It doesn't surprise me much that BHP BILLITON DIAMONDS is one of Canada's top employers. So are DOFASCO, SHELL CANADA and SUNCOR ENERGY. These and 96 other companies made the list of Maclean's 100 Best Companies to Work For in its Oct. 20 issue.
The editors of Maclean's considered a list of 51,000 companies. To choose only 100 must have been a formidable task. Their criteria covered corporate policies from vacations to philanthropy. Their choices were presented alphabetically, so there is no one employer claiming to be "the best".
BHP Billiton, which owns and operates Canada's first diamond producer at Lac des Gras, N.W.T., was cited for its "Full on-site gym, golf simulators, all-you-can-eat cafeteria, and herds of caribou roaming by." These add up to very nice benefits for people in a remote camp. Notice that after gustatory over-indulgence, workers can get themselves back in shape at the gym.
Dofasco made the cut due to its "profit-sharing plan, recreation/education facility, and three annual post-secondary scholarships ($2,500 each) to employees' kids." I keep an eye on Dofasco because it has interests in Canadian iron ore mines as well as being one of this country's premier integrated steel producers.
Suncor Energy, with its oil sands mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., offers employees 17 personal days per year, which gives everyone the equivalent of six-weeks' vacation.
Shell Canada, the largest investor in the new Albian oil sands project including the Muskeg River mine, reportedly has generous pensions, maternity leave top-ups, and its own credit union.
I think the editors at Maclean's were smart not to try to rank their 100 Best Employers. Trying to figure out which business is just-a-little-better or just-a-little-worse place to work would be a nightmare. But if BHP Billiton ever gives away free samples from the Ekati diamond mine, I will insist that company be sent to the head of the list.