Progressive Excellence Program® Testimonials

2007   2008   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2015

Although it is nice to receive recognition from a third party for our efforts, the journey we embarked on to create a positive and healthy workplace wasn't about the formal recognition. It truly was about achieving the objective of making WSN the best place to work, which means people love what they do, love coming to work and that it is a positive experience where each person believes they are truly making a difference. Utilizing the Excellence Canada Healthy Workplace framework has provided us with a tool that has guided our efforts in a systematic and thoughtful way. As we have said, it is about the journey and it is obvious that we are on the right path. I want to personally thank each of you, and echo Cindy, for your continued commitment to a healthy and positive workplace.
Candys Ballanger-Michaud, President & CEO, WORKPLACE SAFETY NORTH (April 2016)



The Excellence, Innovation, and Wellness standard has motivated us to track additional levels and trends in our organization. We have used it as a tool to constantly review and further refine our existing plans and processes. We have also used the recommendations from past certification to inform our strategic and operational plans. The excellence journey has allowed us to consciously improve and become a better functioning organization.

We benefit from the Excellence Canada EIW program in the following areas:

    • Key part of AIP Continuous Improvement Program
    • Highlights thing we do well and act on opportunities for improvement
    • External validation on where we are in the Excellence journey as an organization in comparison to leading organizations in Canada
Walton Chan, Manager, Enterprise Architecture Services, Architecture, Information Management & PMO Branch, Central Agencies Cluster, Treasury Board Secretariat, Government of Ontario (June 2015)
The process helps shape planning and programming by identifying opportunities for growth and improvement. The application program for mental health at work is aligned with the National Standard and makes implementation a smooth, organic process. The site visit allows our staff the opportunity to share perspectives, understand what is happening in other areas of the organization and collaborate. Everyone appreciated the accessible style of the verification team, promoting great table talk.
Christine Devine, Wellness Specialist, Toronto East General Hospital (June 2015)


Business and Service Management Branch (BSM) undertook and aggressive initiative to concurrently achieve both Silver and Gold certification from Excellence Canada. BSM was looking to Excellence Canada to provide a visible benchmark as a part of a broader organizational agenda of developing a culture of excellence in what is a relatively young but focused organization. Excellence Canada delivered!! Throughout the process, the Excellence Canada team was extremely helpful in providing guidance, answering questions and providing clear and concise information in a timely and effective way. This allowed BSM to not only prepare a comprehensive submission, but to also get the required information to develop a roadmap for continuous improvement.

We look at this process as part of our journey to excellence. The fact that the BSM staff and managers worked closely together to develop the submission, guided by the professionalism of EC met the main objective – to gel as a single organization with a common purpose of being an organization committed to ongoing service excellence. We are thrilled to have achieved our goal of Gold, but it is actually the process of getting there that is of most value. We could not have achieved either without the partnership of EC.

Russ Whitehead, Head, Business and Service Management Branch, Central Agencies I & IT Cluster – September 2014

North York General Hospital is thrilled to receive the Excellence Canada Mental Health at Work Level 2 certificate.

In 2013, we launched our People Plan, which focuses on fostering safe work environments, supporting healthy lifestyle practices and sustaining a strong organizational culture that reflects our values of respect, integrity, compassion and excellence. The plan encompasses our holistic approach to workplace wellness, addressing physical, social and psychological needs.

North York General recognizes that the workplace should play an essential role in maintaining positive mental health. This year’s healthy workplace priority is to enhance mental health support with initiatives aimed at illness prevention, reducing stigma and providing support and resources where needed.

Excellence Canada reviewed our programs, met with our staff, provided advice and recognized the tremendous impact we have realized in focusing on addressing mental health.

Dr. Tim Rutledge, President and CEO, North York General Hospital – September 2014

Excellence Canada’s Mental Health at Work® program represented a significant validation of the Commission’s Wellness Plan and our efforts to implement the Standard. The Program’s further alignment with the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety, along with Excellence Canada’s evaluation process, will assist organizations to ensure that their actions, programs and policies are congruent with the Standard. Organizations that are recognized at the National level through the Canada Awards for Excellence can truly be said to be industry leaders in establishing positive employee and organizational health cultures and the Commission is proud to be part of this growing movement.

