Recognized as one of Manitoba's Top Employers (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 20, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why Manitoba Hydro was selected as one of Manitoba's Top Employers (2023):
- Manitoba Hydro supports ongoing professional development throughout an employee's career, including paid internships and apprenticeships, formal mentoring, leadership development and tuition subsidies for courses at outside academic institutions
- Manitoba Hydro helps employees plan for life after work with retirement planning assistance services and offers the security of a defined benefit pension plan
- Manitoba Hydro encourages employees to support charitable initiatives that are important to them, welcoming feedback on which initiatives the company should support and offering matching financial donations where employees volunteer their time, to $200 for every 50 volunteer hours
It’s exciting times for people at Manitoba Hydro
There are few bigger career changes than the one Evangeline Cauchi made. Cauchi was working as a red seal pastry chef at a remote worksite in Manitoba when she became friends with Manitoba Hydro employees working there. Hearing about the invigorating world of the trades inspired her to leave her career and go back to school for electrical work.
“Everyone I’d come across made the work sound so rewarding and challenging at the same time. People do have bad days, but everyone just seemed so satisfied with the work regardless,” she recalls.
Today, Cauchi is an operating electrical technician trainee at Manitoba Hydro, and those same friends are also her colleagues. And she’s never once looked back at her former life, finding a deep sense of fulfilment in her new career.
“I really look forward to training more than anything just so I can be a stronger electrician and bring more to the table to help and support my co-workers,” she says. Cauchi, who has worked for Manitoba Hydro for just over two years, is now based out of Gillam and installs and maintains electrical apparatuses and equipment.
Janet Mayor, Manitoba Hydro’s director of human resources, says that employees value the sense of purpose they get from working for a public utility, and the feeling that they can help “make the province a better place to live and work.”
“We see in our employees a true sense of pride in the work that they do and the company they work for,” she says.
Mayor says the company’s strong community spirit also keeps employees engaged. Manitoba Hydro has charitable giving and social and recreation committees, which host events for staff. There are also corporate-driven events like company-wide virtual town-halls — with the utility’s president — to connect employees, keep them informed, and provide them with an opportunity to ask questions of Hydro’s leadership.
“There is a real importance placed on relationships here, and on how we work together and support each other,” she says.
Cauchi has felt this in Gillam, where she has volunteered with her colleagues for the town’s fire department, and on the emergency response crew at the Keewatinohk converter station. She also says it shines through in the way she and her colleagues collaborate. “We work together as one big team, we don’t work alone, and we tackle problems together to find the best solution,” she says.
That closeness has extended, for some employees, well past their working years, Mayor says with a laugh – a large group of Manitoba Hydro retirees now living in Arizona still get together to play baseball and golf and stay connected.
Manitoba Hydro has a wide variety of job opportunities, from field to office, and has long offered training and leadership programs that help employees develop their careers within the organization, something that staff said in a recent employee survey they deeply value and that Mayor says has played a role in the organization’s ultra-low turnover. Mayor says those programs are taking on renewed importance, and the Crown corporation plans to further develop them as it prepares for changes to provincial energy policy and to the energy industry broadly.
