Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Ottawa Catholic School Board, The was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2017):
- A school board leader, Ottawa Catholic School Board supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 100% of salary for 6 weeks followed by 75% of salary for an additional 11 weeks) as well as parental top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents -- employees also have the option to extend their leave to an unpaid leave of absence
- Ottawa Catholic School Board encourages ongoing employee development with subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation, in-house and online training options, and formal mentoring opportunities
- Ottawa Catholic School Board helps employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan
The Ottawa Catholic School Board is a caring family
When she joined the Ottawa Catholic School Board as a chemistry teacher in 1993, Cindy Owens encountered an overwhelming sense of family and community at the schools where she worked. "As staff faced life challenges, the whole school community would surround them and take care of them," she says. "They set up schedules for who was going to cook their meals."
That family feeling was also apparent at retirement celebrations. "Everybody is there. My husband is in the private sector and he came with me to a retirement celebration for a staff member and could not believe how many people showed up. Because in the private sector, you might only have a few people from your team, maybe."
Then, as Owens went on to become vice-principal, principal and, in 2015, Superintendent of Human Resources, she experienced that warmth in a more personal way. "My dad passed away about eight years ago, and the food that came into my house that I could put in my freezer and cook another day, the number of people who came to Montreal for the funeral -- it was unbelievable." Owens says it was the same when her mother died in January. "It just makes you feel part of something worthwhile."
Elementary school teacher Tammy Doyle, who has been with the Board for 25 years, experienced a similar wave of support when her father had a stroke three years ago. But she also learned just how open to innovation and employee creativity the Board is. Amid helping to take care of her dad, she had a bright idea: what if she enlisted her Grade 1 students to cheer him on in his rehab, thereby giving the kids some real-life learning that would involve their reading, writing, verbal and media skills? The Board gave her an enthusiastic green light.
The kids wrote letters to Doyle's father and created weekly videos for him, encouraging the recovering man to "be brave as a knight." They excitedly watched live footage of him taking his first steps (he is now mostly recovered). "The OCSB is a visionary Board," says Doyle. "The deep learning that took place among all of us is beyond any words I have."
The Board's commitment to its employees is also evident in its benefits, says Owens. It is currently focusing on employee well-being, surveying workers to learn more about key factors that contribute to workplace wellness. "That's an example of an initiative that says we do value our employees, we do value their wellness."