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For the fifth consecutive year, the WalterFedy team has made the coveted Waterloo Area’s Top Employers list.

 

The annual selection is curated by the team at Mediacorp Canada Inc., best known for administering the Canada’s Top 100 Employers contest. Employers are judged on their ability to offer exceptional workplaces with a focus on physical workplace; atmosphere and social culture; health, financial, and family benefits; vacation/time away; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

 

The selection team pointed to WalterFedy’s retirement planning assistance services; retirement savings matching contributions; and vacation, volunteer, and time away policies as reasons for selection. The flexible nature of WalterFedy’s health benefits was also commended.

 

“As people start to return to the workplace, this year’s winners have made it clear that their employees deserve both the time and space to focus on their families, their health, and their education,” says Kristina Leung, Managing Editor at Mediacorp. “Organizations are doubling down on their commitment to flexibility, such as flexible working hours or a health plan that allows employees to tailor coverage to suit their needs.”

 

"Receiving this award for the fifth year in a row is a great achievement for WalterFedy and our team,” says Victoria Campbell, Director, Human Resources. “Our employees play an important role in shaping WalterFedy as we continue to grow. Their suggestions for continuous improvements have been essential to our overall employee experience.”

 

The announcement rounds out an exciting year for the WalterFedy team, which has seen a 22% increase in staff since January. This large jump in staff has also coincided with new initiatives like the roll-out of a people-first culture strategy and the launch of a comprehensive Learning Management System.

 

“As we continue to grow within the Waterloo Region and beyond, we strive to create meaningful work opportunities for our team,” says Garth Cressman, CEO. “We want our employees to love the work they do and love working for us. When our employees are thriving, so is our business.”  

 

View WalterFedy’s award profile on Canada’s Top 100 Employers website along with the full list of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers.

Interested in joining our team? We'd love to hear from you. Visit our careers page for a complete list of open opportunities.

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Canada's Top Small and Medium Employers Logo

 

It is with great pleasure that WalterFedy announces the company has achieved Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employer (SME) status for the fourth consecutive year. Administered by Mediacorp Canada Inc., the annual awards program recognizes employers across Canada for their exceptional workplace practices and policies, including workplace, atmosphere, social opportunities, benefits, vacation, and training, among other criteria. 

 

“Early in the pandemic, smaller employers were able to respond to employees’ needs quickly and with agility,” says Anthony Meehan, Publisher at Mediacorp. “Once again, small and medium employers are responding with agility by adopting many of the benefits previously seen only at larger, more established organizations.” 

 

In Mediacorp Canada Inc.’s official release, WalterFedy was commended for adapting to better support employees in the pandemic: 

 

“Along with moving all employees to work-from-home arrangements early in the pandemic, Kitchener, Ont.-based WalterFedy let employees take home needed tech and furniture along with introducing a special program to provide interest-free loans (up to $1,000) for home office improvements.”   

 

“We’ve learned we can work differently and want to ensure our employees have the resources and tools to do so,” said Victoria Campbell, Director, Human Resources. “Flexibility and communication continue to be essential elements in our strategy as we navigate through the future of our workplace.” 

 

WalterFedy was also recognized by Mediacorp Canada Inc in January 2022 as a Waterloo Region Top Employer. 

 

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Read the official MediaCorp Release. 

Learn more about WalterFedy’s 2022 award recognition here. 

We are always on the lookout for great candidates. If you are interested in joining our team, you can find a full list of open positions here. 

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WalterFedy was among 25 local businesses recognized as one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers today. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the firm has made the list, carefully curated by the team at Mediacorp Canada Inc, and the fifth win since 2016.

 

The Waterloo Area’s Top Employers competition is part of the larger Canada’s Top 100 Employers contest, now in its 15th year. Employers are judged on eight criteria – physical workplace, atmosphere and social culture, benefits, vacation/time away policies, employee communications, performance management, professional development opportunities, and community involvement.

 

The staff editors at Mediacorp Canada Inc. cited WalterFedy’s pandemic response and vacation policy in their reasoning for selection. The full employer profile is available here.

 

"Hearing from our employees through regular pulse surveys and open forums helped us understand their changing needs as we moved through different stages of the pandemic," said Victoria Campbell, Director of Human Resources. "We continue to adjust our approaches based on the challenges our employees face. Our hope is to maintain this invaluable open dialogue so we can continue to pivot to the needs of our business and our people."

 

“The past few years have been challenging for businesses across Waterloo Region,” said Garth Cressman, CEO. “That we were able to maintain our culture amid a pandemic without compromising on the programs and supports we could offer really speaks to our people. Despite the adversity and uncertainty presented by the pandemic, they continued to drive us forward and challenge us to rethink the workplace.”

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And just like that, after seven fantastic weeks, our 70+ Acts of Good campaign has come to an end. When we set out to celebrate WalterFedy’s 70th Anniversary, we knew we had to do something that would include and benefit the community around us.

