Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2018):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 22, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Capital Regional District / CRD was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2018):
- Capital Regional District offers its new moms maternity leave top-up payments for the majority of its employees (to 100% of salary for 17 weeks) -- and manages an academic scholarship program for children of employees interested in post-secondary education
- Varying by employee group, Capital Regional District helps employees plan for life after work with retirement planning assistance and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan -- also offers phased-in retirement work options for employees nearing retirement
- Capital Regional District encourages employees to keep their skills sharp through in-house training programs as well as tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions
Making a difference together is the difference at the CRD
When Bethany Jones moved to Victoria in 2015, she walked past the offices of the Capital Regional District (CRD) almost every day. Finally, she decided to find out more about it.
"When I did," she says, "I applied for a job."
A designated accountant, Jones wanted to work in the public sector. Since she and her husband have plans to start a family, she also wanted employment with predictable hours.
At the CRD, she found a regional government that provides a range of services from water conservation to bylaw enforcement to sewage treatment for 13 municipalities and three electoral districts on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, with a total population of about 383,000.
The CRD is responsible for 33 regional parks, for example, with 100 km of trails. The organization also operates a Housing Corporation with 1,300 units of subsidized housing and administers the Capital Region Hospital District that funds and develops hospital projects.
"It's a way to make a difference in the community where I live," says Jones, the CRD's Payroll Supervisor.
Without realizing it at the time, Jones's ambition to make a difference to her community corresponds precisely to the CRD's. The organization's tag line, displayed prominently on its website, stationery and public documents, is "Making a difference... together"
"It defines how we'll achieve our vision," says Chief Administrative Officer Bob Lapham. "People come to work here to make a difference, to expand their knowledge and put their skills into practice across the wide variety of services that we deliver to the region."
To ensure that its employees have the expertise to perform to their full potential and fulfill the organization's mandate, the CRD provides in-house training programs as well as tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions. For Jones, that means studying to become a Certified Payroll Manager. With the CRD's support, she has two courses remaining to finish of the nine required for the designation.
"People here are passionate about the work they do," says Lapham. "They're frontline with the community, and the work they do keeps the region vibrant and sustainable."
That passion for public service extends throughout the CRD. "We're encouraged to know what's going on," says Jones. "My boss tells me about what she does in her job, like budgeting, why it's important and why certain issues are advanced to our Regional Board. She also reminds me of how many people are affected by what we do."
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2018):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 18, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Capital Regional District / CRD was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2018):
- Capital Region District sets the green tone early by providing new employees with a reusable water bottle during their orientation (part of a disposable water bottle ban), native plant seeds and pencils made from recycled paper during the organization's career fair, and reusable dishes, cutlery, mugs and glasses in all its staff rooms
- Capital Region District hosts numerous educational workshops and programming for residents and businesses, including water audit and usage initiatives, programs to eliminate harmful pesticides, and the "Green365 Go Green at Home" campaign for residents, which addresses everything from waste management and water reduction to smart commuting -- the region also offers solar hot water system financial incentives for residents
B.C.'s Capital Regional District walks the walk
When Liz Ferris joined the climate action program at the Capital Regional District (CRD) as an auxiliary employee in 2013, she had a master's degree from the University of British Columbia in Resource Management and Environmental Studies and several years of experience in environmental affairs.
But even though she'd grown up in the region around Victoria, she didn't know a great deal about the CRD's inner workings or its approach to sustainability within the organization and in the region it serves.
"I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much sustainability was embedded in the CRD," says Ferris. "The more I got to know the organization, the more impressed I was."
She learned, for example, that the CRD's head office in Victoria is a LEED-certified building, designed and built using strategies and resources that conserve energy, reduce water consumption and operate with environmental responsibility and efficiency. The building is even designed to collect rainwater to flush the toilets.
Ferris also learned that, more than five years before she joined the CRD, it had set a target of reducing its operational greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020, and that it was continuing to develop strategies to meet its target.
"Our focus on 'Making a difference together', our tag line, defines how we will achieve our vision to achieve exemplary environmental stewardship," says Bob Lapham, the CRD's Chief Administrative Officer.
As the regional government for 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the nearby Gulf Islands, the CRD serves more than 383,000 citizens, and the impact of its green initiatives extends far beyond the organization itself. Just one example: through the provision of environmental education on topics ranging from water conservation, to recycling to native plants, the CRD helps residents protect the local environment and natural resources.
With a skilled workforce of more than 1,000 full- and part-time employees, the CRD works with service contractors and a network of more than 1,600 registered volunteers, making it a significant employer in the region. It maintains direct relationships with individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions that access regional utilities and services and with communities that collaborate for regional services on behalf of their residents.
In addition, the CRD owns and operates the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC), a non-profit provider of more than 1,200 affordable rental units in the region, and administers the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD).
"People come to work at the CRD to make a difference," says Lapham, "to expand their knowledge and awareness of their professional practice or basic working skills and to put them into use and applications across the wide variety of services and functions we provide to our region and communities."
For Ferris, the CRD's Climate Action Analyst, that means finding opportunities to reduce the CRD's environmental footprint while working with the community on a climate action program to support businesses and residents in the region in preparing for climate change.
"We have an environmental protection mandate," says Lapham, "that includes compliance with discharge and storm-water regulations and a strong emphasis on conservation."
Within the CRD, Ferris says, buildings and infrastructure account for about 48 per cent of emissions, while 52 per cent come from the CRD's vehicles.
"At the same time as we reduce our emissions, we try to identify opportunities to reduce operational costs," Ferris says.
A recent upgrade at the CRD to LED lighting, for example, will reduce energy consumption by 44 per cent and repay its cost in energy savings after five years.
Says Ferris: "We walk the walk."