Louise Bradley, President and CEO, Mental Health Association of Canada (MHCC) – August 2014

I’m happy to report that this Board has, in the past two years, made great strides into an area where it refused to go in the past. That is, the area of mental health. They have not only acknowledged the problems brought about by illness, they have also decided to throw money at it when it’s needed. From where we sit this is beautiful in many ways, because it means less suffering for those affected by mental health issues. It means that our members can now get the help which they rightly deserve.

Sergio Cacoilo, Local Union President, OECTA Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board – August 2014

We recognize that many best practices have been learned by others through trial and error. PEP criteria present these best practices in a way that allows us to adapt them to our unique business. We also like the structure of the program, with steps and milestones.

Andy McLean, Director of Quality Assurance, Acadian Seaplants Limited – June 2014

PEP is uniquely designed by starting off celebrating your strengths, inspiring the motivation to close the gaps and become stronger. It’s not about getting an “award”; it’s about the rewards of getting better.

Judy MacDougall, Manager of Organizational Excellence, Breton Ability Centre – June 2014

Excellence Canada provided excellent communication in our preparation for the verification day. Their informal approach at the verification day was very much appreciated, along with their keen and genuine interest in our work and Division as a whole. It was really nice to receive comments about the strengths within the organization from the accreditors. It was a nice acknowledgement of all the hard work.

Zahra Kassam, Manager, Child & Family Health Division, Public Health Branch, Regional Municipality of York – June 2014

PEP has provided guidance on best practices and how to implement those best practices within our organization.

Debra Cowan, CFO, Canadian Real Estate Association – March 2014


We can’t say enough about the value the PEP program has provided for our organization. The framework effectively gave us a map to follow in our quest to making our division a great place to work. Having tangible goals that are measurable contributed to our success. We will continue to follow the road map as we strive for continual improvement and success as a world-class organization.

Rory Mauricio, Acting Director Divisional Coordination Branch, Capital Projects Division, Alberta Infrastructure – October 2013

We found the verification team to be thoughtful, thorough, and very professional. The team at Excellence Canada was quick to respond to our questions and provide the help they could to keep us on the right path.

Ben Lemire, Business Analyst, Ceridian Canada – June 2013

Excellence Canada’s criteria gave us a framework we could use to think about how to develop our potential as an organization. PEP provides an approach that makes the journey manageable. Verification provides us and our customers with external validation of our achievements.

