Winners of the 2015 National HR Awards


National HR Awards, from the editors of Canadian HR Reporter

People are an organization’s biggest asset. We want to honour organizations that understand this. HR departments across Canada are taking on increasingly strategic roles, driving human capital management strategies and helping their organizations outperform competitors across the country and around the world.

With this in mind, Canadian HR Reporter is proud to present the inaugural National HR Awards. Since 1987, we have been the trusted source of news and information for human resources professionals. Published by Thomson Reuters, we bring unparalleled credibility and ethics to the world of workplace reporting.

We've put together a judging panel of experts from across the country. For more information on the panel, see the bios under each category and the headshots on the right of this page. 

In 2015, we honoured HR departments across Canada in 11 special award categories. You can read more about this year's winners below, and in the Sept. 21 issue of Canadian HR Reporter.

If you have any questions about the National HR Awards program, contact associate publisher and managing editor Todd Humber at [email protected].

For 2015, there are 11 award categories. Click the links below or scroll down the page for more information.

Best Diversity Program | Best Recruitment Program | HR Challenge Award | Canadian Lawyer Magazine's Employment Lawyer of the Year | Best Employee Communications Program | Best Corporate Training and Development Program | Venngo Employee Engagement Award | Best Corporate Social Responsibility Program | Best Recognition Program | Technology/Innovation Award | Healthy Workplaces Award



WINNER: Symcor

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Read the story: Hands-on approach has Symcor celebrating diversity


Michael Bach is the Toronto-based founder and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion – a national not-for-profit organization focused on the broad spectrum of diversity within Canada’s workplaces. Prior to taking on this role he was the national director of diversity, equity and Inclusion for KPMG in Canada.

Kelly J. Lendsay is a Saskatoon-based social entrepreneur and one of Canada’s foremost innovators of indigenous workplace inclusion, diversity and partnership building. He was the inaugural president and CEO of the Aboriginal Human Resource Council (AHRC) and has successfully led the charge since 1998 to grow and engage corporate Canada in indigenous workplace inclusion.

Beth Clarke, is the director of employer programs at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). In this role, she leads the innovative work that TRIEC is doing to engage leaders and build their capacity to promote inclusive workplace cultures within the GTA and beyond. Prior to joining TRIEC, she provided strategic direction and oversight for mentoring, newcomer and employer services at JVS Toronto. 


WINNER: K+S Potash Canada

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Read the story: Social media, communications help K+S Potash Canada mine for recruits


Lauren Friese is the founder of, Canada's most popular online career resource for students and recent graduates. She has been recognized by PROFIT Magazine as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 in Canada and by Women's Executive Network as Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100. TalentEgg has been named by the CYBF as Best Business and Best Expanding Business, and by the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers as a leader in student innovation.

Mary McIninch is the executive director, government relations with the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS)  in Mississauga, Ont. She works closely with staff and elected leaders in providing comprehensive government relations services to ACSESS members. She is a member of the Quebec Bar Association and serves on several committees and boards, including the Canadian Employers Council. 

David Hoad is a senior consultant at Hay Group with broad experience in large national and international organizations. He has a track record for facilitating organizational change and designing creative human resources plans to align with business strategies that have helped organizations achieve and exceed their financial and operational objectives.



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Read the story: Strong team gets CIMA through tough times


Edmond Mellina is the Toronto-based president of ORCHANGO, a firm that specializes in building the change capabilities of organizations while helping them execute strategic change. His articles have appeared in publications around the globe. He blogs with the HR People & Strategy (SHRM's executive arm) and serves on the national board of its Canadian affiliate, the Strategic Capability Network.

Les Dakens became senior vice-president and CHRO for Maple Leaf Foods in 2011 and retired in 2013. From 2008 to 2010, Les was the principal of Pineridge Consulting, a human resources consulting firm through which he provided executive level coaching to HR leaders and human resources committees of corporate boards of many leading Canadian companies. Previously, he held the executive position of senior vice-president, people with CN Rail which he joined in 2001. Prior to that, he spent most of his years in the food business, holding progressively senior roles in human resources with Cadbury Beverages before joining H.J. Heinz in 1990 as the North American vice-president of human resources. He began his career with Nortel in 1975.

Tiffany Goodlet is an experienced business consultant with over 20 years of experience in the HR, talent management and technology services Industries.


WINNER: Janice Rubin

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Read the story: Janice Rubin's CBC report put spotlight on workplace harassment


Gail J. Cohen is the Toronto-based editor in chief of  Canadian Lawyer, Law Times, Canadian Lawyer InHouse,Canadian Lawyer 4Students,, their affiliated websites, and a legal job board  — all providing the most comprehensive coverage of legal news in Canada. For 18 years, she has worked with lawyers and lawmakers in this country, putting her in a prime position to access and engage thought leaders in the regulatory, legal, and business realms.

Jean Cumming is the Toronto-based editor in chief/market director for Lexpert magazine. She has also appeared on television, including on CBC Newsworld's Morning News and Steve Paikin's The Agenda. She serves on the Advisory Committee of the Walrus Foundation; Victoria University in the University of Toronto's Board of Regents; and the board of directors of Eva's Initiatives. She is a lawyer member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.


WINNER: Alberta Health

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Read the story: Monthly newsletter connects engages employees at Alberta Health


Jody Bruner founded Bruner Business Communication in 1996 and acquired IWCC Training in 2014. She and her team are committed to helping you write, speak and present clearly and confidently. Brunerbiz IWCC teaches a reliable process that helps you consistently communicate what your audience needs to know in every situation. 

