School district wins recognition as leading Alta. employer

Joan Carr

Joan Carr

February 22, 2016

EDMONTON - Superintendent Joan Carr is quick to give credit to her staff for Edmonton Catholic Schools being named one of Alberta's Top 70 Employers for 2016.

Indeed employee engagement and performance was recognized as one of the eight criteria used by the editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers in selecting the school district among the best in the province.

But to Carr, the employees are nothing short of "superheroes.

"They are superheroes in action and they're doing the work of ensuring that our students are going to get the best possible Catholic education that they can," said Carr.

"We know that they are certainly challenging roles, and over and over again staff go over and beyond what our expectations are."

Other criteria used in the Top Employer competition include physical workplace; work atmosphere and communications; financial benefits and compensation; health and family friendly benefits; vacation and personal time off; training and skills development; and community involvement.

The scope of charitable involvement of Edmonton Catholic Separate School District employees was cited as local, national and international, with employees involved in a selection of charities and receiving paid time off to volunteer.

In terms of the physical workplace, editors of the competition highlighted onsite amenities such as free access to a fitness facility at the district's main location, standing desks, and a quiet room for meditation and religious observance.

The school district was recognized for encouraging employees to prepare for the future, with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, retirement planning workshops and helping retiring employees to transition with phased-in work options.

Carr said while the benefits and compensation packages are different for teachers, support staff, custodial and other staff, the intent is always to try to support each employee in the best way possible.

That can occur through training and development opportunities, vacation time, flexible hours or time off to support a family member who is not well, she said.

"We are very compassionate and we offer as much support as we possibly can to our staff members. Once that is being lived then it becomes very naturally passed on to our students."

Looking at the eight criteria, Carr said each one fits within the context of the district's scriptural belief that they are all one body.

"We are many parts but we are all one body. That is very much the heart of who we are and what we do," she said.

This is the first time the school district, which employs 3,812 full-time and 971 part-time employees, has been recognized on the list of Alberta's Top 70 Employers.