“We’re seeing electric cars coming with the move to decarbonization, digitization of our society, and decentralization of power sources, and new skill sets that we have to grow and recruit for,” she says. “The whole landscape for this industry and how we do our work is changing. It’s exciting times for sure, and for new people looking to come to the corporation they see that exciting work and want to be a part of it.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 23, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why Manitoba Hydro was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2023):
- Manitoba Hydro offers several professional development programs for recent graduates, including career development programs in commerce as well as digital and technology -- each program includes several six- to 12-month rotational assignments, designed to provide recent graduates with varied work experience and accelerate exposure to different areas of the organization
- Manitoba Hydro also maintains an engineer-in-training program, providing electrical, civil and mechanical engineers beginning their careers with challenging assignments and work experience to go toward their professional engineer designation
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2023):
By Kristina Leung and Stephanie Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 6, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why Manitoba Hydro was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2023):
- Manitoba Hydro manages two pre-placement programs for Indigenous candidates who do not meet the academic qualifications required to participate in its trades programs -- pre-placement programs range from seven to 10 months and provide opportunities for candidates to complete the academic prerequisites for entry into an apprenticeship, as well as receive on-the-job training and pay
- Manitoba Hydro recently created a women's mechanical technician pre-placement program to complement its existing pre-placement programs for women in power line technician and power electrician trades programs, which provide a gateway for women to enter the organization's four-year apprenticeship programs
- Manitoba Hydro signed a formal agreement with four Cree Nations near Keeyask Generation Station on the Nelson River and is working towards increasing the participation of community members into operational jobs -- the Joint Keeyask Development Agreement (JKDA) Employment Framework is a 20-year plan with seven components (including career exploration, career preparation, employment preparation, and pre-project training employment bridging, to name a few), with individuals hired on an ongoing basis from Fox Lake Cree Nation, Tataskwayak Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation and York Factory First Nation
The Women’s Power Line Technician (PLT) Pre-Placement Program provided me with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. It was also my ticket to achieving the prerequisite math required to be accepted into the PLT apprenticeship program. I received diverse work assignments across many locations in the province and developed new skills through challenging hands-on work. With storm restoration work, I saw the people I was impacting; I love how this work allows rewarding customer interaction. The crews I have worked on were accepting and supportive by treating me the same as the other trainees. They were willing to let me try new things while providing guidance and pointers that gave me the confidence to exceed what I thought I was capable of. Dani Parachnowitsch, Power Line Technician Trainee
Manitoba Hydro tackles systemic barriers to careers
Carole Kouessi started with a four-month co-op placement at Manitoba Hydro that has turned into a 13-year career with the Manitoba’s provincial utility.
When Kouessi moved from France to Manitoba in 2007, the professional engineer joined the University of Manitoba’s Internationally-Educated Engineers Qualification (IEEQ) program to qualify her to work in Canada.
A partnership between the university and the province’s engineering regulatory body, the program assesses internationally trained engineers and helps them work toward being certified in the country. As part of her time in the program, Kouessi had to complete a co-op placement, and did hers with Manitoba Hydro.
After the co-op, she was hired into the company’s internal twoyear rotational career development program, and then hired on full time. Now working as a maintenance engineer, Kouessi says she’s stayed at the company for over a decade because of its safety-focused culture, work assignments, internal mobility and commitment to work-life balance.
“There are a lot of opportunities to grow and to learn,” she says. “If you do the same job for a long time, at some point it may become routine. So I really like that Manitoba Hydro has diverse areas and specialties and provides opportunities to move across departments.”
Manitoba Hydro has long offered co-op placements for engineers from the IEEQ program, which Lisa Leochko, manager of talent acquisition and diversity, equity and inclusion, says is part of the utility’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in its workforce.
“We want to have a workforce that’s representative of the population we serve so we can best understand and meet the needs of our customers,” Leochko says.
The company has also run pre-placement trades training programs for Indigenous Peoples for over 15 years, and for women since 2020. These pre-placement programs provide paid academic upgrading and on-the-job guidance and experience, which prepare participants to apply for Manitoba Hydro’s trades training programs for power electricians, mechanical technicians and power line technicians.
The programs came from a desire to increase the company’s workforce diversity, and from finding that the education and experience requirements were a common barrier for both groups, Leochko says. Today, 20 per cent of Manitoba Hydro’s employees are Indigenous, and the pre-placement program has played an important role in getting the organization to that point.
“After these programs, people are in a much better place to apply for the trades training programs and have seen greater success,” she says. “It’s about being fair and addressing systemic barriers to put people on a more equal playing field.”
Boosting diversity is an important first step, but Leochko says the company’s work hasn’t stopped there. “We’re focused on building a culture of inclusion – not just bringing in a diverse workforce, but ensuring that everyone feels valued, respected and included.”
Part of its inclusion work was introducing education and training around gender-inclusive language and gender inclusivity more broadly. The educational resources cover gender identity, gender-neutral pronouns and inclusive language.
Leochko says she’s seen indications that the company’s efforts are having their intended effect. Not long ago she received an email from a construction director with his pronouns included in his signature. That gesture has only grown throughout the company.
Over her time at the company, Kouessi, too, has seen changes. “Across many levels, there’s more diversity. It reflects what the Canadian culture is,” she says. “I can see there’s improvement on that, and that it is something where we just have to keep working.”