 

In the final three weeks, we covered a lot of ground, including purchasing 70 trees through the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) to be planted in the Waterloo Region via their Give Grand program. This isn’t the first time we’ve teamed up with the GRCA and we hope to work with them again to help plant some of those trees!

 

After a successful run at Community Fridge KW, we connected with  Community Fridges Hamilton to fill up the Beasley Fridge in Downtown Hamilton for three days. Like their Kitchener counterpart, Community Fridges Hamilton provides 24/7 low-barrier access to free food provided entirely by the community. We were happy to play a small part in filling their fridges for a week and look forward to supporting them again in the future.

 

We also purchased seven essential items from YWCA's wish list for their affordable and supportive housing project on Block Line. We’ve been providing project management services to this project and were happy to give back and help support this project that is so important to the Waterloo Region.

We wrapped up the campaign by delivering 401lbs of food and $915 to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. That translates to 3,060 meals to help feed our hungry neighbours. In Hamilton, our team rallied to provide an assortment of festive gifts that will be distributed to people in need this holiday season through the Good Shepherd. 

 

We’re sad that the campaign is over, but after a long 2021, this was the perfect way to end the year. We might be 70, but we’re feeling spritely heading into 2022 . We look forward to finding new and exciting ways to live out our core value of community building! 

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This year marks our 8th annual year participating in the Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH) tournament to help raise funds in support of five local charities. This year, Lutherwood, House of Friendship, Cambridge Shelter Corporation, oneROOF Youth Services, and YW K-W Emergency Shelter will split the funds raised at the tournament, set to take place on Friday, October 29th.

 

Our Team Captain, Patrick Darby, has been involved with HHTH since WalterFedy began participating in 2014. When asked why he joined the team all those years ago, he had many reasons. “First and foremost, I share WalterFedy’s corporate value of community involvement,” he shares. “It’s also a great opportunity for our employees to come together to support important fundraising initiatives in the community.”

 

This year, the day of the tournament will be structured a little differently, but that hasn’t dampened any of the anticipation for gameday. “With current Public Health guidelines in place, the tournament will look a little different but that won’t stop us from enjoying the day,” said Patrick. “With the cancellation of last year’s tournament, we’re eager to hit the ice this year.”

 

In past years, our HHTH team organized various fundraising events in the office to help meet the team’s fundraising goal. Because of COVID-19, the team has been unable to host their usual events like the much-anticipated company barbecue, jeans and jersey day, and bake sale. This has forced our participants to double down on their individual fundraising efforts to meet the team’s fundraising goal of $15,000.

 

In addition to organizing the team and fundraising leading up to the event, as Captain, Patrick is also responsible for team coordination on the day of the tournament. But it can’t be all work and no play for the team. “I really like hockey, so this is a natural fit for me,” explained Patrick.

 

We couldn’t complete our interview without asking Patrick if WalterFedy has ever brought home the winning trophy. “Well no. But it doesn’t matter! It’s not the driver behind why we’re there. It’s about hitting the ice to support local organizations doing great work in our community.”

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Leveraging inspiration from our new strategic plan, last October I sat down with our Sustainability Advisory Committee to discuss what bold steps we could take to reaffirm our commitment to sustainability and enhancing the world around us. We had just purchased carbon offsets for 2019 and for the first time in WalterFedy’s almost 70-year history, we could say that we were a carbon-neutral company. While we were excited about this big step we wondered where we could go from here.

 

One of our core values at WalterFedy is Integrity. Integrity means that we “do the right thing,” and not just when it’s convenient. We had set strong carbon reduction goals with Sustainable Waterloo Region and we felt we had done a good thing in purchasing carbon offsets, but we also knew we needed to do more. A true commitment to the environment comes through real organizational and operational change and not just strategic giving.

 

We used this as a springboard to propel our firm toward more substantive changes and set to work in building an ambitious plan to present to our board. Our proposal included a commitment to aggressively cut our greenhouse gas emissions from our 2017 levels by 60% by 2030, all while purchasing enough carbon offsets annually to offset our remaining emissions - and pull us 10% below zero emissions. The board overwhelmingly supported our initiative.

 

Our largest carbon footprint is linked to transportation-related emissions – more specifically in Employee Commute and Business Travel. Our Sustainable Advisory Committee is currently working to develop strategies to help us achieve our reduction goals, but we know that we will all have to work together to realize this ambitious vision. 

 

Beyond the carbon emissions directly linked to our employee’s daily activities, we know that our team can make an even greater impact on the world around us through our design and construction activities. As a firm, we are committed to improving the materials and methods used in our projects so that the spaces we design and construct have minimal impact on the environment.

 

Our Sustainability Advisory Committee is actively developing an implementation plan to integrate The Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) Zero Carbon Building Standard and additional sustainable design measures in all our work.

 

Learn more about our corporate sustainability goals.

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WalterFedy is pleased to announce we have achieved Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employer (SME) status for the third consecutive year. Administered by Mediacorp Canada Inc., the annual awards program recognizes employers across Canada for their exceptional workplace practices and policies. This includes consideration of physical workplace; work atmosphere & social; health, financial & family benefits; vacation & time off; employee communications; performance management; training & skills development; and community Involvement.

 

“These companies have proven to be extremely agile,” says Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. “Not only were they able to transition employees to working from home right out of the gate, but many already had policies in place that allowed for flexible work. It was simply a matter of extending existing benefits, such as home office allowances and internet subsidies, to make the full transition.”

 

This year, WalterFedy’s RSP contribution matching program, profit-sharing model, and personal development opportunities were among the top reasons behind being selected for this prestigious award.

 

“It is an honour to be recognized as a Canada’s Top SME for another year, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” said Victoria Campbell, Human Resources Director for WalterFedy. “Our leadership and employees continually make a positive impact on our work, clients, and community and this award is a great way to celebrate the efforts of our incredible team here at WalterFedy!”

 

“In professional services, our people are our most valuable asset,” said Garth Cressman, CEO, WalterFedy. “Among other things, this award recognizes our firm for the programs that we put in place to support and develop our teams.  This award reinforces that we are doing the right things to build our business and attract and retain talent."

 

WalterFedy was also recognized by Mediacorp Canada Inc at the end of 2020 as a Waterloo Region Top Employer for 2021.

 

View our 2021 Waterloo Region Top Employer and Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employer award profiles.

 

View our active career opportunities.

 

Read Mediacorp Canada’s official release.

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WalterFedy is hosting its second virtual rotating art show. Since 2019, WalterFedy has partnered with Art$Pay to display artwork in our office, made by local talent. The initiative's original goal was to brighten the shared spaces in our office with rotating artwork for clients and staff to enjoy. 

 

When the pandemic hit and our office was closed, the scheduled art installation went ahead as planned. But with very few people in the office, it wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. We were also unable to host a gallery launch to celebrate the artists and enjoy their work with family and friends. Naturally, like so many other things during the pandemic, we took the new art installation online and made it virtual to ensure our local artists, and their creations, could get the attention they deserve.

 

Art$Pay is a local program that provides an opportunity for local artists to showcase their artwork while making a profit regardless of if their work sells while on display or not. Often, when artists publicly display their work, they receive nothing unless a piece is sold. The Art$Pay model is much fairer for these creators as they receive exposure and remuneration for their work.

 

The latest installation from Art$Pay, which runs until August 31, 2021, is named "Lifting Spirits." All pieces were selected for their feeling of inspiration and optimism; a little something to help lift all our spirits during these challenging times. 

 

Our Office Coordinator, Tori Coles, helps facilitate the program and believes the program is a meaningful way to contribute and give back to our community. 

 

"Paying artists for the use of their displayed artwork helps to address the sustainability challenges faced by the local visual arts sector, and this program is an amazing community role model, where too often free exposure is the offer."  We are proud to support the arts within our local community.

 

Please enjoy the following video and feel free to reach out to Art$Pay directly to purchase any of the pieces. You can also visit their website to see what other artists are working on in the community. All proceeds go back to the artists in our Region who help keep the arts thriving.  

 

Thank you to Art$Pay, Cathy Farwell, and all of the incredibly talented artists whose work is featured in this video. Check out https://artspay.org/ for more information.

 

 

 

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Without a doubt, working from home comes with just as many opportunities as challenges. For some, it’s afforded the opportunity to spend more time with family and furry friends and less time spent in the car commuting to and from work.

For others, it has meant juggling work while also checking in with a child as they learn virtually. Or more hours than normal spent in front of your computer because you simply can’t seem to log off at the end of the day.

 

Over the past year, we connected with our employees to see how they’ve managed to balance everything life has to offer while working from home. We gathered some helpful tips for staying connected and managing your workload while balancing your mental health. Here’s what our employees had to say:

Maria Valderrama, Structural EIT, suggests breaking up your day with some time outdoors. Take a pause and disconnect from work for a bit mid-day. Whether you are walking your dog, taking a jog, or sitting on your front porch with a coffee, it is important to take a break from your workspace. The fresh air and natural light leave you refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your day.

 

Maria Melo, Architect, says over communicate. "Working remotely requires you to over communicate. Inform your team about your schedule and availability. When you finish a project or important task, say so. When you have a vacation planned, let clients and coworkers know about it. Over-communicating doesn't mean writing a novel on your day, but it does mean repeating yourself. Clear communication via the correct channels can be very effective."

 

Architectural Technologist Matthew Fraboni has found to-do lists to be a helpful tip to manage his day. Creating a to-do list with goals for the next day allows him to prepare. It gives opportunity to structure the day and focus on a task.

 

Project Administrator, Sheri East says to make your space your own. Keep it clean, functional, and add items that bring you happiness. It might be a plant, a photo of something or someone you love, a piece of art that speaks to you, or a favourite mug. A joyful space equals a joyful attitude!

 

Katie McQuaid, Team Leader of our Marketing and Business Development team, shares a tip on how to handle your work with two small kids at home. Katie’s advice is to embrace the distractions! Whether the phone rings, the washing machine breaks, or your kids need a bit of TLC (or just want more snacks), distractions are inevitable. Allow them to happen and go with the flow. Chances are, your team will understand that you wear multiple hats when working from home and that you’re doing your best to balance everything.

 

Jacob Gibbs, Team Leader of our Enterprise technology team had this to share: "Stay Connected. With technology, working from home does not equal working in isolation. It is important to keep your team’s spirit fueled by scheduling calls and meetings as normal. Be sure to check in with colleagues to see if they are managing. Schedule a virtual coffee break with coworkers to stay linked!"

 

At the end of the day, we’re all human, and we’re all in this together!

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It’s May. The office in Kitchener is quiet save for the occasional groan-creak of a tape dispenser. As Chief Operations Officer, Mark Christensen was acutely aware of the red tape that would come with reopening an office during a pandemic, but he could never have anticipated how literal that tape would be. Proposed traffic flow patterns in hand, he paces the office pretending he is Amanda Knopf, then Paul Rodriguez, then Fei Wei. Does the flow make sense for everyone? He marks out conflicts and changes on the floor with a bold red X of tape.

 

As he moves about the office, he thinks about the Hamilton location. The 10-storey building comes with its own set of logistical challenges: three elevators, narrow stairways, multiple tenants, a high-traffic lobby, washrooms with controlled access. The return to office plan will be much less straightforward than the Kitchener location.

 

Later he will check in with Leadership—they’ve been meeting almost daily for the past six weeks to discuss the company’s next steps. Then he’ll need to circle back with Jy, AEC, Enterprise Technology, Human Resources, and Business Development. Just as the to-do list starts to shrink, it surges again for everyone.

 

Calling this an operational exercise is an understatement. Since March it has been simultaneously a sprint and a marathon. With a steady stream of information and hodge-podge restrictions rolling in from regulatory bodies, the ground is forever shifting underfoot. But one thing has always been certain – the safety of the team comes first.

 

When Ontario announced the Declaration of Emergency on March 17, 2020, the path forward was crystal clear for leadership. “We decided we're working from home,” said Mark. “That's the best and safest place for all our staff, and that's where we need to be. Period.”

 

Transitioning a staff of over 200 to remote work while maintaining a high level of service is a feat that requires careful thought, planning, and ideally, time. In the early days of COVID-19, time was not on anyone’s side. “There was a lot of pressure on everyone to make the right decisions, and there were tons to be made,” Mark explained. “There was a gravity to the decisions we had to make, with the potential to impact our business. Collectively we wanted to make sure we insulated our staff as best as we could from it.”

 

So how do you plan for the unprecedented? “You don’t navigate that amount of thinking without a team, I’ll tell you that,” Mark laughed. “I very quickly drafted Jy Hamilton and said, Remember that little line on the bottom of your job description that says other duties as assigned? Tag, you’re it. This is going to be unlike anything you've ever done before.”

 

As staff settled into a new routine from home, working groups from across the company banded together to absorb any turbulence and minimize the wake for the rest of the organization. “It was a time full of emotion and stressors that were new to everyone. We were all trying to navigate maintaining a healthy business in a new climate, and at the same time, work from home and fulfill our family roles as partners and parents. It was absolute madness that stretched from very, very early starts to very, very late ends to the days,” Mark reflected. “But there was a real sense, too, of locking arms.”

 

As summer rolled into fall, staff began successfully transitioning back to a reimagined office equipped with directional arrows, increased cleaning protocols, reduced capacity, and a five-page COVID safety plan. “A key part of the success of the plan has been connecting back with staff. It's a continuous improvement thing. Everything evolves and we need to make sure that we check back in to see what’s working and refine as needed,” Mark explained.

 

“[The pandemic] has been a real testament to our ability to adapt and be flexible, and to meet a challenge head-on and actually thrive,” Mark offered.

It is now February. As mandated, the offices are dormant, and staff resume their work from home routine. While the desks are empty, what does remain is a deep sense of optimism and gratitude.

 

“It has been quite an experience. I am thankful for the opportunity it has provided us to learn how resilient we are. We have recognized a need to find a balance, when the time is right, to have the best of both worlds because I think it makes us better and stronger. As I look forward, I think about the opportunities that this learning has presented us. We need to make the best of it.”

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