 weeks
Adoption top-up up to 75% of salary for 11 weeks
Alternative work options flexible work hours

Vacation & Personal Time-Off

Vacation allowance new employees receive 3 weeks of paid vacation after their first year on the job
Maximum vacation allowance employees move to a maximum of 6 weeks of vacation over their career
Unpaid leave maximum 3 months

Employee Engagement & Performance

Managers receive performance review training yes
360° feedback option as part of the review process, performance feedback is also solicited from co-workers and other managers familiar with each employee's work
Confidential employee feedback employees can also provide confidential feedback on their manager's performance
Exit interview exit interview option is available for departing employees
Performance recognition individual performance bonuses, on-the-spot rewards, peer-to-peer-recognition awards, long-service awards
In-house survey period in-house surveys are conducted every 24 months
Outside survey period outside consultant surveys are held every 24 months

Training & Skills Development

Tuition subsidies (related to job) yes
Tuition subsidy coverage employer covers up to 100% of tuition per year
Tuition subsidies (unrelated to job) yes
Unrelated tuition subsidy coverage employer covers up to 100% of non-related tuition per year

Community Involvement

Scope of charitable involvement local, national, international
Employee charitable involvement employees are involved in selection of charities, employees receive paid time off to volunteer, (up to 2 paid days)
Total employee volunteer hours (on company time) over 810 hours last year
Total number of charities supported last year approximately 395 charitable and community organizations were supported last year
Community highlight MEC has been providing financial assistance to grassroots conservation initiatives since its founding, donating 1% of its total revenue to numerous local, regional and national initiatives every year and in 2007, MEC became a signatory, and the first retailer, to the "1% For The Planet" initiative, which is an alliance of businesses that believe in providing financial support to environmental initiatives -- the initiative publicly commits the cooperative to donate a full 1% of its annual pre-tax revenues to Canadian environmental causes.

Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016)

Here are some of the reasons why Mountain Equipment Co-op was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016):

  • MEC developed a unique "MEC Green Building System and Policy" which draws upon the foundations of the Canadian Green Building Council, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the US Green Building Council and the International Living Building Institutes Living Building Challenge 2.0 to help improve building design and performance -- across the co-operative, numerous green building features have been incorporated at its store locations, including the use of reclaimed building materials, green and living roofs, geothermal heating systems, rain water collection, and solar hot water and solar photovoltaic power generation
  • As part of its green building program, MEC hosts annual Green Building Systems audits to identify areas for improvement and regularly conducts building tours for schools and community groups to help educate and stimulate ideas about green building in the wider community
  • At store locations across Canada, MEC conducts at least two annual employee-led "dumpster dives" to understand where they are generating waste and identify opportunities for further improvement -- across the co-operative MEC and its employees have introduced many impressive initiatives to reuse and reduce waste where possible, including the reuse of bike tubes that are cut into rubber bands, the reuse of cardboard for packaging and shipping products and the popular "sushi-roll" style packaging for MEC products that eliminates unnecessary packaging -- MEC was also one of the first retailers to eliminate the use of plastic shopping bags back in 2008 and as a result of its many initiatives, has consistently achieved waste diversion rates of over 90 percent since 2007
MEC employees working on the TNT mountain bike trail on Mount Seymour in North Vancouver, British Columbia
Inside MEC's headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia
MEC head office employees enjoy a group cycling trip on the Grand Fondo in Whistler, British Columbia

Highlights

Full-time employees in Canada 737
Employee green team Environmental Integrity Committee (comprised of one senior staff and up to four floor personnel)
Senior executive who oversees initiatives Director of Sustainability
Unique green initiatives gear donations, gear swap program (enables member to trade or sell their unused gear), equipment rental program (from canoes to snowshoes), longstanding equipment repair services (over 8,200 repairs last year), bicycle tube recycling (and reuse when cut into elastic bands for in-store use), ongoing program to work with designers and product managers to source more environmentally preferred materials for MEC branded products (including 100 percent "Bluesign" materials, increasing use of recycled materials, PVC-free products, organically grown cotton, to name a few initiatives)
Commuter amenities secure/sheltered bicycle parking
In-house environmental audit yes
External environmental audit yes
Publishes sustainability report yes
Green community initiatives Nature Conservancy of Canada, Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society, Ecology Action Centre (Nova Scotia), Nature Canada (initiative to help connect urban Canadians to nature), Kids in the Woods (after school program in Toronto to get kids outdoors), MEC Howmewaters (supports projects dedicated to preserving Canada's fresh water systems), Commuter Challenge, Bike to Work Week, Leave No Trace Canada, Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, Alpine Club of Canada, Protect Our Winters, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), 1% for the Planet, Conservation Alliance, Parks Canada, and many more
Head office LEED Pending
Other location LEED Gold
Building footprint includes PV solar panels, rainwater collection, green roof, solar water heating, geothermal heating/cooling, reclaimed building materials, other building accreditation (BOMA etc.)

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