Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 30, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Ottawa Community Housing Corporation was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2018):
- Ottawa Community Housing supports employees who are new parents (including adoptive) with maternity and parental leave top-up payments of up to 95% of salary for 25 weeks -- and offers the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Ottawa Community Housing encourages ongoing employee development with subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation and a variety of in-house and online training programs
- Ottawa Community Housing helps employees achieve better work-life balance with flexible work hours, a telecommuting option and paid personal days, which can be scheduled as needed
Ottawa Community Housing is more than just a landlord
There's a saying at Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) -- "We're more than just a landlord." And according to Jaime Bowen, Tenant Service Manager, "That's a very true statement. We're really passionate about the need for stable housing as a basis for dealing with a multitude of other tenant matters."
The organization provides social housing for 32,000 residents in a variety of settings, including high-rise apartments, mid-rise buildings and townhouses, and it has strategic partnerships with approximately 100 community organizations that deliver services and assistance to tenants.
"Our people really care about our mandate, which is to help people change their lives," says Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Giguère. "Everything is connected to our core values of collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence. Those are really the drivers between us and the tenants and us and our partners."
Ottawa Community Housing employs people with a variety of skills, says Giguère. These include engineering services, accounting, safety and security, maintenance, administration, and community development. The corporation is committed to professional development for its staff and offers a suite of in-house, online learning materials tailored to their specific competencies. It covers the cost of relevant professional associations and learning programs offered by outside organizations.
"We're a learning organization," says Giguere. "We provide an environment where people can work, grow, learn and share their passion for helping others."
Bowen joined the agency two years ago after earning a social service worker college diploma and working on housing and homelessness issues for several Ottawa community health centres. Apart from continuing to work on issues she is passionate about, OCH has offered her plenty of opportunity to learn and grow.
She has completed leadership and project management courses at outside organizations and taken advantage of in-house learning materials as well. "My colleagues have really helped me see my potential," she says. "I've been included in meetings, being listened to and had my ideas validated. That gives you the confidence to push yourself and to take risks."
The corporation relies on some 1,200 volunteers from private companies, federal departments and other organizations to help out with such things as playground maintenance and spring clean-ups around its properties. And it also gives employees time off work to volunteer at food banks, homeless shelters and other agencies that serve the poor and disadvantaged.
"There's so much need in the community," says Giguère. "It's a great opportunity for us to give back."