2020 Best Places to Work: Small Business

Meet the 2020 Best Places to Work Small Business recipients

Photo: Matter Architectural Studio Inc.

Motif Labs

Industry: Pharmaceuticals
Employees: 15
Year Founded: 2017

Overall Engagement: 99%
Dedication: 5.00
Effort: 4.96
Interest: 4.82
Net Promoter: 100

MOTIF LABS IS a full-service cannabis and hemp extraction company, offering toll processing, white labelling, formulation, brand fulfillment and wholesale services to licensed cannabis producers.

Why we think our organization is a great place to work: One of the most important factors at Motif is our collaborative, team-based culture. We have a clear vision, a plan to accomplish our goals and we all support each other throughout this process. We believe strongly in openness, transparency, trust and communication. Employees are encouraged to work together, share their ideas and voice their opinions. This environment allows employees to play to their strengths, but also gives them the opportunity to learn and feel connected to each other and Motif.

Examples of implemented actions that make our organization a great place for employees: One of the most valued initiatives at Motif is the endless opportunities to learn and grow. As a startup, our employees have many different roles and support various aspects of the business. We want every employee to feel empowered to be their best selves—and that means investing in them. Employees are encouraged to attend workshops or conferences. The result is a team that is creative, passionate and driven to succeed.

What our employees are saying: “A core pillar of Motif Labs has always been that the people within are our greatest asset, and we truly feel that. We are all trusted and empowered to make decisions vital to the company’s success, and the real reward is coming in every day knowing you have the support of such an amazing team.” —Nav Sidhu, Manager, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs

 Matter Architectural Studio Inc.

Industry: Architecture & Design
Employees: 13
Year Founded: 2015

Overall Engagement: 94%

Dedication: 4.89
Effort: 4.81
Interest: 4.47
Net Promoter: 88.89

MATTER ARCHITECTURAL STUDIO Inc. is a multidisciplinary architecture and design firm providing services to the commercial, institutional, industrial, academic, healthcare and municipal markets.

Why we think our organization is a great place to work: Since opening our doors in 2015, we have worked diligently as an organization to create an inclusive and fun atmosphere at Matter. We have achieved this by focusing our office culture around three primary factors: flexibility, effective communication and a collaborative office setting that provides the entire team with equal opportunities. Also, our open studio environment promotes cross-pollination and routinely leads to remarkable solutions due to shared knowledge and experiences.

Examples of implemented actions that make our organization a great place for employees: At Matter, we care deeply for the mental and physical wellbeing of our staff. In this regard, we provide employees with flexible working hours, which allows for a balance between their professional and personal lives. We encourage our staff to take advantage of this policy to coordinate things such as personal schedules, daily commutes and project deadlines.

What our employees are saying: “I feel a great amount of trust, respect and honesty from the entire team at Matter. This has given me the confidence to overcome project challenges and be comfortable taking on new responsibilities. It is incredible to be a part of an office where the leadership genuinely cares about my personal and professional growth.” —Kristin Barrett, Technologist


Industry: Marketing & Advertising
Employees: 10
Year Founded: 2009

Overall Engagement: 93%

Dedication: 4.86
Effort: 4.73
Interest: 4.36
Net Promoter: 100

SAGECOMM IS A strategic marketing and communications provider specializing in research and market analysis, marketing strategy, brand positioning, web development, public relations, print and digital design, visual identity development, advertising, corporate communications and crisis communications.

Why we think our organization is a great place to work: Honesty. Building the perfect place to work is a lot like being a perfect parent. You never really get there, but you work your ass off at it every day, because you care for and respect the people you’re working with. At the end of the day, we believe people will choose a strong supportive culture, where they know their work is valued and meaningful, over the latest office feature or fad of the day.

Examples of implemented actions that make our organization a great place for employees: Food and drink. Our team comes together around a harvest table designed and custom built by a local artisan and food is prepared and provided by local chefs and market shops. Sharing a meal or a warm cup of coffee or tea is one of the most communal and binding practices on earth. It’s a vehicle through which we’re able to share what matters to us personally and professionally, beyond job titles or functions. We leverage that understanding and experience to guide our overall approach to culture care. Want to unlock what makes people tick? Rock a taco together. You might be surprised by what you find.

What our employees are saying: We work with an incredible local culture coach and take that work as seriously as client relations and project quality. Periodically, she takes us through a series of custom exercises designed to help team members understand each other, our clients and our business. At the end of one of our full day sessions, a team member shared, “I never knew work could be like this.” A commitment to investing in the amazing people we work with was a founding Sagecomm value that continues today, 10 years later.

JMRD Wealth Management

Industry: Financial Planning & Investment Services
Employees: 18
Year Founded: 2002

Overall Engagement: 92%

Dedication: 4.63
Effort: 4.48
Interest: 4.63
Net Promoter: 100

THE JMRD WEALTH Management Team of National Bank Financial is a full-service investment dealer and advisory firm offering access to a broad range of investment products and services, as well as a platform of comprehensive planning, solutions and counsel services.  

Why we think our organization is a great place to work: Part of National Bank’s motto, the parent company of JMRD Wealth Management, reads, “We exist to have a positive impact in people’s lives…” A number of team members have known each other and/or have worked together for over 20 years. We know that we have the types of people needed to make that ongoing positive impact—people that have respect for each other and work well together.

Examples of implemented actions that make our organization a great place for employees: We are afforded flexibility in regard to work-life balance. A recent technology upgrade has allowed us to work from home or on the road. Having satellite offices across Ontario also adds to this flexibility. The move to a new location in the fall of 2018 was also a refreshing change, one that rejuvenated the team and made JMRD an even better place to work. Employees are also supported in their initiatives outside of the office and in the community, as giving back to the community is a major part of our philosophy. 

What our employees are saying: “We work in an environment that fosters entrepreneurial creativity and awards initiative. The wealth management industry is often viewed as stuck in the past, but we are breaking that stereotype and working toward building an innovative wealth management experience. Being surrounded by people who want to succeed has made our office a very collaborative and a fun place to be every day.” —Joe Di Brita, Investment Associate

Ontario SEO

Industry: Digital Marketing
Employees: 10
Year Founded: 2005

Overall Engagement: 91%
Dedication: 4.75
Effort: 4.50
Interest: 4.33
Net Promoter: 100

ONTARIO SEO IS a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, SEM, digital strategy, analytics, content marketing, website development, content marketing and video marketing services.

Why we think our organization is a great place to work: Our entire team has a depth of incredible talent and such a strong work ethic that we always feel like we are moving forward and growing, both as a company and as a team. More than that, though, there are real friendships here, and genuine respect for one another, and that makes a difference. 

Examples of implemented actions that make our organization a great place for employees: We strongly believe that everyone should have the ability and freedom to own their role and take responsibility—and credit—for what they achieve. We prefer to focus on the outcomes, not the minutiae of tasks required to get there. But we’re more than just a hardworking team; we operate on a balance of work and fun, regularly enjoying team activities.

What our employees are saying: “We aren’t locked into a specific role or regimen, which gives us the freedom to change and grow. Our roles and responsibilities are fluid as we discover our strengths and weaknesses, and as the needs of our clients change. As a team, we’re always ready to take on new challenges and opportunities. It keeps things interesting and makes each workday different from the last. —Meaghan Butler, Advertising Specialist

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