by Colin Smith

A defined benefit pension plan and health spending accounts are among the things that make Champion Petfoods LP one of the best employers in the province.

This week the Morinville-based company announced it was recently named one of Alberta’s Top 70 Employers of 2016.

The result of an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, the designation recognizes Alberta employers that provide exceptional places to work. It dates back to 2006, when the results of the first competition were published.

The organization compares organizations to others in their field, with the ones that offer the most progressive and forward-thinking programs coming out on top.

Evaluation criteria include physical workplace; work atmosphere and social; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

Financial benefits are a big part of what led to the selection of Champion, according to a description on the Canada’s Top 100 Employers website.

In addition to making contributions to a defined benefit pension plan for employees, the company also provides referral bonuses for employees who successfully refer a candidate, signing bonuses for some candidates and year-end bonuses for all.

In addition to a regular heath plan, it offers an annual health spending account of $750 that can be rolled over to the following year for a maximum of two years.

Employee development is also a priority for the firm, which subsidizes tuition for job-related courses and professional accreditation, as well as paying financial bonuses for some course completion.

Alternative work options include flexible work hours, a compressed work week and telecommuting.

“We are thrilled as a team to be named one of Alberta’s Top Employers,” said Champion President and CEO Frank Burdzy. “It is our passion to make Biologically Appropriate foods from fresh regional Ingredients that are never outsourced. It is our teams’ values, hard work and passion that allows us to be recognized for this award.”

“For years we have been recognized for our top brand BAFRINO foods – and now we are being recognized as a top employer,” declared Lee Hodgins, Champion Petfoods Vice President of Human Resources.

“Iconic employees make an iconic company, and that’s what we are striving to be,” Hodgins avowed. “So we feel even though we have reached this milestone – the journey is still before us!”

Champion Petfoods was established in 1985 and now has more than 250 mainly employees.

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