Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc.
Staff at Diamond Schmitt Architects hold a meeting with Don Schmitt (second from left) in his office   (Photo credit: Jim Ryce)

Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2024) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2024):

Here are some of the reasons why Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2024) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2024):

  • Diamond Schmitt Architects takes a thoughtful approach when helping employees manage unexpected challenges, offering compassionate leave top-up for those called upon to care for a loved one (to 80 per cent of salary for up to 17 weeks)
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects offers learning and development opportunities for individuals at various stages of their careers, including paid internships for recent grads, tuition subsidies (from 25 to 100 per cent of costs), and the in-house Diamond Schmitt University along with a corresponding virtual learning management system
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects helps employees save for the future with matching RSP contributions and provides retirement planning assistance to encourage employees to think long term
Diamond Schmitt Architects employees attend a Diamond Schmitt University education session  

Employer Background

Industry Architecture
Established in Canada 1975
Major Canadian locations Toronto ON, Vancouver BC
Full-time employees in Canada 279
Full-time employees worldwide 283
Workforce engaged on a contract basis 4%
Average age of employees in Canada 33 years
Longest serving employee 32 years

Work Environment Rating: B+

Flexible work options hybrid work option, flexible work hours, telecommuting, shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay), compressed work week, reduced summer hours
Commuter amenities walk to public transit, secure/sheltered bicycle parking
Onsite workplace features located in an early 20th-century industrial loft-style building (which the firm renovated to LEED Commercial Interior standards), the office features exposed brick walls and plenty of natural lighting, a 3D printer modelling room, expanded bicycle storage, sit-stand workstations, nap room, religious observance room, self-serve lunchroom
Employee lounge amenities comfortable seating, music, television, lounge (referred to as the quiet room) can be used for mindfulness activities, also features a communal library

Work Atmosphere & Communications Rating: B

Employee social committee name Diamond Schmitt Social Committee (est. 1995)
Past social events Nowruz (Persian New Year), Chinese New Year celebrations, ski day, winter holiday party, pub nights, Pi Day celebration (pie baking competition and raffle), ThunderTruss (in-house band) appearances at town halls at holiday parties
Cultural aspects business-casual dress daily, casual dress (e.g. jeans) daily, music while working, employee sports teams
Employee communications intranet site, traditional/email suggestion box, internal social media

Financial Benefits & Compensation Rating: B

Outside salary surveys participates in outside salary surveys every 12 months
Employee salary reviews individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months
Long-term savings matching RSP
Long-term planning retirement planning assistance, phased-in retirement work options, life & disability insurance
Year-end bonuses available to all employees
Referral bonuses (max) new employee referral bonuses (up to $2,000) for some positions
Additional financial benefits profit-sharing plan available to some employees, corporate discount program (e.g. retail, services, travel, etc.)

Health & Family-Friendly Benefits Rating: B+

Health plan premium as part of the health plan, the employer pays up to 75% of the premiums
Flexible coverage health plan is flexible with adjustable premiums and coverage levels
Minimum hours worked for coverage 25 hours per week
Waiting period for coverage 90 days
Family coverage option yes
Retiree coverage option up to 75 years of age
Dental coverage routine
Eyecare $250 every 2 years
Paid sick days employees receive 8 days off each year
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, massage therapy, nutrition planning, podiatrist, osteopathy, chiropractor, alternative coverage (e.g. acupuncture, naturopathy)
Mental health practitioner benefit up to $1,500 each year
Health spending account up to $500 each year
Wellness spending account up to $250 each year
Additional health and wellness initiatives health challenges organized by the company's benefits provider (with redeemable points as rewards for completing activities)
Maternity top-up (mothers) up to 100% of salary for 1 week
Parental top-up (mothers) up to 80% of salary for 12 weeks
Parental top-up (fathers) up to 80% of salary for 12 weeks
Adoption top-up up to 80% of salary for 12 weeks
Additional family-friendly benefits phased-in return to work for new parents, compassionate top-up to 80% of salary for 17 weeks

Vacation & Personal Time-Off Rating: A

Vacation allowance new employees receive 3 weeks of paid vacation after their first year on the job
Vacation jump vacation increases after 8 years of employment
Maximum vacation allowance employees move to a maximum of 5 weeks of vacation over their career
Paid summer shutdown employees receive 8 days off during the summer months
Paid holiday shutdown during the Christmas to New Year's holiday break, employees receive an additional 3 days off
Personal paid days off employees can schedule 2 personal days off each year, as needed
Unpaid leave of absence option yes

Employee Engagement & Performance Rating: B

Employee performance reviews employees receive individual performance reviews every 12 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
In-house survey period in-house surveys are conducted every 6 months

Training & Skills Development Rating: B+

Career planning in-house career planning services, online employee skills inventory
In-house training initiatives apprenticeship/skilled trades programs, mentoring, in-house training, online training, paid internships, subsidies for professional accreditation
Related tuition subsidies employer covers up to 100% of tuition per year
Unique training & development programs Diamond Schmitt University and DSUonline (virtual learning management system), office-wide design meetings (current projects are presented to the office)

