Jan 22, 2019

EOC GroupOn Friday, January 18th, 2019, the winners of the 2018 Boating Industry Canada Employer of Choice Awards were announced at the Toronto International Boat Show in the Heritage Court.

The Boating Industry Canada Employer of Choice (BICEOC) Award is the industry's only Made-in-Canada recognition for employers in the recreational marine industry.

This award program helps address one of the major challenges facing the marine industry today – attracting and retaining top talent. The seasonal nature of the industry and remote work locations are making it ever harder to hire and keep staff. To reverse these trends, employers need to start developing “employer of choice” strategies that, not only attract and retain, but also engage and inspire their workforce.

The marine industry employers who were recognized today, have participated in this program during the past year, and they have worked to achieve the goals and performance levels that distinguish them as businesses that the top people will want to work for.

Kerrwil Publishing (Boating Industry Canada News Week and Canadian Yachting magazine), Canada’s leading national marine publisher, has partnered with CCEOC Inc., to bring this unique award to the market.

Jeff Doran is the founder of CCEOC Inc., and during the awards ceremony, he briefly explained the two award categories and how the program is set out. There are potentially multiple winners in each category. Categories include:

1. Dealers & Marinas
2. Marine Business: Manufacturers, Suppliers, Service Providers, Retailers and Distributors

Tonia BlenkarnThe first winner, in the Dealers/Marine category is Desmasdons Boatworks.

They are the largest marina employer in - Pointe au Baril, ON

Their team is always willing to go the extra mile because we are willing to go the extra mile for them. They have fantastic leadership. Owners, Tonia and Andy Blenkarn, are always willing to look after the staff, be it by helping them pay some bills in the winter, plowing people’s driveways after a big storm, fantastic Christmas bonuses at Christmas time, or simply taking the time to chat and help. Their vision is simple – to provide the best service possible to their customer group however they can. Being a mostly seasonal business, they have “welcome back” meetings with every employee each year, training meetings with new staff, and a “welcome back” dinner in the spring. Average tenure of their senior staff is over 12 years. Their team in fantastic, but they take time at the beginning of the year to remind and remember why they are the best, and what it is that makes their team so special.

Jill InwoodThe next winner, in the Dealers/Marine category is Pride Marine Group.

In 1986, Pride Marine Group began as a single location, a small gas dock on the shores of Lake Muskoka, Today, they are Canada’s largest marine group with 13 locations across Ontario. Their history and expansion to new lakes means that 92% of all Ontario boating now happens within 1 hour of one of their 13 locations.

Along with their marine and dealership locations, they offer specialized services called Pride Wake and Pride Docks as well as their Cabana Board Shops.

They have a team of over 30 Factory technicians and a vast parts supply to service all their customer’s needs.

The reason they believe that customers enter into a relationship with Pride is the same as it was over 30 years ago. It is the integrity, the hard work and the smiles.
The reason people want to work at Pride, is that they treat everyone like family. They have a supportive, trusting team environment where people can develop their talents and reach their goals.

The next winner, in the Dealers/Marine category is M&P Mercury.

We also have a west coast winner – M&P Mercury – with locations in Vancouver, Nainimo and Burnaby BC. Their award will be presented at the International Boat Show in February.

PrincecraftThe winner in the Marine Business category is Princecraft.

Princecraft is recognized as an industry leader because of the quality of its products. They have been building boats in Princeville, Quebec for over 60 years. Today, the Princecraft brand is found across Canada and United States. Princecraft is supported by a vast network of seasoned dealers. More fishermen, families and dealers than ever join the Princecraft family, and create some of the best moments of their lives. In 2018, Princecraft clearly solidified its already strong presence in the Canadian market and continued to dominate more and more waterways in the United States. Over the past year they increased their pontoon plant production capacity by 90%. This created over 100 new jobs.

Rodier GrondinEmployee engagement strategies enable people to be the best they can at work.

They have a policy for flexible schedule hours and a wellness program to foster a healthy lifestyle.

Employees get the opportunity to use their products and enjoy boating with their family during their time off.

Princecraft has a referral program; if an employee refers a candidate that they hire, he is eligible for $500 referral bonus.

The average seniority is over 20 years of service. They have a very clear safety culture, low absenteeism, a high interest in our different committees, a good development program, and opportunities for career growth.

We would like to congratulate all the winners of the 2018 Boating Industry Employer of Choice Award.

The Boating Industry Canada Employer of Choice award program helps employers to position and brand themselves in the market to attract the type of employee that best fits into their organization. It provides businesses and organizations the opportunity to get the recognition they deserve, and build a more profitable business. To learn more or to register for the 2019 program, please call 416-886-7007 or go to