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Canadian National Railway
Employees at CN celebrate the organization's 100th anniversary  

Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021) and Montreal's Top Employers (2021):

Here are some of the reasons why Canadian National Railway was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021) and Montreal's Top Employers (2021):

  • CN encourages lifelong learning with tuition subsidies of up to $4,000 for courses taken with external educators -- additionally, the organization offers a variety of in-house training options, including apprenticeships, a management trainee program for university graduates, and leadership training for high-potential employees
  • CN operates the impressive employee and pensioner-run Community Fund, which has raised more than $18.5-million over the past decade for Canadian charities supporting health and research, community well-being, children and humanitarian aid concerns -- and also manages the Railroaders in the Community program to provide grants to charitable organizations where employees, their families, and retirees volunteer their time
  • CN cultivates an ownership mentality through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and helps employees plan for life after work through the security of a defined benefit pension plan
Employees at CN's MacMillan Yard in Toronto, the second-largest rail classification yard in Canada   (Photo credit: Pascale Simard)

Employer Background

Industry Railroad transportation
Established in Canada 1919
Publicly traded yes
Major Canadian hiring locations Halifax NS, Saskatoon SK, Prince George BC, Edmonton AB, Vancouver BC, Winnipeg MB, Toronto ON, Montréal QC
Full-time employees in Canada 18,126
Full-time employees worldwide 25,253
Workforce engaged on a contract basis 0.2%
Average age of employees in Canada 40 years
Longest serving employee 54 years

Physical Workplace Rating: A

Commuter amenities transit subsidies, electric vehicle charging stations, secure/sheltered bicycle parking, nearby bike sharing station
Workplace features telecommuter workstations, sit-stand workstations, sleep pods
Employee lounge amenities comfortable seating, television, books and magazines, microwaves, kettles, coffee machines, fridges, toaster ovens
Onsite cafeteria healthy menus, special diet menus, subsidized meals, take-home meals
Other food options at main location access to many food courts with a variety of diverse options
Onsite fitness facility for employees only, free membership, treadmills, stationary bikes, instructor-led classes (Kuliboxe, aerobics, toning, cardio, yoga, Zumba, Cross-Fit), elliptical trainers, weights, shower facilities, individual training evaluation and training program development by kinesiologist
Other nearby amenities YMCA and YWCA, 1000 Gauchetière (indoor skating rink), Place du Canada, Mount Royal, Phillips Square, Old Montréal

Work Atmosphere & Communications Rating: B

Past social events cultural/diversity days, family days, holiday gatherings, sporting events
Cultural aspects dress-for-your-day policy, casual dress Fridays, employee sports teams
Employee communications intranet site, company newsletter, traditional/email suggestion box

Financial Benefits & Compensation Rating: B+

Financial benefits note CN has multiple employee groups, financial benefits may vary by position
Employee salary reviews individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months
Long-term savings defined-benefit (DB) pension
Long-term planning life & disability insurance
Share purchase plan available to all employees
Additional financial benefits year-end bonuses for some employees, corporate discount program (e.g. retail, services, travel, etc.), discounted home insurance, discounted auto insurance, salary levels are also determined through the collective bargaining process (varying by union group)

Health & Family-Friendly Benefits Rating: B

Health plan note CN has multiple employee groups, health plans may vary by position
Health plan premium as part of the health plan, the employer pays up to 100% of the premiums
Minimum hours worked for coverage 40 hours per week
Waiting period there is no waiting period for coverage
Family coverage option yes
Dental coverage routine, restorative, orthodontics
Health plan includes traditional coverage (e.g. prescription drugs), employee assistance (EAP) plan, semi-private hospital room, physiotherapy, medical travel insurance, medical equipment and supplies
Additional health plan information telemedicine services (Equinoxe), salaried employees have a flexible health plan, approximately one-third of unionized employees receive a health spending account of $300 per year
Wellness initiatives CN Traction wellness initiative (online program that allows employees to track their physical activity for the year while earning points and receiving useful tips and information), annual 1-month wellness challenge (flagship event of CN Traction), local wellness champions
Family-friendly benefits note CN has multiple employee groups, family-friendly policies may vary by position
Maternity top-up (mothers) up to 70% of salary for 17 weeks
Additional family-friendly benefits child care onsite, academic scholarships of up to $2,000 per child
Additional family-friendly information management level employees (28% of the workforce) receive maternity top-up to 100% of salary for 15 weeks

