Showcasing the masterpieces of HR

National HR Awards reward best in class

Human resources is an art. Done well, it can be a masterpiece — and in this issue, we provide a masters’ class in great HR by telling the stories of the individuals and teams from across Canada who took home honours in the fourth annual National HR Awards.

If I’ve learned anything from the two decades I have spent covering the employment world, it is this: HR is not easy. It’s an unpredictable, complicated, ever-changing realm with incredibly high expectations — but at least it’s not boring, right?

The 2018 National HR Awards, handed out at a gala dinner and ceremony on Sept. 27 at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Toronto, are the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of talented people. It starts with yours truly, who reviews the categories and develops the criteria.

It continues with editor/supervisor Sarah Dobson and her team — news editors Marcel Vander Wier and John Dujay — talking to all the winners to hear their stories — and not just in a superficial way. When we launched the National HR Awards in 2015, we did it in a purposeful way — the focus was on the steak, not the sizzle.

Why celebrate the best if we can’t also learn from them? That’s why we dedicate so much space to telling the stories behind the trophy. This issue, weighing in at 52 pages, is the biggest we have ever produced in the 31-year history of this publication. And it doesn’t end there — if you go to, you can also watch special videos of every winner.

The judges also shoulder a large part of the load. This year, 27 professionals volunteered their time to review and score the record number of nominations we received.

A big thanks goes out to them for their work — you can see their photos and bios on the judging tab on the awards website. We couldn’t do this without them.

And of course the events and marketing team here at Thomson Reuters — it’s amazing how much work goes on behind the scenes to pull together a world-class gala like the National HR Awards. A big thanks to Mohammad Ali, lead manager for marketing and media operations and his team, particularly Jeannaly Santana and Deanna Norton.

But the real work didn’t begin within the offices of Canadian HR Reporter at Thomson Reuters. Rather, it was at the workplaces across Canada, by the people we honoured on stage and in the special feature in this issue, starting on page 17.

The work of HR is too often unsung. That’s OK — it’s your job to be modest and professional and competent. It’s our job to drag you into the spotlight and give you and your teams the recognition they so richly deserve.

Next year, we encourage you to participate in the National HR Awards. Keep an eye on the website, and the pages of this publication, for more details. We will be adding some new categories — nominations open May 1, 2019.

More networking opportunities

If you’re reading this early in October, there is still time to sign up for two events hosted by Canadian HR Reporter and Thomson Reuters.

The Tallest Poppy: Earlier this year, we surveyed more than 1,500 professionals across Canada. The clear conclusion is that successful women are being undermined at your workplace, and it’s taking a massive toll on productivity, self-esteem, turnover, succession planning and the bottom line.

On Oct. 9, we are unveiling the results at a special session at our offices in downtown Toronto. Not in the Toronto area? You can register for the live webinar.

See for full details. There is a cocktail reception after the event, which is a great opportunity to network with your colleagues.

Mental Health in the Workplace Forum: Mental health issues continue to pose significant challenges and opportunities for employers.

In partnership with Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), we are holding a discussion featuring lawyer Lorenzo Lisi of Aird & Berlis; Bill Howatt, chief research and development officer for workforce productivity at Morneau Shepell; and Jennifer Threndyle, AODA specialist at WSPS.

See for full details. There is a bonus networking breakfast before the morning event. We hope to see you there.

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