Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Canadian Standards Association / CSA was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- CSA Group is an active member of the community, focusing on youth engagement, occupational health and safety, and community well-being initiatives -- additionally, the company encourages employees to give back and matches employee donations dollar for dollar
- Along with helping employees save for retirement, CSA Group extends health benefits to retirees (with no age limit)
- CSA Group provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers or fathers, including adoptive parents (to 90% of salary ranging from 5 to 22 weeks, depending on the employee) -- and offers academic scholarships to children of employees who pursue post-secondary education (to $3,500 per child)
CSA Group is setting standards for the future
For many Canadians, CSA Group, formerly the Canadian Standards Association, is probably best known as the organization that safety tests and certifies their electrical appliances. While that's an important part of what the independent, not-for-profit, member-based association does, it's far from the whole story -- especially now that CSA Group is updating its own standards.
President and Chief Executive Officer David Weinstein is eager to share that message with everyone, including potential employees. "There are great opportunities here," he says. "Our work changes as our clients' needs change so being innovative is very important to CSA Group. We are building an ultra-modern enterprise within a 100-year-old organization."
To do that, Weinstein says CSA Group has launched several initiatives. These include enhancing its training and development programs and increasing the scope of its research beyond project-specific analysis, to name only some.
It's the latest reboot for an organization formed in 1919 to develop engineering standards for railway bridges. Today, CSA Group develops internationally recognized standards for businesses, industries and consumers worldwide. Its mandate extends beyond domestic products to a wide range of market sectors, including public safety and health, equitable trade, and environmental protection.
Toronto-based, CSA Group has more than 35 labs and offices in 14 countries in Europe, Asia and North America. Its certification mark, now on more than a billion products, is recognized and accepted by many international governmental and regulatory bodies.
That global span means employees can travel to take on special assignments at the various locations. Some have even transferred to work full time abroad. For Paul Keane, Executive Vice-President, Human Resources, overseas experience is just one of many advantages of working for CSA Group.
As an HR professional with 30-plus years of experience, Keane says he inherently cares about people. "The best and most gratifying part of my job is seeing individuals progress in their careers," he adds. And since he joined CSA Group in 2007, he's experienced that sort of job satisfaction increasingly often.
Keane explains that in recent years, with Weinstein coming on board in 2015, CSA Group has dedicated tremendous resources to a range of professional development opportunities. With an emphasis on continuous learning, the association offers in-house training, tuition and accreditation support, mentoring and coaching, and leadership programs.
The majority of employees have backgrounds in engineering, so technical training will always be important, Keane says. But now, he adds, there's greater emphasis on being agile and adaptable: "Technology is constantly changing, which means you have to upgrade your competencies. You learn to earn."
If employees want to try something different, such as management or sales, that too is now an option. The association offers four paths to career development with training materials for each one. CSA Group even offers seminars informing employees about the learning opportunities open to them and how to access them.
In another significant development, the association launched a research program to explore opportunities to create standards in important new fields, such as the sharing economy and reducing the spread of infectious diseases within hospitals. The findings of their initial research efforts, published in a series of white papers and presented at conferences, have been well received.
Amid all the changes, the association's commitment to creating a better, safer, more sustainable world remains constant. And that, says Weinstein, is a powerful draw for anyone interested in working for something other than a purely commercial enterprise.
"CSA employees can build an interesting and meaningful career here," he adds. "They see their work make a valuable contribution right away."