Brian Martin, VP Quality Assurance, Northern Lights Canada – May 2013
The Excellence Canada PEP Program has provided a framework for York CAS to plan for and carry out activities to greatly improve the quality of our work and the health of the workplace. By following this framework and the principles of PEP, we are creating an engaged workplace where staff from all departments and levels of service work together to move us forward in our quality and healthy workplace journey. We are proud that in our field, York CAS is considered a good place to work!
Bonita Majonis, Director of Research and Outcome Measurement, York Region Children’s Aid Society – 2013
“NQI provided a quality framework supported by knowledgeable staff, understandable material, excellent training, relevant change management tools, and an independent third party assessment of the organization that highlighted strengths and opportunities. The NQI balanced approach, and NQI-PEP process, facilitated the implementation of change and the ability to measure progress and results. The greatest attribute of the NQI approach is the creation of desire for change across the organization by revealing the many opportunities for change in a context that makes sense, as opposed to the world of never ending initiatives that seem to make sense but in the long run lead nowhere”.
Lieutenant-Colonel B.R. Neyedli, Senior Officer Formation Construction Engineering, Maritime Forces-Canadian Navy – 2000
“Since September 98, Canadian Blood Services has been charged with delivering safe, quality blood products and their alternatives to all Canadians. To achieve this goal we needed a well-defined strategic approach to the planning of our business. NQI Criteria provides us with that approach, and NQI PEP has provided us with an implementation system. NQI Criteria has allowed us to understand the interdependency of the various drivers for quality, which has reinforced our view that quality at CBS is truly about everyone-everywhere, every time”.
Linda Cranston, President & Chief Executive Officer Canadian Blood Services – May 2001
The National Quality Institute's 'Progressive Excellence Program' provided our organization with a common sense, balanced approach to improvement that stopped our ever tightening spiral of change driven by outcomes - in our case becoming competitive. The result of adopting the NQI program has been lower stress, less anxiety, improved morale, and true progress against strategic goals. As a result, our employees are happy to come to work, our customers are satisfied, we are more efficient, and management is happy. Could you ask for more?
Bob Ferguson, P.Eng., Continuous Improvement Department of National Defence – August 2002
“Wanting to improve services to Canadians doing business abroad, the Overseas Operations Division of the Department of International Affairs examined different models and systems to support service improvement initiatives. NQI Criteria is a powerful and useful tool. The NQI-PEP step-by-step approach has made our continuous improvement much easier. We can now easily benchmark our progress, set our strategies and focus on what counts most to our clients”
Peter MacArthur, Director Overseas Operations Trade Commissioner Service, Dept. International Affairs – September 2002
“For some time we have been aware that we need to revitalize and create a different working environment, provide a different kind of leadership and enable employees to work most effectively in their area of expertise. As a result we have sought to establish a framework or approach to help us move forward to create the kind of environment we need, an environment which provides the kind of leadership that permits employees to do their best work and make their best contribution. We believe we have found the Framework to help us achieve this. It is a Framework, which touches upon all areas which we would like to make improvement and which allows us to have a common working approach, one that can be understood throughout the organization. The NQI Framework allows us to identify specifically where we need to focus our efforts, and helps us monitor and evaluate progress. The Framework and implementation process is focused upon enabling and supporting excellence in public service organizations, and is available from the National Quality Institute, of which HRDC is a Gold member”.
Marylin Hay, Director General Human Resources Development Canada Manitoba Region – March 2003
The PEP program is an effective approach to start an Excellence Journey. Management and employees alike can absorb the criteria and put programs into action to address organizational gaps.
Kevin Braun, Director Quality & Strategic Planning, Ricoh Canada Inc. – 2007
The Verification process is an excellent opportunity for the organization to ‘stop and reflect’ on what we are doing, why? and how well? From the senior team down, it provides staff within the organization a chance to ‘think about why’ they chose Trillium as their place of employment, and to learn about Trillium.
Karen Jackson, Director of Knowledge Practice, Trillium Health Centre – 2007
