Canadian HR Awards 2021

Canadian HR Awards 2021

Earlier this fall, HRD Canada hosted our 8th annual Canadian HR Awards — a night dedicated to rewarding the very best individuals, teams, and organizations our nation has to offer. In a pre-pandemic age, we would have hosted the ceremony face-to-face — but we didn’t let a global virus get in the way of our fun. Having seamlessly switched to a virtual event, we retained all the flair and festive spirit of our original galas — and gained the added advantage of launching panel debates in our online platform. Hosted by award-winning CBC news anchor Suhana Meharchand, the event featured 24 awards categories — ranging from individual to group to company-wide accolades.

Looking to 2022 and beyond

If we can take one golden nugget away from the chaos of 2021, it’s that the key to organizational success lies in your people. While HR has always touted that people are their purpose, it’s really been tested over the past few months. What’s clear is that companies that already invested authentically in their people pre-pandemic were able to better navigate the issues around COVID. A uniting thread throughout this year’s Canadian HR Awards was our winners’ dedication to their teams. Each and every 2021 winner went the extra mile throughout the pandemic to not only ensure that their people were safe, but that they had everything they needed to thrive through the disruption.


The call for nominations was open to all HR professionals, teams, companies, and organizations — including HR service providers — from across Canada. Nominations were open from April 5, 2021 to June 4, 2021, 11:59 pm EST.

The Canadian HR Awards team conducted research and drew knowledge and information gained through HRD Canada and Canadian HR Reporter to verify and support nominations received. Finalists will be determined from both pools of information.

After all nominations were considered, and research was completed, finalists were selected in each category (except the Lifetime Achievement category) and notified via e-mail or phone. Finalists were announced in July 2021 on the Canadian HR Awards website and promoted by HRD Canada and Canadian HR Reporter.

All finalist submissions were forwarded to the independent judging panel comprising esteemed experts, thought leaders and veterans in and around the HR profession. The panel assessed and voted for their

winners in each category according to the relevant category criteria. Voting was held in August 2021 and their judgment was impartial, balanced, incisive and fair. Any judge with conflict of interest in a category would have recused themselves from judging that category.

Using a simple points system to aggregate the judges’ votes, the finalist with the top score in a category was named winner. Winners were announced at the awards show on September 15, 2021 and on the Canadian HR Awards website. They were also promoted in HRD Canada and Canadian HR Reporter.

Here are the winners of Canadian HR Awards 2021:

Individual Awards

Rising Star of the Year

 Melissa Li - Canfor

The HRPA Award for Woman of Distinction

Ashira Gobrin - Wave

The KPMG Award for Canadian HR Champion (CEO)

Bruce Anderson - Dejero

The Leadership Agency Award for HR Leader of the Year

Margaret McBeath - Nuclear Promise X

The O.C. Tanner Award for Lifetime Achievement in the HR Industry

Dr. Raeleen Manjak - Director of Human Resources at City of Vernon


Organization Awards

Best Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

Fidelity Canada

Best Employer Branding

Centurion Asset Management Inc

Best Labour & Employment Boutique Law Firm

Turnpenney Milne LLP

Best Learning & Development Strategy

Purolator Inc.

Excellence Awardee

Export Development Canada (EDC)

Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion

PSP Investments

Canadian HR Team of the Year (Retail/Hospitality)

Best Buy Canada, Ltd.

Canadian HR Team of the Year (Fewer Than 500 Employees in Canada)

Assent Compliance Inc.

Canadian HR Team of the Year (Finance/Insurance)

Green Shield Canada

Best Remote Work Strategy

Rexall Pharmacy Group Ltd.

Best Talent Management Strategy

Health Standards Organization

Most Effective Recruitment Strategy

Department of National Defence

Most Innovative Use of HR Technology


The dentsu Award for Best HR Communication Strategy

Ingram Micro Inc

The Gallagher Award for HR Team of the Year (500 Employees or More)

Sollio Agriculture

The HRD Readers’ Choice Award for Best Service Provider

O.C. Tanner

The UKG Award for Best Workplace Culture


The University of Waterloo Award for Next Generation Employment Innovation

Rio Tinto

The Venngo Award of Excellence for Financial, Physical & Mental Wellness


The Workhuman Award for Best Reward & Recognition Strategy

CAA Club Group (CCG)


Featured Winners: