Health Canada / Santé Canada
Sonia, an acoustic technologist at Health Canada, tests the safety of headphone sound levels inside a soundproof chamber  

Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2022) and National Capital Region's Top Employers (2022):

Here are some of the reasons why Health Canada / Santé Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2022) and National Capital Region's Top Employers (2022):

  • Health Canada manages an internal Solutions Fund initiative, enabling employees to receive funding to develop and implement projects that will improve the health and safety of Canadians, while also enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization
  • Health Canada maintains a longstanding mental health and wellness strategy (since 2015) to build and sustain a healthy and inclusive workplace -- along with an extensive offering of tools, resources, and awareness campaigns, the organization offers a mental health practitioner benefit of up to $2,000 per year
  • Health Canada focuses on the longer-term welfare of its employees with a health benefits plan that extends to retirees (with 80 per cent premium coverage) and offers further peace of mind through a defined benefit pension plan
Lena, an employee at Health Canada, at her desk  

Employer Background

Industry Federal government, administration of public health programs
Established in Canada 1919
Parent company Government of Canada
Parent company head office Ottawa ON
Major Canadian hiring locations Vancouver BC, Edmonton AB, Longueuil QC, Burnaby BC, Ottawa ON, Halifax NS, Winnipeg MB, Toronto ON, Montréal QC
Full-time employees in Canada 9,119
Part-time employees in Canada 555
Average age of employees in Canada 42.1 years
Longest serving employee 41 years

Physical Workplace Rating: A

Editorial note due to the pandemic, some workplace amenities may be temporarily unavailable
Commuter amenities electric vehicle charging stations, secure/sheltered bicycle parking, nearby bike sharing station
Workplace features head office is located in the Brooke Claxton building, a 16-floor Brutalist federal heritage building composed of glass and granite, set within Tunney's Pasture, inside, the workplace features a dedicated wellness service centre, telecommuter workstations, sit-stand workstations, private phone booth, religious observance room, self-serve lunchroom, outdoor patio
Employee lounge amenities comfortable seating, television, innovation spaces
Onsite cafeteria healthy menus, special diet menus
Onsite fitness facility for employees only, subsidized membership, treadmills, stationary bikes, stairmasters, instructor-led classes (yoga, boot camp, cardio, high-interval training, Zumba), elliptical trainers, rowing machines, weights, shower facilities, professional trainers, farmers' market

Work Atmosphere & Communications Rating: B

Past social events virtual celebrations for National Public Service Week (meditation session, online scavenger hunt, Thank a Colleague Day)
Cultural aspects business-casual dress daily, concierge services available, employee sports teams, organized social activities for retirees
Employee communications intranet site, company newsletter, internal social media
Other in-house communications virtual town halls, InfoCOVID emails with up-to-date info, tools, and resources

Financial Benefits & Compensation Rating: A

Outside salary surveys participates in outside salary surveys every 12 months
Employee salary reviews individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months
Long-term savings defined-benefit (DB) pension
Long-term planning phased-in retirement work options, life & disability insurance
Signing bonuses available for some positions

Health & Family-Friendly Benefits Rating: A+

Health plan premium as part of the health plan, the employer pays up to 100% of the premiums
Minimum hours worked for coverage 13 hours per week
Waiting period there is no waiting period for coverage
Family coverage option yes
Dental coverage routine, restorative, orthodontics
Paid sick days employees receive 15 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, homecare, medical equipment and supplies, massage therapy, podiatrist, osteopathy, chiropractor, alternative coverage (e.g. acupuncture, naturopathy)
Mental health practitioner benefit up to $2,000 each year
Additional health and wellness initiatives multi-year mental health and wellness strategy, variety of internal resources including a mental health first aid toolkit, a mental health passport program, and access to LifeSpeak platform (physical, personal, professional, and mental health resources), participates in Not Myself Today campaign
Maternity top-up (mothers) up to 93% of salary for 15 weeks
Parental top-up (mothers) up to 93% of salary for 37 weeks
Parental top-up (fathers) up to 93% of salary for 37 weeks
Adoption top-up up to 93% of salary for 37 weeks
Additional family-friendly benefits extended parental leave to unpaid leave, child care onsite
Flexible work options flexible work hours, shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay), compressed work week, telecommuting

Vacation & Personal Time-Off Rating: B

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 6 weeks of vacation over their career
Previous experience considers previous work experience when setting annual vacation for new employees
Personal paid days off employees can schedule 2 personal days off each year, as needed
Unpaid leave of absence option yes
Self-funded/deferred salary leave maximum 3 months

Employee Engagement & Performance Rating: B

Employee performance reviews employees receive individual performance reviews every 6 months
Managers receive performance review training yes
Exit interview exit interview option is available for departing employees
Performance recognition individual performance bonuses, on-the-spot rewards, peer-to-peer recognition awards, long-service awards, Deputy Minister Awards for Excellence and Assistant Deputy Awards to recognize exceptional contributions in a variety of categories, including improving the health of Canadians, leadership, innovation and creativity, science, young professional, and workplace well-being (to name a few)
In-house survey period in-house surveys are conducted every 12 months

Training & Skills Development Rating: A

In-house training initiatives apprenticeship/skilled trades programs, mentoring, in-house training, online training, leadership training, paid internships, mentoring to transfer retirees' skills
Tuition subsidies (related to job) yes
Tuition subsidies (unrelated to job) yes
Education leave educational leaves of absence are available
Unique training & development programs secondments, micro-missions (short-term assignments to help employees expand their skills or knowledge), second-language training, "Take Me With You" initiative to encourage employees to ask their managers and peers to attend meetings that relate to their interests and career development goals, the Solutions Fund initiative to enable employees to receive funding to develop and implement projects that will improve the health and safety of Canadians, while enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization

Community Involvement Rating: A

Scope of charitable involvement local, national
Employee charitable involvement employees receive paid time off to volunteer, (up to 1 paid day)
Total number of charities supported last year approximately 500 charitable and community organizations were supported last year
Some of the community organizations supported ALS Canada, Canadian Liver Foundation, Huntington Society of Canada, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Parkinson Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, Alzheimer Society Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, Diabetes Canada, Arthritis Society, Canadian Hemophilia Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Canada, The Lung Association
Community highlight The department organizes the Health Canada Helping Communities initiative (HC)², a charitable giving option developed as part of the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign. Fundraising events for the (HC)² campaign include an online auction, 50-50 draws, and local branch-led events.

Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2022):

Here are some of the reasons why Health Canada / Santé Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2022):

  • Health Canada's Young Professionals Network hosts various events throughout the year for onboarding and networking, including community action days and learning opportunities -- the network also hosts the MegaConnex event, providing students with opportunities to network with senior executives and share their experiences
  • Health Canada manages the Solutions Fund, a unique departmental initiative that allows employees to identify, develop and implement projects that will improve the health and safety of Canadians
  • The organization, along with the Public Health Agency of Canada, manages the Science Management Development program, an initiative that provides opportunities for employees with science backgrounds to broaden their work experience and leadership development
Health Canada employees Anjum, Caitlin and Anita work together on a Young Professionals Network event  

Highlights

Industry Federal government, administration of public health programs
Major Canadian hiring locations Vancouver BC, Edmonton AB, Longueuil QC, Burnaby BC, Ottawa ON, Halifax NS, Winnipeg MB, Toronto ON, Montréal QC
Full-time employees in Canada 9,119
Student opportunities summer jobs, co-op opportunities
In-house training programs orientation program, in-house training, online training, mentoring, leadership training, apprenticeship/skilled trades programs
Tuition subsidies (related to job) yes
Unique training and development opportunities paid internship opportunities include assignments, secondments, and micro-missions, student orientation guide (recently adapted to reflect work-from-home reality), Take Me With You initiative (employees can ask managers and peers to attend meetings that relate to interests, career goals and files)
Additional highlights participates in the Federal Internship for Newcomers program and Federal Student Work Experience Program, Research Affiliate Program placements provide part-time opportunities for students to conduct innovative research, participates in the Post-Secondary Co-operative Education and Internship Program
Dedicated employee resource group Young Professionals Network, Leadership for All Community of Practice (over 5,600 members from multiple departments and agencies, objectives are to inform management of employee needs, build leadership skills, and encourage employees to exercise leadership in their roles)
Vacation allowance new employees receive 3 weeks of paid vacation after their first year on the job

Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2022):

Here are some of the reasons why Health Canada / Santé Canada was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2022):

  • Health Canada completed its fifth year of implementation of its mental health and wellness in the workplace strategy -- all branches of the organization have launched their respective wellness and mental health action plans, and thousands of employees have completed mandatory mental health first aid training
  • Health Canada created an Aboriginal Employee Development Initiative to offer recruitment and career developmental opportunities for Aboriginal employees and job-seekers -- the initiative includes a management development program, career management services and a summer student program to help Aboriginal students gain public service experience
  • Heath Canada also has a teaching and healing centre onsite (The Iskotew Lodge) where Indigenous teachings, meetings with Elders, storytelling and craft circles are held to help employees and members of the public gain an appreciation and understanding of First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures, traditions and perspectives
A Health Canada employee at her workstation  

