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2022 Impact Award winners: Supporting employees

See the companies recognized for supporting staff in the areas of health, safety and wellness
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For its second year, the Canadian Grocer Impact Awards celebrates Canadian grocery retail and CPG businesses that are going above and beyond to make the world a better place

We recognized 40 winners making a positive impact in the areas of sustainability; supporting employees; diversity, equity & inclusion; and community service

Four companies won in the category of supporting employees. Here’s why:

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Last year, Bimbo Canada developed a cross-functional, national Safety and Wellness Engagement Team to strengthen the safety and wellness culture at its Canadian bakeries and sales centres. The Safety and Wellness Engagement Team provides site leaders with communication toolkits and resources to help them drive relevant local and national safety and wellness initiatives, and to empower all hourly associates to become safety and wellness champions. In 2021 alone, Bimbo Canada held 150 Associate Wellness programs at its facilities across Canada.

Other initiatives include local Site Central Safety Committees to improve safety in Bimbo Canada facilities, a Mental Health Committee to increase awareness and decrease stigmatization of mental well-being, a “Healthy Minds” Training program customized for its people leaders, and weekly safety meetings where operational leaders from across the country determine actions to avoid future incidents. Since 2020, Bimbo Canada has also had mandatory Safety Leadership training for all people leaders and has trained almost 500 associates.

“At Bimbo Canada, we prioritize safety and wellness over everything else,” says Leslee Wills, the company’s vice-president, people & corporate affairs. “We are a deeply humane company [that] understands that safety and wellness impact our associates, our peers, friends, families and the communities that we live and work in.”


Calgary Co-op has long been committed to the communities it serves and strives to help its 3,850 team members feel good about their jobs. This year, the grocer launched a number of initiatives to support its employees and, for the sixth year in a row, was named one of Alberta’s Top 75 Employers.

The retailer offers employees coupons, programs and incentives, as well as management training and career advancement opportunities. Calgary Co-op also contributes to employee scholarships (nearly $100,000 in 2021) and funds post-secondary bursaries at Mount Royal University, University of Calgary and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

“At Calgary Co-op, valued team members are pivotal to its success,” says CEO Ken Keelor. “Team members have shown dedication, resilience and caring support and service throughout the pandemic and beyond.” Keelor adds that the company is honoured its team members have won numerous White Hat Awards for Best Retail Customer Service.


“Our continuous goal remains to support the well-being of our 500 employees in Canada,” says Mélanie Lebel, senior vice-president, human resources at Danone Canada. “We strive to live our values of humanism, openness, proximity and enthusiasm, and this award recognition is a true testament to our values in action. Delivering great results while supporting, protecting and empowering employees is at the core of what we care about.” 

For a third year in a row, the company has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The company has been certified as B Corp since 2018, and was recertified in 2021, recognizing the company’s initiatives to improve the safety and well-being of its employees and the communities in which it does business.

In the early days of the pandemic, Danone took action ahead of government guidelines to implement safety protocols and participated in the collective effort to accelerate the province’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Other initiatives included internal social media channels dedicated to sharing mental health and wellness tips; a new peer-to-peer recognition program; moving the downtown Toronto office to a more modernized and collaborative workspace; and giving employees the flexibility to participate in internal events in-person or virtually.


Just like other workplaces, Nelson, B.C.’s Kootenay Co-op adapted to the pandemic by making it possible for any employee who could, to work from home. And in October 2021, all employees received a generous bonus for their hard work. 

To ensure its most vulnerable employees would feel as safe as possible coming to work, Kootenay Co-op was ahead of provincial health orders in implementing COVID-19 safety protocols and installing all necessary measures for staff. While following the mask mandate as part of the provincial health order, Kootenay Co-op faced an increase in offensive behaviours from some customers, resulting in employees feeling harassed and unsafe. Some were even brought to tears by aggressive customers. As a result, the Co-op’s managers increased their presence on the floor and addressed situations as they arose. “Employees communicated their need for increased safety, so we hired a security guard for as long as it was deemed necessary,” explains Amanda Verigin, marketing and sales manager at Kootenay Co-op. 

“Employees never have to navigate difficult or stressful situations alone and always have the option to walk away from a situation that escalates.” 

And to better help employees experiencing a mental health crisis find the support they need, all managers and assistant managers completed a Mental Health First Aid course earlier this year.

Canadian Grocer’s Impact Awards will be returning in 2023. Look out for our call for nominations in the New Year. 

Winners of the 2022 Impact Awards were first featured in Canadian Grocer’s August issue.  

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