Vacation & Personal Time-Off Rating: C+

Vacation note CN has multiple employee groups, vacation policies may vary by position
Vacation allowance new employees receive 2 weeks of paid vacation after their first year on the job
Vacation jump vacation increases after 3 years of employment
Maximum vacation allowance employees move to a maximum of 6 weeks of vacation over their career
Previous experience considers previous work experience when setting annual vacation for new employees
Unpaid leave maximum 12 months
Self-funded/deferred salary leave yes
Additional time-off information duration of self-funded leaves of absence are determined on a case-by-case basis, management employees (28% of the workforce) start with 3 weeks, jump after 4 years, working to a maximum of 6 weeks

Employee Engagement & Performance Rating: B

Employee performance reviews employees receive individual performance reviews every 6 months
Managers receive performance review training yes
360° feedback option as part of the review process, performance feedback is also solicited from co-workers and other managers familiar with each employee's work
Confidential employee feedback employees can also provide confidential feedback on their manager's performance
Exit interview exit interview option is available for departing employees
Performance recognition online recognition platform, individual performance bonuses, peer-to-peer recognition awards, long-service awards, People Awards for Excellence in categories such as innovation and safety, calendar contest to recognize outstanding employee photography (prizes of $1,000 and $500)
In-house survey period in-house surveys are conducted every 12 months
Outside survey period outside consultant surveys are held every 12 months

Training & Skills Development Rating: B+

Career planning online employee skills inventory
In-house training initiatives apprenticeship/skilled trades programs, in-house training, online training, leadership training, paid internships
Related tuition subsidies employer covers up to 90% of tuition per year
Annual tuition maximum employer pays up to $4,000 in tuition subsidies for job-related courses per year
Unrelated tuition subsidies employer covers up to 90% of tuition per year for courses unrelated to current position
Unrelated tuition maximum employer pays up to $4,000 in tuition subsidies per year for courses unrelated to current position
Unique training & development programs Railroader certification program to bring managers closer to the company's core operations, management trainee program for university graduates (early career program), information and technology internship, cultural awareness training (developed in partnership with AMIK, an Aboriginal consulting firm)

Community Involvement Rating: A+

Scope of charitable involvement local, national
Employee charitable involvement employees are involved in selection of charities
Total number of charities supported last year approximately 1,231 charitable and community organizations were supported last year
Some of the community organizations supported unique CN Employees' and Pensioners' Community Fund, which raised over $2-million last year (and more than $18.5-million in the past decade, assisting more than 400 charities), additional community organizations include United Way, Canadian Red Cross, Marie-Vincent Foundation, Terry Fox Run, Tree Canada, 4-H Canada, University of Alberta, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, and Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (to name only a few)
Charitable giving matches employee volunteer hours with company donations
Community highlight CN manages a number of unique initiatives to support local communities where employees live and work, including the Railroaders in the Community, which offers grants to community-based charitable organizations where employees and retirees volunteer. The company also hosts the CN Canadiens Alumni Challenge, an annual fundraising hockey game between a CN team and an alumni team of the Montréal Canadiens (the event has raised close to $4-million since the first game in 2002). To celebrate 100 years in Canada, the company launched a "CN in Your Community Day" to encourage employees and their families to donate time to an organization of their choice (to take place annually on June 6, CN's birthday).

The Career Directory

Canadian National Railway has been selected for The Career Directory, our guide to entry-level recruitment for recent college and university graduates.
Dave Jeffrey, a mechanical instructor at Canadian National Railway conducts a training session on train inspection

Highlights for New Grads

Industry Railroad transportation
Full-time employees in Canada 10,000 to 25,000
Major Canadian hiring locations Halifax NS, Saskatoon SK, Prince George BC, Edmonton AB, Vancouver BC, Winnipeg MB, Toronto ON, Montréal QC
Student opportunities paid internships, summer jobs, co-op opportunities
Training orientation program, online training, in-house training, leadership training
Annual tuition maximum employer pays up to $4,000 in tuition subsidies for job-related courses per year
Typical new grad positions Train Conductor, Car Mechanic, Heavy Duty Mechanic, Electrician, Rail Track Maintainer, Assistant Track Supervisor, Signal and Communication Apprentice, Labourer, Intermodal Helper, Composite Accounting Representative, Analyst Developer, Application Developer
Starting salary $65K to $70K
Work benefits health benefits for new employees, transit subsidies
Vacation allowance new employees receive 2 weeks of paid vacation after their first year on the job

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