The National Quality Institute’s ‘Progressive Excellence Program’ (NQI PEP®) provided Calian with a common sense, balanced approach to improvement that gave us the means to address a hard learned lesson—that financial performance alone is a necessary but insufficient condition for long term sustainability. The result of adopting the NQI Program has been obvious efficiencies in business processes, clearer plans and vision, improved morale, and better progress against strategic goals. As a result, we have quantified improvements in employee and customer satisfaction and developed the capability to maintain a long term roadmap for doing even better. Choosing the NQI PEP® program is one of the best decisions we ever made.
Tom Coates, Calian – July 2007
Purolator embarked on the NQI PEP® program after our plants were ISO certified, as we knew this program would build on the good work already done for ISO certification and enable us to achieve an even higher level of excellence. The NQI PEP® program has provided an Organizational Excellence Framework to help us focus our improvement efforts and overall results across the entire organization. NQI Membership has also provided us with a unique opportunity to share best practices with other organizations committed to quality in both public and private sectors. Purolator is proud to be a recipient of the Canada Awards for Excellence.
Jim Peeples, Purolator Courier Ltd. – September 2007
The National Quality Institute's Progressive Excellence Program (NQI PEP) provided the Town of Markham with a common sense, balanced approach to improvement that helped (us/it) focus on the right things first and achieve performance improvements along the journey of excellence. The results of adopting the NQI PEP approach have been increasingly positive trends with resident satisfaction for services provided, an increase of over 25% in overall staff satisfaction, and the streamlining of many key processes, to name a few. And it continues to get better!
Rick Dominico, Town of Markham – November 2007
The NQI framework has acted as a compass to our Journey to Excellence. Having used the NQI PEP criteria for over two years, we do not know how we ever managed without it!!!
Rav Bains, Director of Service, Peel Children’s Aid Society – 2008
The MNR started their NQI PEP® Journey in 2004. At that time, the ministry was awarded the NQI PEP® Level 2. We have been continuing on the NQI PEP journey to get the entire ministry up to a Level 3 and eventually to a Level 4. We have been doing so by taking the progressive approach. We take one or two high profile program areas and regions per year and undertake a very thorough assessment. In 2006, Ontario Parks became the first government organization in Ontario to reach NQI PEP Level 3. In 2008, Southern Region achieved NQI PEP Level 3 certification.
The PEP assessment process has been an invaluable exercise for this ministry. It is an excellent way to see where the opportunities lay within an organization. It also demonstrates to staff that you are concerned about how the people in your organization are treated and how they feel. It clearly demonstrates the areas where you need improvement (e.g. stakeholder’s relationships, processes, etc...) We will continue our journey towards Organizational excellence!!
Louisa Vatri-Norris, Quality Management Analyst, Ministry of Natural Resources – Southern Region – 2008
Participating in the NQI Progressive Excellence journey has allowed TEGH to further enhance the level of quality of care and service we provide to patients on a daily basis. It has also demonstrated our commitment to quality improvement.
Wolf Klassen, VP Program Support, Toronto East General Hospital – 2008
The NQI PEP® process has provided us with a structured approach in our quality journey. The progressive nature of the implementation process that the NQI framework endorses helped us break our quality journey into comprehensive manageable components. We use The NQI framework to look at what we do and the services that we provide with new eyes. The NQI set of principles that the criteria reinforces are easy to understand, realistic to implement, provide measurable objectives and are based on a strong value system and good common sense. Our team has been successfully delivering service to clients across diverse education sectors for many years. Our objective is to provide information and key performance indicators for student success. Our products and services are aimed to advance the education system for the benefit of all students around Toronto. As a team that includes Researchers and Project Managers that work with various data sources for student success, we have always known and counsel our clients on the importance of measurement, data integrity and evidence based decision making. You know that old saying “the shoemaker’s children have no shoes?” We all need help with our own life and work from time to time. The NQI PEP® process is helping us take an inward look at our own internal dynamics and work processes. The NQI PEP® Criteria provides an objective perspective to our conversations around quality. It is a neutral place of common reference that helps us ensure that as we busily aim to delight our clients with high quality service, we purposely engage on a continuous cycle of learning and improvement.
Silvia Girod, Manager Corporate Planning, Toronto District School Board – Organizational Development – 2008
We have found NQI’s criteria and framework to be aligned well with Accreditation Canada’s standards. The criteria have given us further insights as to where we can focus our staff and client quality improvement activities.
