Why CanWel was recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers (2020)

In three short years with CanWel Building Materials Ltd., Adrienne Ibasco has gone from a temporary junior accounting position to a full-time position, then had two further promotions, completed an accounting degree and is now in night school, working toward a designation as a chartered professional accountant.

To Ibasco, a junior accountant in the company’s finance department, those facts provide a snapshot of some of the benefits of working at CanWel.

“In my department, I am given a lot of flexibility with my work hours,” says Ibasco. “It’s been very helpful, so I’ve been able to juggle work and school at the same time.” The company also reimburses employees up to 75 per cent of the cost of tuition for any job-related courses they take. And, as Ibasco has experienced, there are always opportunities to move up.

Attending BC's Top Employer 2020 luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

“We like to promote from within,” says CEO Amar Doman. “We like people who have been with us — who know the company culture, who know the product lines — to move up. And as we continue to grow, both organically and through acquisition, there are lots of opportunities to better and further your career.” One employee recently celebrated 49 years with CanWel.

Doman bought the company in 1999 and has experienced 20 years of straight profitability – something he credits his skilled and highly motivated employees with helping to achieve.

“At management level and all the way through, everybody is engaged and likes the business,” he says. “I’m really proud of the team here. If we don’t have the right people, the ship’s not going to go to the right place.”

To keep everyone moving in the same direction, senior executives try to stay transparent about their business practices and strategies, with regular meetings and a “welcoming culture of ideas,” as Doman calls it. “We like to have everybody bring forward their great minds. We have a side-to-side style more than an up-and-down style.”

And an open-door policy among management means that employees are encouraged to discuss not only their future prospects with the company but also any guidance they seek in their current positions.

“We need everybody to be focused on what they’re doing and be not only happy but engaged and really caring about their job,” Doman says. “Because every position in the company – from the warehouse to the head office – is important. They’re all critical.”


From the feature, “A culture of ideas at CanWel Building Materials,” by By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 19, 2020). Adapted with permission.