Any company worth its salt knows that these days, it’s not enough to offer employees a good salary with a good retirement plan. If you want to attract — and keep — the best people, you need to offer them that something extra: that something that will make work fun and worth their best efforts. It’s not necessarily a monetary reward: in fact, it usually isn’t. Here are some of the best perks Canadian companies offer.
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Perk: free tuition for yourself
One of the ways to pay off your student loans fast is to work part-time while you study. But what if you can work and study without having to worry about student loans in the first place? The Canadian Armed Forces will cover not only your tuition fees, but also all the textbooks and supplies you’ll need. Several universities also offer their employees free tuition.
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Perk: free tuition for your family
Some Canadian employers not only offer free tuition to their employees but also to the spouses and children of those employees. The University of Toronto, for instance, may waive tuition fees for your dependents if they study at the university too, even if you’ve retired from working at the university. The waiver may even remain valid after you’ve died.
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Perk: IVF subsidies
If you and your partner are struggling to become parents, your employer may help. Stryker Canada offers a subsidy of up to $15,000 to cover in vitro fertilization — IVF — while SAP Canada will pay for two cycles of fertility treatment, including IVF.
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Perk: breast milk delivery
SAP Canada was one of Canada’s best companies to work for for in 2019. It’s still among the first in a growing number of companies that offer a breast milk delivery service to new moms who have to travel for work. So, when you get to your hotel, you can pump your breast milk and have it sent home to your baby in a special cooler, all on the company’s dime.
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Perk: assistance with gender confirmation surgeries
Accenture was one of the first companies in Canada to offer comprehensive benefits specifically for transgender employees who were transitioning. Now, more and more companies are following suit, helping to cover the cost of all related surgeries and hormone therapy. Some also cover the cost of counselling to help the employee deal with the emotional aspects of such a big life change.
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Perk: free travel
Many companies in the travel sector often offer their employees free travel outside of work hours. At VIA Rail, it’s not only employees who can travel for free, though. Since their spouses and dependents have access to free travel passes too, it’s easy to take the whole family on the best train trips in Canada.
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Perk: travel discounts
When you want to take the family on vacation, discounts on air travel can really help make things more affordable. Air Canada takes things further by not only giving employees and their immediate family discounts on flights but also on accommodation, car rental and vacation packages.
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It’s always great when an employer recognizes and rewards hard work in real, material terms rather than just a pat on the back. At RBC, knowing the best cruise destinations by season can be just the motivation employees need to give their best. The year’s top performers get to attend the bank’s annual business convention on board a luxury cruise ship.
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Perk: pet-friendly facilities
Hootsuite, Electronic Arts and Mars are just some of the growing number of companies in Canada that have pet-friendly policies. Mars even has a designated courtyard for employees’ dogs at its corporate headquarters.
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Perk: pet insurance
Some employers understand that having a sick pet can be just as emotionally and financially draining as having a sick child. At Ceridian, you can get time off when your pet needs you. The company also offers huge discounts on pet insurance, so you won’t have to deal with huge vet bills.
See also: How much owning a dog actually costs.
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Perk: a compassion fund
Life sometimes throws the types of curveballs that regular employee benefits don’t cover. FreshBooks, however, has what they call a "compassion fund", which helps employees with those financial emergencies like a sudden vet bill or having to replace a stolen bike.
Related: What to do if you hate your job.
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Beer may not be considered one of the healthy foods that naturally elevate your mood but let’s be honest: who isn’t happier when they get to sip on a cold brew, especially when it’s hot outside? Junction Craft Brewing gives employees up to eight litres of beer per week. At Labatt Breweries, employees get to take home a dozen cans or bottles of beer every week, free of charge. Sadly, the company’s previous policy, which provided retired employees with a weekly case of beer too, came to an end in 2019.
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Perk: a drum set
Many companies offer yoga or meditation to help their employees relieve stress. Let’s face it, though: sometimes the best way to blow off some steam is to bang on something and make some noise. At FreshBooks, stress relief comes in the form of a drum set for employees to use.
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Perk: new cars on loan
When Toyota launches a new model, which very well may be one of the best cars in Canada, the company will allow some of its employees to borrow a new car for a day. Toyota will even cover the cost of gas for that period.
You may also like: These are the best cars in Canada for first-time owners.
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Perk: fitness facilities
Many Canadian companies now offer facilities to help their employees stay fit and healthy, from on-site fitness classes to treadmill desks. At their main campus in Cambridge, Toyota even has Corolla Park, a huge facility complete with volleyball, squash, racquetball and basketball courts, walking trails, a baseball diamond and a health centre, all free to employees.
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Perk: a half-pipe
Tech companies are renowned for their excellent employee lounges, which usually come with video games, foosball, ping-pong tables and the like. GSoft in Montreal ups the ante a bit: their employee lounge has a half-pipe for workers who dream of becoming one of the world’s richest skateboarders.
See also: 10 signs you actually have a good manager.
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Perk: discounts on cars
Looking for ways to cut your car costs? Some employers in the automotive industry offer their employees discounts on new cars or car repairs. They include Toyota, Dilawri’s Crown Auto Group and Birchwood Automotive Group.
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Perk: turkeys (yes, really)
When the holidays approach and you see the price of turkeys, you probably wish your boss would give you a turkey for free. Some employers do just that, including Birchwood Automotive Group and Davis Automotive Group.
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Perk: discounts on mortgage rates
Employees in the financial sector usually enjoy easy access to financial advice, which can help them figure out how to start investing. Some companies also make it easier for their employees to make one of the best investments of all: ATB Financial and Alterna Savings and Credit Union, for instance, offer their employees discounted mortgage rates to buy homes.
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Perk: nap rooms
Sleeping on the job isn’t as frowned upon as it used to be. With more employers realizing the value of the power nap, companies across Canada are now including nap rooms on their premises. They include Randstad, Accenture, Google Canada and EventMobi.
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