Pat Malone, Corporate Integrity Officer, Saint Elizabeth Health Care – 2008
Our ministry’s Forest and Range Evaluation Program (FREP) is seen as one of our most successful programs. Some of the major elements of that success are the on-going focus on high standards, best practices, adaptive management and continuous improvement. The NQI’s PEP process gives us a nationally-recognized way of integrating quality into every component of our FREP program, and has resulted in FREP being internationally recognized as leaders in resource stewardship monitoring.
Ian Miller, Ministry of Forests and Range – 2008
NQI has helped provide a framework for the development of the British Columbia Forest and Range Evaluation Program that is based on quality, continuous improvement and meeting client expectations. NQI has been a key part of our success.
Peter Bradford, Stewardship Evaluation Officer, Ministry of Forests and Range – 2008
We are benchmarking ourselves against the best business practices around the world. There is no greater comfort feeling and knowing that you have comprehensively covered all aspects of business operations. This is what organizations should aim for.
Thomas Chen, Quality & Data Management Specialist, Ministry of Forests and Range – 2008
The PEP program allows organizations the opportunity to take a hard look at what they do, how they do it and ensure it is the best. PEP is an all-encompassing initiative.
Rob Van Shaik, Director Project Ultimate Experience, BMW Group Canada – 2008
PEP has provided us with achievable milestones and a way to measure progress along the quality journey. The Quality Fitness Test and the site verification visit are great ways of involving lots of people. Achieving NQI PEP® certification provides tremendous motivation to get to the next level.
Edith Pajek, Project Leader, Industrial Accident Prevention Association – 2008
NQI PEP has served as a "Roadmap" for our Healthy Workplace Steering Committee to develop and support an exemplary health-related workplace Wellness Program for our organization.
Jody Young, Industrial Program manager - HW Manager Lead, Ministry of Labour - 2008
Very helpful & fruitful exercise. Helped us focus our strategy & direction to all aspects of healthy workplace & formalize what we have been doing.
Shreyshree Raja, Director, Organizational Development, Mount Sinai Hospital – 2008
Pursuing external validation of our commitment to quality has reminded us of our many strengths, and helped us to focus on continuous improvement. Our NQI representative provided thoughtful insight that we can use to improve the health and wellness of our workplace, and the quality of the work we do.
Ben Lemire, Business Analyst, Ceridian Canada Ltd. - 2008
The NQI PEP program provides clear and concise criteria that must be met in order to promote a higher level of wellness within the workplace.
Brian Moniz, Operations Supervisor, Toronto Police Service – 2008
NQI provides organizations with a framework to implement an effective healthy workplace program and provides a solid foundation for future growth.
Corey Boyle, Rick Hart and Jennifer Faulkner, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board - 2010
Very often we do not know what good looks like. Having an outside audit group challenges your organization to do the planning and thinking up front.
Linda Billing, Manager Employee Support Services, Upper Canada District School Board - 2010
NQI PEP has given us the confidence to recognize that we can do good things, that we can continue to improve our services if we recognize both our strengths and challenges, and that excellence is achievable.
Don McDavid, Strategic Business Advisor, MOF/MOR Strategic Business Unit, Ontario Public Service –2010
The implementation of the NQI Progressive Excellence Program has given us the necessary structure to put in place the good management practices that we wanted or needed to incorporate anyway. It enabled us to do so in a manner, and within a time frame, that made sense to us. Using Canada’s Healthy Workplace criteria as a sub-set of the excellence model is changing our organizational culture for the better.
Carol Robinson, Strategic Advisor, Canadian Forces Housing Agency – 2010
NQI provided a standardized approach to quality improvement and organizational excellence, and a road map to achieve success. The NQI system supported an evolution in our culture by identifying process gaps and how we monitor and plan for a healthy workplace.
Pat Malone, Corporate Integrity Officer, Saint Elizabeth Health Care – 2010
An exceptional program ensures an organization stays strategically focused on implementing and sustaining a healthy workplace environment.
Brian Moniz, Operations Supervisor, Toronto Police Service – 2010
An objective and thorough approach to review, enhance and implement internal/external programs that improve employee engagement and client satisfaction.
Kimm Trichilo, Supervisor Quality Assurance , Peel Regional Police – 2010
The NQI PEP® for Public Sector has provided the Town of Okotoks with a formal process for continuous improvement and organizational excellence that has enabled us to improve employee engagement and pride in their achievements.
