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Federal Workers Rewarded With Spa Visits, Jewelry, iPods, Gift Cards

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Federal Workers Rewarded With Spa Visits, Jewelry, iPods, Gift Cards
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By Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press
Posted: 11/17/2013 2:00 pm EST   |  Updated: 11/17/2013 3:31 pm EST

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cheap tiffany & co jewelry OTTAWA - Gold necklaces, hockey tickets, camcorders, iPods, spa visits — even a gift card to the liquor store.cheap tiffany & co This is some of the half-million dollars of booty that one federal department handed out to favoured workers in the last five years.tiffany outlet online The Treasury Board Secretariat, with about 1,900 employees, now spends well over $100,000 each year on rewards for staff.tiffany outlet store The annual value has quadrupled since 2006, when the Conservative government first came to power.The value hit a peak of $135,000 in 2011, the year the Conservative government began cutting staff and programs to wipe out the federal deficit by 2015.Treasury Board President Tony Clement has recently criticized the benefits available to public servants, and publicly vowed to trim them, putting him at odds with unions.But internal documents show his department has been ever more generous with its so-called "Instant Awards" program, sometimes handing out goods and services worth as much as $500 a pop.
The haul includes a Sears sewing machine, a notebook computer, a Tiffany ring, a Garmin GPS device, along with a wide range of cash cards for spas, restaurants, gas stations, pubs, Toys R Us, Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart, Tim Hortons and Starbucks.The cheapest employee rewards have been $10 gift cards for coffee shops or for a bowling alley. One worker was handed a French grammar book worth $14.65, which to some may sound more like a punishment than a reward.At the high end, many employees were given $500 gift cards for use at Best Buy, for example, or at the downtown Rideau Centre mall for merchandise in most of the shops.One worker in the "expenditure management sector" got a $50 gift card for use at any Liquor Control Board of Ontario retail outlet.The internal documents, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, list the names of the workers but do not spell out the reasons for the hundreds of awards.Such awards are considered taxable benefits under Canada Revenue Agency rules, and are often listed under both their "gross" value, reported to the taxman, and the "net" value in the hands of the worker.A $10 gift certificate to Second Cup, for example, is listed as worth $14.29 gross, as reported to CRA. The difference is the tax the employee is expected to pay on the benefit, tax that is paid out by the department.Awards programs have a cap of $500 net for each item or cash card.Controversy over employee awards arose a year ago, when a New Democrat MP asked several departments whether they had purchased tickets for sporting events.Clement's response was that Treasury Board had bought four employees $1,109 worth of NHL tickets to Senators' games between 2009 and 2011.The minister banned purchases of sporting-event tickets soon after the NDP made the information public.The Foreign Affairs Department also banned such purchases when it was revealed officials had spent $69,498 on hockey and baseball tickets at U.S. missions between 2006 and 2012, largely to promote Canadian exports.Federal policy encourages rewards for employees' good work, but notes that "recognition often has no cost involved.""Informal and no-cost recognition — it takes a minute," says a human-resources document on the Treasury Board website."Write a Bravo card — leaving a card on the employee's desk just to say 'Bravo, job well done'. ... Stick a post-it-note saying 'Thanks' on the employee's workspace."Most departments and agencies have employee recognition programs, many with an "Instant Awards" element, a management tool authorized across government in 1990.One internal survey showed managers prefer "Instant Awards" programs because they're easy to administer and less expensive than more formal awards.The Treasury Board, which is responsible for government-wide policies on access to information, delivered the "Instant Awards" documents more than two months after expiry of the statutory deadline set by the Access to Information Act.A department spokeswoman did not respond to a request last week for comment and information.———Total value of "Instant Awards" given to workers at the Treasury Board Secretariat, by calendar year:2006: $24,515.422007: $34,625.702008: $68,548.242009: $90,646.602010: $112,176.902011: $134,822.012012: $110,293.84(Source: Treasury Board of Canada)
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50. CIBC 39622 employees
<a href="http://www.cibc.com" target="_blank">www.cibc.com</a>
Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
46. Deloitte 8719 employees
<a href="http://www.deloitte.ca" target="_blank">www.deloitte.ca</a>
Industry: Professional Services
Ownership: Private
45. Nestle 2143 employees
