Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 21, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Vancouver, City of was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
- City of Vancouver offers maternity leave top-up payments for its new moms (varying by employee group) and returning employees are offered priority placement at a daycare centre located across the street from City Hall
- City of Vancouver manages the unique "FitCity" incentive program, offering employees the chance to earn redeemable points through leading a healthy lifestyle, physical activity and sustainable living behaviours, such as walking or cycling to work
- Along with being certified as a "Living Wage" employer, City of Vancouver helps employees save for the future with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan and offers retirement planning assistance
City of Vancouver employees encouraged to reach high
For Eleena Marley, the best part about working for the City of Vancouver is the work itself. She oversees colleagues handling big strategic issues such as affordable housing, electric vehicle programs and economic development. "It's fascinating, rewarding and very challenging," says Marley, associate director of business planning and project support. "We're really trying to make a difference."
And there are many different ways to make a difference in such a large, diverse organization, says deputy city manager Paul Mochrie. "We've got a lot of different types of jobs and that creates great career opportunities," he says. "People have the opportunity to move around and pursue their career in different lines of business."
That applies to administrative staff as well as managers, directors and others in leadership roles. Mochrie joined the City seven years ago as general manager of human resources and has since transitioned over to his current position of deputy City Manager.
The City provides a suite of in-house training and development programs. Marley has participated in a half-day cultural competency course as part of the city's commitment to truth and reconciliation. As well, she took a resilient leadership course that involved six half-day sessions.
"I've been impressed with the training and development delivered by the City," says Marley. "It's really strategic, really value-added, forward-thinking and relevant."
The City has a number of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting the health and wellness of its workforce - and that includes mental and emotional well-being. Mochrie says that first-responders in rire and rescue services, as well as frontline employees in other services, frequently deal with situations that can lead to high levels of occupational stress and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
As a result, the City has expanded its counselling services and its family assistance program, and the fire department has created a mental health coordinator position to deal with some of the systemic issues that first-responders face.
The City has a sustainable commuting program that offers employees rebates on transit fares. Employees also have access to a digital app that facilitates carpooling, and there are end-of-trip facilities at many City buildings to encourage cycling. These include indoor bike locks, change rooms and showers. As well, some City buildings have on-site gyms where employees can participate in fitness classes, and City staff are eligible for 50 per cent discounts at community centres.
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 Vancouver, City of was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2018):
- As part of its Greenest City Action Plan adopted in 2011, the City of Vancouver's stated (and modest) goal is to make Vancouver "the greenest city in the world" by 2020 -- the plan includes strategies and actions such as reducing harmful emissions (greenhouse gas emissions from city facilities have decreased by 23% since 2007) to making walking, cycling and public transit the preferred modes of transport to having the best drinking water and cleanest air in the world (to name a few)
- City of Vancouver set a goal of creating 2,010 community garden plots to be a legacy of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games -- today, the City has over 4,000 community garden plots and, in 2013, adopted the unique Vancouver Food Strategy to integrate food issues, challenges and goals within the City's overall planning processes
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 28, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Vancouver, City of was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
- In 2018, City of Vancouver adopted an extensive, long-term strategy to address systemic issues that impact women's full inclusion -- the strategy includes a number of short-term actions that span five priority areas, such as women's safety and violence against women, affordable quality childcare, and women's leadership and representation in the workforce
- City of Vancouver continues to implement recommendations from the city's Trans*, Gender Variant & Two-Spirit Inclusion Report, such as updating city facilities, policies and procedures -- recommendations include specific actions in the areas of signage and literature, public spaces (including washrooms and change rooms), training and staff policies, programming, and collaborative public and community partnerships
- The City embarked on its seventh annual mentorship program for new Canadians, offered in partnership with the Immigration Employment Council of British Columbia and various service providers (nearly 200 mentoring matches have been made since the program's inception)
The City of Vancouver has a broad diversity strategy
For a number of years the City of Vancouver has had a Respectful Workplace Policy, training programs to eliminate bullying, harassment and discrimination and several other policies and programs to ensure that every employee - regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation - feels welcome and included.
"It's really the key to driving excellence, innovation and engagement," says Anne Nickerson, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. "It underscores the City's commitment to hiring a workforce that reflects the community we serve."
That said, there's still work to be done. In 2018, the City launched a number of ambitious initiatives aimed at - among other things - addressing female under-representation in some professions, while continuing to enhance the City's relationship with local Indigenous communities and eliminating barriers for trans, gender variant and two-spirit individuals.
"We want to infuse diversity and inclusion throughout our entire organization," says Sandra Singh, General Manager, Arts, Culture and Community Services. "That's the ultimate goal."
Last January, City Council approved a 10-year women's equity strategy and established actions related to five themes for phase one, covering 2018-19. The City hopes to increase the number of women in leadership roles at all levels and to address underrepresentation in the fire services, information technology, trades and operations.
One of the first concrete measures was to create a new assistant chief of outreach and recruitment at the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services with a mandate to increase workforce diversity.
The council has approved a City of delivery of services. "We offer our staff online and in-class cultural competency training as part of our City of Reconciliation strategy," says Nickerson. "And we're creating specific positions forIndigenous planning staff."
The City now has an Indigenous Relations Manager as well as several Indigenous social and cultural planners employed in a number of business units such as the Park Board and Social Policy. "They liaise and work with Indigenous service groups and the broader community," says Singh. "They bring their lived experience to internal matters, they work at the project level and they make recommendations on policy and strategy."
Under the City's Trans*, Gender Variant and Two-Spirit Inclusion initiative, the Human Resources department has developed online resources and training materials to raise awareness among staff and managers. "We've done a lot of training with our staff on serving people in those communities and we're always seeking job applications from diverse communities," says Nickerson.
The City has also adopted gender-neutral signage outside washrooms and change rooms. "We have always been careful to ensure that our work sites welcome people with differences," says Nickerson. "We want people to bring their whole, authentic selves to work and not feel they can't be who they really are."
For the past seven years, up to 40 City employees have participated annually in a program called Mentorship for New Immigrant Professionals, which is offered in partnership with the Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. Mentors introduce the newcomers to contacts in their field, explain the work environment in Canada and help them prepare resumes.
"Many mentees who have gone through the program have found employment in their fields, including some who are now employed with the City in engineering, human resources and planning," says Nickerson.