Nancy Weigel, HR & Communications Manager , Town of Okotoks - 2011
The NQI PEP® journey has proved invaluable in keeping our large, extremely complex, integrated health region focused on those vital components which continue to take us down the path to creating truly healthy and vibrant workplaces where employees are encouraged and enabled to maximize their health in able to provide excellent care and service.
Donna Chalifoux, Healthy Workplace Consultant, Saskatoon Health Region - 2011
MPAC is thrilled to have achieved the Progressive Excellence Program Level 2 criteria for Quality and Healthy Workplace. PEP provides us with a common sense balanced approach to improvement that complements our ongoing work. The accomplishments we achieve along the way sustain our commitment towards even greater success.
Brenda Morrison, Manager, Customer/Data Quality Assurance, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation - 2011
CMA Canada has been a Partner in Excellence with the National Quality Institute for over seven years. We consider the staff at NQI, and the resources they have provided to us, to be key to the significant achievements we have realized on the road to organizational excellence.
Lianne Thompson, Director, Quality, CMA Canada - 2011
The Excellence Canada Quality and Healthy Workplace PEP framework has challenged our company to continue the pursuit of excellence. The self-assessment has uncovered a number of opportunities, and the external recognition allows us to celebrate our strengths.
Benjamin Lemire, Business Analyst, Ceridian Canada Ltd. – 2011
The Capital Projects Division, Alberta Infrastructure of the Government of Alberta is ecstatic with achieving not only Excellence Canada PEP® Level 3 certification, but also qualifying for a silver award from the Canada Award of Excellence. The PEP framework provided our division with a manageable roadmap to follow in our journey of excellence. We’re excited about moving to the combined Quality and Healthy Workplace® framework as we go for Gold and Level 4 certification.
Diane Dalgleish, Assistant Deputy Minister, Capital Projects Division, Alberta Infrastructure – 2011
We were looking to improve corporate culture and business performance. PEP provided the system, in manageable steps, to make this happen. The results thus far have been very positive!
Wendy Vissers, PEP Coordinator, Acadian Seaplants Limited – 2011
How do you find out if your organization is doing well or not? How do you benchwork with some of Canada’s best managed organizations? Work with NQI and you will be pleased!
Thomas Chen, Quality and Data Management Specialist, Forests and Range Evaluation Program, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations – 2011
I have to say that it was awesome to see and feel the positive energy from everyone as they exited from the focus groups held during our on-site verification. We really do have an excellent staff and the work and effort that we all put into the PEP program resulted with an on-site verification that was a great celebration of our progress and that left a big smile on my face as I went to sleep that night. So thank-you to the entire team at Excellence Canada for a fantastic PEP Level 2 experience.
Christopher Glanville, Project Manager – Corporate Quality, City of Barrie – 2012
The Social Services Department, within the Regional Municipality of Durham, has been transformed. Employees embrace continuous improvement as a way of life and have created the culture of a caring community. As a result of the Progressive Excellence Program, our approach to excellence and continuous improvement is not something that is done in addition to regular business, it is now seen as the only way to do business.
Dr. Hugh Drouin, Commissioner, Social Services Department, The Regional Municipality of Durham – 2012
Excellence Canada has provided MNDM with a disciplined approach to organizational improvement. The progressive excellence methodology allows us to regularly assess ourselves against established criteria to determine what we do well, identify target areas for improvement, and continuously re-calibrate our quality service and healthy workplace strategies. Staff are more engaged, individual and ministry performance has improved over time, and we are better positioned to achieve our business goals.
George Ross, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) – 2012
At Toronto East General Hospital we have undertaken a journey to develop and sustain a culture of quality, wellness and continuous improvement. TEGH believes that quality combined with a healthy workplace is vital to achieving the organization’s success and to making it the best place to give and receive care.
TEGH emphasizes a mentally and physically healthy workplace that supports a work-life balance. Implementing the Mental Health at Work program is a vital component of our strategy and demonstrates our commitment to a healthy environment.
Wolf Klassen, Vice President, Program Support, Toronto East General Hospital – 2012
PEP provided goalposts to work towards. C&E have always done quality assurance but the direction was always changing depending on who was leading the program. Now we have a consistent direction for the entire organization.
Mary Lou Page, Provincial Resource Officer, Compliance & Enforcement Branch, BC Government – October 2012