Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 30, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Universities Canada was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2018):
- Along with supporting a number of charitable initiatives each year, Universities Canada encourages employees to give back to the broader community by sponsoring one employee per year to participate in the Leave for Change Program, allowing employees to devote part of their vacation to volunteer in a developing country
- Universities Canada offers excellent maternity and parental leave top-up payments, up to 70% of salary for a full year for new mothers and between 35 to 37 weeks for new fathers and adoptive parents -- additionally, employees can take advantage of onsite daycare when they are ready to return to work
- In keeping with its line of business, Universities Canada manages a generous academic scholarship program for children of employees interested in pursuing post-secondary studies (to $6,000 per child) and offers opportunities for the next generation to gain on-the-job experience through paid internships, co-op placements and summer student positions
Universities Canada is all about having an impact
After earning a master's degree in Political Management, Gwendolyn Moncrieff-Gould landed an internship and later a full-time position at Universities Canada, which serves as a voice and an advocate for higher education in the nation's capital. It has proved an ideal fit with her education and her personal interests.
"I was part of the student movement when I was in school and I really liked working on campaigns," says Moncrieff-Gould, the organization's Government Relations Coordinator. "Now I'm working for actual change in Canada. We're a small organization, but we're big enough that we do have an impact."
Universities Canada is all about promoting "the transformative power of higher education," as well as the contribution universities make to the future of the country, says President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Davidson.
"What we offer people is a chance to make a difference," says Davidson. "That's particularly attractive to younger people. They can see the results of their efforts to advance our agenda of higher education, research and innovation."
For Moncrieff-Gould, that means meeting as often as possible with decision-makers on Parliament Hill. "Reaching out to MPs, staffers or senators is part of my weekly if not day-to-day responsibilities," she says. "It's a very fast-paced, challenging space and that's why I like it so much."
The organization encourages its employees to pursue learning and development opportunities. It also places a great deal of emphasis on work-life balance as well as health and wellness, and that includes free memberships to the gym in the building where the offices are located.
'We're a smaller organization so we have to find ways to recognize and reward outstanding performance and to equip our people with broader skills," says Davidson. "We're in a very competitive market but we've been able to retain our top performers."
In recent years, Universities Canada has embarked on an initiative to attract new or recent graduates, but the organization also boasts a healthy complement of long-serving and dedicated employees. Operations Supervisor Madeleine Vanasse started in September 1972 after obtaining her high school diploma and worked for a number of years in the finance department.
"When I started I never thought I'd be here for 45 years," says Vanasse. "The reason I stayed is it's such a good organization. It's a learning organization. We're very committed to providing employees with ongoing skills development and new challenges."