Community Involvement Rating: A+

Scope of charitable involvement local, national
Employee charitable involvement employees are involved in selection of charities, employees receive paid time off to volunteer
Total employee volunteer hours (on company time) over 400 hours last year
Total number of charities supported last year approximately 22 charitable and community organizations were supported last year
Some of the community organizations supported Daily Bread Food Bank, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Centre for Architecture, Habitat for Humanity, Writers Trust of Canada, Architecture and Design Film Festival Vancouver Society
Charitable giving matches employee donations

Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2023):

Here are some of the reasons why Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2023):

  • Diamond Schmitt Architects is a leading advocate for the use of living walls and wood timber in major construction projects, highlighting the advantages of natural materials and the beneficial effects on individual health and well-being on indoor environments
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects encourages employees to put some of their green knowledge into practice through volunteering in new home construction with Habitat for Humanity as well as sponsoring the annual Green Building Festival, which is an industry conference on sustainable design
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects helps champion the movement towards greener building with over 40 completed LEED projects and additional LEED registered projects on the go -- and additional certifications and initiatives, including six net-zero (one project completed, with five underway), WELL AP certifications, Passive House certifications -- and two projects designed to meet the "2030 Challenge" to be completely carbon neutral (or even better than neutral)
Diamond Schmitt Architects employees at the Toronto office   (Photo credit: Jim Ryce)

Highlights

Industry Architecture
Major Canadian locations Toronto ON, Vancouver BC
Full-time employees in Canada 268
Employee green team sustainability committee
Senior executive who oversees initiatives principal executive committee, sustainability committee
Green highlights numerous projects have achieved certifications and recognition, from LEED Platinum and Gold-certification to Commercial Interiors designation (over 40 projects registered and an additional 18 underway), numerous projects designed to meet other environmental building accreditations, including 6 net-zero (1 project completed with 5 underway), advocates for the increased use of wood timber in construction projects (recognizing wood as a renewable building material and positive attributes that contribute to healthier indoor environments), offers employees Passive House training (also has several projects targeting Passive House certification) and WELL AP certifications, hosts biweekly lunch and learn sessions and webinars focused on sustainability, created an "ecoMetrics" initiative (a live database of building energy simulation models from completed projects to better understand energy reduction methods), recently launched DSUonline in 2022 (virtual learning management system that helps reduce the need to travel for training)
Noteworthy initiatives committed to the industry's 2030 Challenge, which includes a commitment to design all projects as carbon neutral by 2030, founding signatories to the Canadian Architectural Professionals Declare Planetary Health Emergency and Commit to Urgent and Sustained Action initiative (2019)
Building footprint includes leased space has achieved LEED Commercial Interiors standard, showers (with low-flow fixtures), energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting system, upgrading to new energy-efficient servers (from 9 down to 2), 100% biodegradable interior materials (with natural and raw materials where possible), installed view dynamic glass on office exterior that helps to regulate amount and speed of shading
Extended recycling glass, soft plastics, metal, polystyrene, batteries, light bulbs, e-waste, furniture (organics planned for near future), paper use reduction strategy (incorporates the increased use of a digital project management program for document sharing and 3D visualizations), sample library (surplus tile, fabric, wood and metal samples are donated to a local school board for art project materials)
Commuter amenities shower facilities and indoor bicycle storage to accommodate over 60 bikes, walk to public transit, secure/sheltered bicycle parking
Community partnerships Habitat for Humanity (employee volunteers help to build a house), sponsors the annual Green Building Festival (local industry conference on sustainable design)

Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2024):

Here are some of the reasons why Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2024):

  • Diamond Schmitt Architects incorporates employee feedback when determining charitable initiatives to receive the firm's support, and matches charitable donations made by employees in-kind, to a maximum of $1,500 per employee per year
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects supports employees who want to start a family with maternity and parental leave top-up (to 80 per cent of salary for up to 12 weeks) and offers the option for new parents to phase-in their return to work
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects encourages employees to adopt healthy habits through health challenges organized by the company's benefits provider (with redeemable points as rewards for completing activities) and free access to virtual and on-demand instructor-led work out videos through its corporate partnership with Goodlife Fitness
Diamond Schmitt Architects employees collaborate at work   (Photo credit: Jim Ryce)

Highlights

Industry Architecture
Established in Canada 1975
Major Canadian locations Toronto ON, Vancouver BC
Full-time employees in Canada 279
Full-time employee growth in the past year 7.3 %
Average age of employees in Canada 33 years
Longest serving employee 32 years
Long-term savings matching RSP
Health plan premium as part of the health plan, the employer pays up to 75% of the premiums
Flexible work options flexible work hours, shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay), compressed work week, telecommuting, reduced summer hours
Vacation allowance new employees receive 3 weeks of paid vacation after their first year on the job
In-house training initiatives apprenticeship/skilled trades programs, in-house training, online training, mentoring, paid internships
Related tuition subsidies employer covers up to 100% of tuition per year
Performance recognition individual performance bonuses

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