Highlights

Industry Federal government, administration of public health programs
Major Canadian hiring locations Vancouver BC, Edmonton AB, Longueuil QC, Burnaby BC, Ottawa ON, Halifax NS, Winnipeg MB, Toronto ON, Montréal QC
Full-time employees in Canada 9,119
Management of diversity and inclusion initiatives champion responsible for diversity and inclusiveness initiatives, diversity and employment equity network champions, established a diversity and inclusion office in 2019 to provide advice, policy interpretation and guidance on diversity, official languages and employment equity
Performance management and accountability voluntary self-identification and applicant data, branches can access an interactive employment equity dashboard (updated monthly) to identify gaps and address them in HR planning
Employee resource groups networks have senior executive champions, Indigenous Employees' Network (helps shape departmental strategies and initiatives and advises on current and future HR programs and policies), Persons with Disabilities Network (responsible for ensuring that the voices of persons with disabilities are taken into consideration in the development of policies that impact their work environment and their ability to perform their duties), Gender and Sexual Diversity Network (aims to create a safe and inclusive work environment by contributing to policy development with respect to gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation), Visible Minorities Network (committed to improving working conditions and promoting career advancement opportunities of visible minority employees), Young Professionals Network (joint leadership and professional development network geared towards new and early career professionals)
Noteworthy diversity strategies and policies extensive mental health and wellness strategy, created a Workplace Wellness Service Centre (provides case management services, tools, resources and single window access to services related to disability management, duty to accommodate and occupational health and safety), sex and gender-based analysis policy and action plan to ensure consideration of sex, gender and diversity in outward-facing activities as well as internal policies and procedures
Recruitment initiatives works with LiveWorkPlay to provide employment opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities in each branch, participates in the Employment Opportunities for Students with Disabilities initiative, the Indigenous Student Employment Opportunity program, and the Federal Internship Newcomers Program
Retention and development programs Aboriginal Management Development Program (helps employees prepare for careers in the executive cadre by enhancing leadership skills and broadening experience), Aboriginal Career Management for Employees program (provides job training, coaching, workshops and guided self-assessments to help employees build competencies to advance their skills), Aboriginal Employee Supports program (provides training and learning opportunities for Indigenous employees throughout the year, such as language training), Persons with Disabilities Opportunity program (placement program to enable employees to develop and strength skills)
Training and awareness initiatives training on topics such as bias-free selection, mandatory diversity awareness training for new employees (includes respectful workplace, mental health first aid, and duty to accommodate), mental health first aid toolkit, respect in the workplace toolkit, 15th annual Diversity and Inclusion Week (event focused on creating a barrier-free workplace and included a variety of virtual activities such as a workshop on how to create accessible documents and meetings, and a special event on building a diverse workforce through inclusive staffing)
Diversity highlights language training scholarship for employees who self-identify as Indigenous, a person with a disability, or belonging to a visible minority group, onsite teaching and healing centre in Ottawa (where Indigenous teachings, meetings with Elders, storytelling and craft circles are held to help employees and members of the public gain an appreciation and understanding of First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures, traditions and perspectives), 15th annual department-wide diversity and inclusion week with activities and events
Highlights from the past year added a diversity and inclusion award category to the annual deputy minister's awards of excellence, Indigenous Employees Network organized a virtual healing session in November 2020 led by an Indigenous Wisdom Keeper, Black Employees Matter group launched in 2020, a volunteer group within the Visible Minority Network who are committed to improving working conditions and promoting career advancement opportunities for Black colleagues, held Anti-Racism Listening Sessions in the fall of 2020 for employees to share lived experiences regarding organizational racism, with plans underway for follow-up actions

The Career Directory

Health Canada / Santé Canada has been selected for The Career Directory, our guide to entry-level recruitment for recent college and university graduates.
Health Canada employee

Highlights for New Grads

Industry Federal government, administration of public health programs
Full-time employees in Canada 5,001 to 10,000
Parent company Government of Canada
Parent company head office Ottawa ON
Major Canadian hiring locations Vancouver BC, Edmonton AB, Longueuil QC, Burnaby BC, Ottawa ON, Halifax NS, Winnipeg MB, Toronto ON, Montréal QC
Student opportunities paid internships, summer jobs, co-op opportunities
Training orientation program, online training, in-house training, mentoring, leadership training
Tuition subsidies (related to job) yes
Typical new grad positions Biologist, Scientific Regulator, Chemist Policy Analyst, Program Officer, Financial Analyst, Computer Analyst, Communications Officer
Starting salary $55K to $60K
Work benefits health benefits for new employees, flexible work hours, telecommuting, employees receive paid time off to volunteer, (up to 1 paid day)
Vacation allowance new employees receive 3 weeks of paid vacation after their first year on the job

Academic fields recruited

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