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Work-from-home solutions, tuition subsidies and a mental-health focus: Why Coquitlam is named a top employer in B.C.

Coquitlam was one of two cities named to the 2022 list among 115 total employers; the other is Vancouver.
Coquitlam centre
The City of Coquitlam was named one of B.C.'s top employers for 2022.

Despite the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coquitlam city workers were able to continue their day-to-day tasks — whether that was in the comfort of their own home or out in the field.

This is one of the factors listed by Mediacorp Canada that placed B.C.'s sixth-largest municipality on its annual shortlist of the province's top employers.

This annual editorial competition celebrates employers who offer exceptional workplaces, competitive compensation, work-life balance and progressive programs.  

The 2022 report suggests Coquitlam's employee benefits have made the staff as successful even during the toughest of challenges, including tuition subsidies for school courses and "generous contributions" to a pension plan.

Coquitlam thrives because it strives to treat people fairly, said Renzo Del Negro, director of human resources, in a Mediacorp post.

"We want employees to feel they have a purpose, and our purpose is serving the community. People have really gotten behind that. [...] We know that compensation alone is not what keeps employees at an organization. We want to make sure that we match employees’ values."

According to Mediacorp Canada, the City of Coquitlam employs 927 people on a full-time basis while 786 are considered part-time.

One particular benefit of note: Coquitlam employees get up to $700 each year for mental health needs.

When the COVID-19 pandemic took effect, the report says the city put a greater focus on mental wellness by introducing new initiatives that encourages employees to speak up and talk to peers about mental health-related struggles.

"We found that the City was very supportive," states Chris Cordova, a 20-year Coquitlam staff member. He's currently a recreation facility supervisor at Glen Pine Pavilion, but started as a lifeguard in 2001 to support his post-secondary studies.

"It provided a positive environment where we could all work together."

Among the 115 winners are Douglas College, Simon Fraser University (SFU), Fraser Health, WorkSafeBC, Save-On-Foods and Amazon Canada.

Vancouver was the only other municipality listed among B.C.'s top employers for 2022.

- with a file from Carol Eugene Park, Glacier Media