Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019) and National Capital Region's Top Employers (2018):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why NAV CANADA was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019) and National Capital Region's Top Employers (2018):
- As part of NAV CANADA's health benefits plan, employees receive a health spending account of up to $750 as well as a separate wellness spending account of $275
- NAV CANADA further supports employee efforts to prioritize their health and wellness with a dedicated mental health strategy and access to a Live Well website, which offers resources on fitness, nutrition and smoking cessation
- NAV CANADA supports a number of local, national and international charitable organizations each year and sets aside $130,000 for donations based on employee requests -- the organization also sets aside an impressive $500,000 to support local initiatives across the country where employees live and work
Watch your career take off at NAV Canada
Maybe this is why NAV CANADA, the country's civil air navigation services provider, always writes its name in capital letters. "This is one of the most exciting places to work in Canada," says President and CEO Neil Wilson. "We're a global leader when it comes to safety, when it comes to service to our customers and when it comes to our world-leading technology. And we achieve all that through our people."
So it may not be surprising that the Ottawa-based non-profit company, which purchased the air navigation system from the federal government in 1996, has as its new employment tagline, "Leave Ordinary Behind". Wilson says that in the last two years, the company has especially focused on its employees, asking them for feedback, to get "the right number, the right culture, the right rewards and the right performance."
On rewards, says Wilson, "we believe we're one of the best employers in Canada for pay and benefits. But beyond that, we want to make sure we have the right culture, a healthy culture that is focused on diversity and inclusion."
In part, that means expanding opportunities for women in a company where the traditionally male roles of air traffic controller, flight service specialist, technologist and engineer make up the majority of jobs across the country. Currently 23 per cent of employees and 31 per cent of the executive team are women. Wilson points to a new "summer camp" initiative in which the company flew 30 female Grade 10 students, selected from some 300 across Canada, to facilities in Ontario to show them how exciting a job with NAV CANADA might be.
But the cultural effort goes further, says Wilson. "We look at diversity in a much broader sense. It certainly includes gender, but it also includes age, ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, whatever makes people different. We want that thought and perspective brought to the table."
Bethany Johnston has seen this positive culture shift in her 10 years at NAV CANADA, where she is now Senior Manager, Project Delivery Services in IT. She says she appreciates the company's commitment to lasting organizational change. While she has always felt comfortable at NAV CANADA, "our culture has really transformed in the last two years," she says. "Our Diversity and Inclusion strategy is about more than checking a box; It's about fostering a culture where we can contribute fully, and bring all the elements of who we are to work - our diverse backgrounds, education, interests, character, points of view, and so on."
As for exciting work, beyond managing air traffic there is also NAV CANADA's joint venture with Iridium Satellite Communications and other partners, known as Aireon, to put a cutting-edge payload on Iridium's 75 new satellites currently being launched into orbit. This service will greatly extend global air traffic surveillance and provide emergency tracking of all suitably equipped aircraft, no matter where they fly. This could ensure that tragedies like the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 never happen again. "That's new - this capability doesn't exist," says Wilson. "This is part of our world-leading technology."
Johnston finds this all very inspiring. "I get pretty excited about the things we're doing," she says. "If you walk into an Area Control Centre, you see these blips on the screens and you realize, those are planes and the controllers are talking to pilots thousands of feet up. This is neat stuff, and I'm part of it."
She also likes the work-life balance NAV CANADA offers as well as the opportunities for career growth and development. In sum, she says, "I work for a very cool company."