<a href="http://www.nestle.ca" target="_blank">www.nestle.ca</a>
Industry: Manufacturing & Production - Food products
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
44. RBC 55000 employees
<a href="http://www.rbc.com" target="_blank">www.rbc.com</a>
Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
33. Scotiabank 34982 employees
<a href="http://www.scotiabank.com" target="_blank">www.scotiabank.com</a>
Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
24. TD Bank 56229 employees
<a href="http://www.td.com" target="_blank">www.td.com</a>
Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
18. Starbucks Coffee Company 14765 employees
<a href="http://www.starbucks.ca" target="_blank">www.starbucks.ca</a>
Industry: Retail - Specialty
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
14. McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited 19860 employees
<a href="http://www.mcdonalds.ca" target="_blank">www.mcdonalds.ca</a>
Industry: Retail - Food/Grocery
Ownership: Private
10. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts 1639 employees
<a href="http://www.fourseasons.com" target="_blank">www.fourseasons.com</a>
Industry: Hospitality - Hotel/Resort
Ownership: Private
9. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Canada Corporation 113 employees
<a href="http://www.mbfs.ca" target="_blank">www.mbfs.ca</a>
Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
8. Admiral Insurance 467 employees
<a href="http://www.joinadmiral.ca" target="_blank">www.joinadmiral.ca</a>
Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Auto Insurance
Ownership: Private
7. G Adventures 146 employees
<a href="http://www.gadventures.com" target="_blank">www.gadventures.com</a>
Industry: Retail - Specialty
Ownership: Private
6. SAS Institute (Canada) Inc. 298 employees
<a href="http://www.sas.com/canada" target="_blank">www.sas.com/canada</a>
Industry: Information Technology - Software
Ownership: Private
5. NetApp Inc. 208 employees
<a href="http://www.netapp.ca" target="_blank">www.netapp.ca</a>
Industry: Information Technology - Storage/Data Management
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
4. AOL Canada 85 employees
<a href="http://www.aol.ca" target="_blank">www.aol.ca</a>
Industry: Professional Services
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
3. Microsoft Canada Inc 1142 employees
<a href="http://www.microsoft.ca" target="_blank">www.microsoft.ca</a>
Industry: Information Technology - Software
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
2. Intuit Canada ULC 404 employees
<a href="http://www.intuit.ca" target="_blank">www.intuit.ca</a>
Industry: Information Technology - Software
Ownership: Private
1. Google 375 employees
<a href="http://www.google.com" target="_blank">www.google.com</a>
Industry: Media - Online Internet Services
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
Next: Office Oasis, Spaces To Unwind Braintree At Braintree, a company that helps online businesses process credit card payments, employees get to hang around in the 'Tree House Room.' Campbell's Soup Company Employees at Campbell's enjoy their catered kitchen facilities. Disqus Disqus, a global comment system that improves discussion on websites, has offices based in San Francisco. Their employees kick back in this room for a nap and the occasional massage. Etsy Etsy, the online marketplace for all things hand-made or vintage, offers their employees use of this cozy lounge, as eclectic as many of the goods for sale on their website. Look no further than the banjo casually resting on the armchair. Fab Fab.com, the e-commerce website that connects shoppers to products and designers, encourages employees to keep up an active lifestyle, even in the office. Google Just another day up the rock wall at the Google offices. Google Google even has a Dublin-pub-themed room for their employees. Google The Mountain View location's bowling alley, complete with big screens and a multicolored light show. Google If you just miss the descending elevator and happen to be in Google's Zurich offices, slide on down. Groupon When they're taking a break, Groupon employees hang out in this woodsy lounge. The Huffington Post The news never sleeps, but sometimes our reporters take cat naps. Check out our nap room here at the HuffPost offices in New York. Microsoft This Microsoft employee is working from the garage meditation room; the simple design and ample space make it a great area to de-stress at work. Microsoft Microsoft has a handle on the industrial hang-out space -- exposed vents and comfy couches. Polyvore Employees take a break for a game of foosball at the offices of social-commerce site Polyvore.
Scholastic Scholastic Publishing has a lounge on the roof that makes for a nice lunch break on a sunny day. Sqaure Square is an electronic payment service that allows users to accept credit cards using their mobile phones. Here, workers at Square put their feet up in the little cabanas at their offices. TheLab TheLab, a media arts company, has an office dog named Lucy. Velti Velti, mobile marketing and advertising company, has a spacious, modern rec room.

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