Recognized as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Fairstone Financial Inc. was selected as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2021):
- Fairstone Financial provides a mental health practitioner benefit of up to $1,000 annually as part of its health benefits plan
- Fairstone Financial invests in ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for job-related courses (up to $3,000) and a variety of in-house and online training programs -- employees may also receive subsidies for professional accreditation
- Fairstone Financial offers generous referral bonuses as an incentive for employees to recruit candidates from their personal networks (up to $5,000 for successful hires)
Fairstone supports mental health for the frontline
Last spring, as Montréal became the epicentre of the pandemic’s first wave in Canada, employees of Fairstone Financial Inc. began hearing about the heavy toll on hospitals and health care workers.
Deemed an essential service, the financial services company had already ensured the health and safety of employees with protective measures in place for its business operations across the country. Now the leadership team was looking for a way to make a positive difference in the communities they served.
“We wanted to be impactful,” says Scott Wood, president and CEO. “Everyone’s thought was around physical health because of the virus, but there was also a tremendous impact on mental health. So we focused on supporting the mental health of healthcare workers – frontline staff, physicians, administrators and others – which wasn’t necessarily being addressed early on.”
The company, which operates over 240 locations across Canada, created a fund internally of one large donation of $60,000, but split it up among six hospitals across the country. All donations were earmarked for hospital workers’ mental health support programs.
“One foundation created a fund specifically for support services for their frontline workers, using our money as the leadership donation to kick off their fundraising campaign,” says Fiona Story, vice president, corporate affairs & culture and a member of the COVID-19 internal response committee. “This fund was a direct result of our initial funding and was sustained throughout the pandemic. We were really pleased to be able to make a difference.”
When United Way deployed its COVID-19 relief fund in April, the company also donated $20,000, directing the funds to food banks, as food insecurity had become an issue, as well as for the elderly and the most vulnerable across Canada.
“This was a good way to get money into the hands of those most impacted by COVID-19,” says Wood. “We also put in place an employee donation matching program and ended up contributing an additional $13,000 to United Way.”
Story explains that a key part of Fairstone’s culture is being community oriented, but also family oriented from an employee perspective. For example, all employees received five extra personal days this year.
“The directive for all managers was to have the utmost flexibility, to be understanding of everybody’s individual circumstances and situations,” says Story. “Flexibility and empathy were very big themes for us throughout the pandemic.”