Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Children's Aid Society of Toronto, The was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- Children's Aid Society of Toronto helps employees balance work and their personal lives with up to 4 weeks of starting vacation allowance as well as up to 10 paid personal days off, which can be scheduled throughout the year
- Children's Aid Society of Toronto helps employees plan securely for the future with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan and retirement planning assistance -- and offers phased-in work options for those nearing retirement
- As part of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto's health benefits plan, the organization offers a health spending account of up to $1,000 per year, allowing employees to top up coverage according to their personal needs
CAS front-line workers receive top-notch peer support
When Kanjana Brodie discusses what she like about her job at the Children's Aid Society of Toronto, team dynamics tops the list. Support from peers and supervisors is essential given the nature of her work.
Brodie is a Family Service Worker and routinely deals with neglected or abused youngsters and parents with complex needs. She meets families face to face in their homes and usually on her own. But she is part of a team of nine social workers and can always turn to them for advice and support.
"Everyone on my team knows my challenging files and they help me," says Brodie. "We have really critical conversations about the work we do and learn from each other how we can be less oppressive in our practice. I definitely feel that support and that's something I really value."
Front-line workers are challenged daily in their efforts to support families and create safety for their children, and the CAS goes the extra mile to support them. "The work is important so we treat our employees as highly skilled and respected professionals," says Marnie Lynn, the society's Chief Human Resources Officer. "We provide great compensation packages and we have one supervisor for every eight front-line workers. There's always someone to consult or lean on."
Newly hired social workers are partnered with a more seasoned worker who serves as a mentor. The society also maintains a formal peer support network which front-line workers can turn to when necessary.
"We have a mandatory referral from a supervisor if they feel a worker has been through a particularly stressful situation or a call didn't go as expected," says Lynn. "Members of the peer network are trained to provide emotional support."
The society has formal succession planning and leadership development programs, both of which ensure that there are capable replacements available when there are retirements, departures or promotions. Succession planning involves such things as giving employees stretch assignments or allowing them to chair committees or lunch and learn sessions.
Or in Brodie's case taking on a master of social work (MSW) student who was doing a school placement. "My supervisor says she can see me taking on a supervisory role in the future," says Brodie. "That isn't in the realm of possibility right now, but having that seed planted by my supervisor instills a lot of confidence in me."
There are two streams of leadership training, one of which is offered internally through the society's Child Welfare Institute. The society also partners with an Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies program involving York University's Schulich School of Business.
Front-line workers typically have a case load of 14 to 18 families and they enjoy a great deal of latitude in determining what kind of therapies or interventions are necessary in each case. As well, they can keep their own hours. "Sometimes they have to work late to meet the needs of their clients," says Lynn. "So it's up to the individual when they start and end their day and whether they work from home or come to the office."
The agency is generous when it comes to vacation -- four weeks to start -- and personal leave days. Brodie says she was allowed to take four weeks after one particularly challenging year and she has taken personal days, no questions asked.
"My mom was on a work trip to Collingwood and broke her hip," Brodie says. "I messaged my supervisor and she said 'Go. Don't worry. We know what needs to be covered."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 27, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Children's Aid Society of Toronto, The was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017):
- Children's Aid Society of Toronto created a number of committees to address various topics including diversity and inclusion, anti-oppression and anti-racism, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and black education and awareness
- Children's Aid Society of Toronto has maintained the Out and Proud program for over 18 years to ensure its services are open, inclusive, safe and positive for the LGBT community as well as its employees, and also established Out and Proud Affirmation Guidelines
- Children's Aid Society of Toronto is committed to improving the accessibility of its physical space and worked with Springtide Resources to conduct audits of all three of the organization's worksites -- the organization is currently working to implement audit recommendations