Roger Davies is the founder and CEO of McLuhan & Davies Communications, specialists in leadership and business communication skill development. He brings to the table a 30-year background in marketing communications, advertising and publishing. His best-selling book Mastering Communications redefined the art of employee engagement.

Sharone Bar-David is an expert on workplace incivility and the president of Bar-David Consulting, a Toronto-based training and consulting firm specializing in creating respectful work environments. She is a regular guest commentator for Canadian HR Reporter and author of the book Trust Your Canary: Every Leader's Guide to Taming Workplace Incivility.


WINNER: Calfrac

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Read the story: Calfrac finds flexibility, mobility – and cost savings – in taking blended approach to training


Allison Patterson is national senior leadership and business manager at KPMG Canada in Toronto. She has more than 15 years' experience working with global clients in a variety of industries including pharmaceuticals, financial, government and educational institutions. Allison has volunteered in East Africa multiple times and is currently chairman of the board of directors for the Canadian Society for Training and Development.

Tony Kerekes has more than 20 years' experience working with senior operational managers and HR executives in major and emerging companies. He has served as the president of the Human Resources Professionals of York Region, on the board of the Toronto HR Professionals Association and other industry groups. He also teaches HR professionals at the University of Toronto.

Doug Macnamara is the president of Banff Executive Leadership. With more than 30 years' experience, he works with boards and executives from well-known companies, government departments, Crown corporations, charities/not-for-profits and indigenous communities across Canada and around the world. He led the Banff Centre for Management for eight years, and was director of training and OD for Royal Trust for five years. He is also the host of radio show "Boardroom Plugged-In" on AM650 in Vancouver.


WINNER: Fidelity Investments Canada

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Read the story: Listening key to engagement at Fidelity Investments


Courtney Pratt is a corporate director. He is the former chairman of Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions and a director of 407ETR, CMA Holdings and Orocobre. Previously, he served as CEO and chairman of the Toronto Region Research Alliance from 2007-2011. He served as CEO of Stelco from 2004-2006 and as chairman from 2006-2008. He has also held leadership positions with Toronto Hydro (CEO), Hydro One Networks (CEO), the Caldwell Partners (president) and Noranda (president and subsequently chairman). He was awarded the order of Canada in January 1999. He is co-author of Into the Blast Furnace: The Forging of a CEO's Conscience.

Kay Hubbard is the manager of organization effectiveness and talent management at Carswell, a Thomson Reuters business. She is a sought after workshop leader and author of Human Resources Manager's Guide to Organization Development and co-author of No Winner Ever Got There Without a Coach

Paul Weissman has been the president of Venngo since 2000, and president and CEO since 2014. Venngo is Canada's leading provider of outsourced group discount and engagement programs. From 1997 to 2000, he was co-founder and CFO of Futureway Communications, one of Canada's first broadband, facilities-based competitive local exchange carriers. From 1992 to 1997, he was CFO and vice-president of operations at Microforum, a leading software development and international distribution company. Prior to that, he spent several years consulting as a CA and CPA, including his role as a senior manager with PwC.


WINNER: Tata Consultancy Services

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Read the story: Volunteer partnerships push Tata Consultancy Services forward


Barb Conway is vice-president, HR and customer experience at Carswell, a Thomson Reuters business. She has more than 25 years of professional human resources experience at the management and executive levels. She works with senior leadership, managers and employees and a team of HR professionals in creating strategies and programs that support Carswell's vision to continually be a best employer

David Wexler is the founder and managing partner of Wexler Human Capital Consulting. His firm provides CEOs, CHROs, boards and leaders with the capabilities and confidence to improve their ROI on human capital. He has many years of expertise inbuilding recognized market leading healthy corporate working environments inpublic sector, private sector and Crown corporations, across Canada, and inmultiple countries around the world.  


WINNER: ATB Financial

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Read the story: ATB sees results with storytelling recognition


Roy Saunderson is the chief learning officer of Rideau's Recognition Management Institute in Montreal. He is an author, consultant and speaker to organizations around the world. He is author of GIVING the Real Recognition Way and a regular columnist for Incentive and Training magazines

Daryl Bettles is manager, compensation, benefits and human resources operations at Carswell, a Thomson Reuters business. He has more than 30 years of professional human resources experience in the design, implementation, maintenance and administration of all aspects of total rewards strategies that meet business objectives, attract, engage and retain employees.


WINNER: Loblaw

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Read the story: Video interviews advance Loblaw's on-campus recruitment


Alan McEwen has provided Canadian employers with a variety of HR/payroll consulting services for more than 25 years. These services include helping employers assess strategic options for HR-related systems and helping vendors, such as SAP, Oracle and Ultimate, adapt their software and training materials to Canadian requirements. He lives in Victoria.


WINNER: Hyatt Regency Calgary

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Read the story: Booking a stay with health and wellness at Hyatt Regency Calgary


Gerald J. Yaffe is the president of Kit Care Corporation, formerly Safety House of Canada, and has been for more than 54 years. He is a former president of the Canadian Safety Equipment Association and has been associated with the United  Appeal, Junior Achievement and more than 30 other charity and community organizations. He also teaches professional selling at George Brown College.

Roland Osske is a seasoned HR professional with more than 25 years' experience in both operations and management roles. He has worked in the following industries/sectors: automotive, transportation, high-tech, oil and gas services, public safety communications, printing, engineering consulting services, prviate, public, union, non-union, U.S. and Canadian-based organizations. He is based in Calgary.

Beverly Beurmann-King is a resiliency and wellness specialist who synthesizes the latest health research into practical and achievable strategies. For 20 years, she has worked with people and organizations who want to control their reactions to stress, build resiliency against life's challenges and live healthy, successful lives. She is the author of Stress Out! 52 Weeks to Letting More Life In.

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